Summary: In these few verses, we learn: who Jesus is praying for; who He’s not praying for; His special relationship with the Father; and His request for our protection and unity. We find great comfort and confidence in knowing that our Savior is praying for us.
“Kept in Christ” Pastor Bob Leroe, Cliftondale Congregational Church, Saugus, Massachusetts
&John 17:9-11, “My prayer is not for the world, but for those You have given Me, for they are Yours. All I have is Yours, and all You have is Mine; and You have given them back to Me, so they are My glory. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep/protect them by the power of Your Name—the Name You gave Me—so that they may be one as We are one.”
We are living in enemy-occupied territory! We’re not merely near the front lines, we’re in the midst of the conflict! Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual powers of wickedness. How can we be secure in such a perilous world? Our protection is in Christ. We find great comfort and confidence in knowing that our Savior is praying for us.
(Outline) In these few verses, we learn: who Jesus is praying for; who He’s not praying for; His special relationship with the Father; and His request for our protection and unity.
1) Our Lord prays for us because He loves us and has a plan for us. The world is to be reached through us. We may take this responsibility lightly, and may need to remind ourselves that we represent Christ to a dying world.
Glory comes to Jesus through us. He is glorified in what we do for Him. He could have easily spoken about our faults, and would’ve had plenty to talk about! Instead He says how He is glorified by us. We’re able to glorify Jesus through the grace He bestows upon us. We are empty vessels into which He pours His life. The life we live is His life; every victory we have is His triumph. His life is on display in us; we are living monuments in which Christ is seen. We are the glory of our Founder and Foundation.
2) But notice who Jesus is not praying for--the world. Jesus has not abandoned the world; but the world has rejected Him. In John 1:11 we learn, “He came to His own, but His own did not receive Him.”
The exclusion of “the world” from our Lord’s prayer does not mean that His love is limited. He is ready to receive all who come to Him. His prayer is for His family. Those who’ve refused Him do not want His prayers. A surgeon said to me once, “Don’t pray for me, Chaplain; I’m a good doctor.” He must’ve thought that MD stands for “Medical Deity”. While stationed in Korea, an Army Captain, about to be a company commander, swore at me when I asked if he wanted a prayer at his change-of-command ceremony (which is standard procedure). Not everyone appreciates being prayed for.
If Jesus had asked the Pharisees if they’d like Him to pray for them, they would have answered, “Don’t bother!” If He had called on Pontius Pilate and offered to pray at a Roman function, the governor would’ve said, “No thanks--the Roman army has its own chaplains; we don’t need any Jewish prayers!”
In John 14:17, Jesus explains that, “the world cannot accept the Spirit of truth because it isn’t looking for Him.” Unbelievers can’t find God for the same reason that a thief can’t find a policeman.
People prefer darkness to God’s light. We see this contrast throughout Scripture. We have to fight our attraction to darkness. We have to fight to keep from being conformed to the thinking of the world. The Philips translation of Romans 12:2 cautions us, “Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.”
3) Next, we see a special aspect of our Lord’s connection with the Father: “All I have is Yours, and all You have is Mine.”
That first part could be prayed by any of us: “All I have is Yours.” But the 2nd statement, “All You have is Mine”, could only be prayed by God-the-Son. Jesus is of the same divine essence and nature as the Father. They are co-equal and co-eternal.
What belongs to Jesus? His disciples. We belong to Him; we’re His by creation and by redemption. He has purchased us with His blood and made us His very own. Because of our Savior, we enjoy a special relationship with the Father.
4) Jesus then requests that we be protected and unified: “Holy Father, keep them by the power of Your Name--the Name You gave Me--so that they may be one as we are one.”
We have an unconditional and irrevocable relationship with our Savior, Who promises to protect us by His power--all the way Home. We may struggle along the way, even lose our assurance, our influence--but not our salvation. We are not destined for wrath. We may struggle with temptation (even yield occasionally), yet we belong to Christ. We do not deserve His grace before or after our conversion. He has chosen us, granted us faith, and even our sin cannot alter His faithfulness. He is able to keep us from falling; He does not start something He will not finish. We are saved for all eternity through Christ’s completed work; His love which will not let go.