Summary: Christ shows compassion for His followers because they belonged to Him
John 17: 9 - 12
A Picture of Compassion
There is a man in the Intensive Care Unit who was very badly crushed by a piece of farm machinery, and he is critically ill. This accident happened on Tuesday, and his wife and daughter have not left him in all that time. Their very presence reveals their compassion for a loved one. As it is for them, so it is for others in Intensive Care. There the compassion of family, friends, and nurses is extremely moving.
In this passage we find the very evident compassion of Jesus Christ. We see his compassion throughout His earthly life - By the lake; Woman with blood issue; Wept looking over Jerusalem. Here, as Christ is thinking about His imminent return to His Father, He considers the disciples who soon will be up against it with the world. How comforting it is to consider here how much compassion Christ had for His disciples - and therefore for us as well.
God’s Possession (vs9,10)
Here we find a verse which is very similar to v6 where Christ refers to the disciples as having belonged to the Father, and now belonging to Him as well. As Christ again refers to the personal possession of them and us, it underlines once more for us how precious we are to the Lord. Here we find:
Respect for the Father’s Belongings - Jesus here is saying - "I pray for these because they are yours, and I am concerned for what is yours." If you have ever driven someone else’s car you will know this sense of respecting deeply what belongs to someone else. The same would apply if you were staying in someone else’s house. Often there is more respect for their property than your own. This is wonderful news for us and for others, but it is also why we should value other Christians. They are valued by God - Christ shed His blood for them - it shows disrespect if we don’t love them also. What Christ says here also lets us see we are still valued by the Father. Although, as Christ says 7 times in this chapter, we have been given by the Father to Christ, the Father still has a continuing interest in us. It helps us if we consider the illustration of the Church as the Bride of Christ - imagine father who gives his daughter away - although she becomes the primary responsibility of the son-in-law, still the father has an interest in her. Imagine they hit a financially stoney patch, what father would not dip his hand in his pocket to help out? This is the kind of compassion involved here, where we are valued highly by both Father and Son because we belong to them both. Do you belong to them?
Interest in a Mutual Concern - v10 reminds us of this co-ownership of our lives by the Father and the Son, and that we also are part of this package of mutual concern. That means that whatever concerns the Father, concerns the Son, and whatever concerns them should also concern us. Does it concern us? If they have a concern for a lost world - do we? When they show compassion for other believers in need, do we? Can you imagine the queen looking out the window at Buckingham Palace and saying to her son Charles, "Charles, dear, doesn’t that rifle look very heavy on that guard’s shoulder? Perhaps we should get him another one!" We would find it very strange to think of our monarch knowing everything that is going on in our lives and caring about it - yet the great news regarding the King of kings here is that He does. The fact is that although we are not important people, and although we may still sin and let God down many times, we are important and precious to Him. This brings glory to the Father and the Son (v10). In this verse Christ seems to be saying that our lives bring glory to Him. He is glorified by saving us; By us living a holy life; By our confession of Him to the world; And by our efforts to extend the Kingdom. Here we find Christ praying for us - but should we not also be praying for one another? James Montgomery Boice says, "We are together in this, whether we like it or not. Therefore, we should pray for one another, because the success of the other is our success, and his or her failure is our failure."
God’s Protection (vs 11,12)
I bumped into Rev. William McCrea in the hospital just the other day, and was reminded of the constant threat he lives his life under, as he was flanked by body guards. All famous people seem to need them these days - there are many threats and dangers out there. This seems to be, in a sense, what Jesus is saying here about the life of a believer in this world.