Summary: Jesus prays for his disciples as He is about to leave this world
“Out of This World” Gospel passage: John 17:6-19
Jesus came to the world from out of this world to teach people not of this world to go into all the world to preach the truth that he gave his life to save us out of this world.
The passage of scripture from John 17 today takes place in the final moments before Jesus is going to be arrested. He has tried to prepare his disciples for this event by telling them it will happen. But he knows the best way to prepare them for his abrupt and seemingly defeated departure is to pray for them.
Jesus prayed this prayer to the father out loud for them (and also for us).
The first thing he said was that he had revealed God.
We think of the revelation of Jesus Christ and Christ says he was revealing God.
I like the way The Message version of this passage says,
“I spelled out your character in detail…”
Jesus revealed God as FATHER.
The Hebrews had been afraid to speak or write the name of God, but Jesus had said, “He is your Father and my Father.” Call him “Abba”, “Daddy God.”
The title “god” is respected and perhaps feared in any culture or religion, but Jesus revealed the nature of God as love, and your relationship to him as his beloved child.
The people, who lived before Jesus came, knew only what the prophets had said about God and the stories of how God had acted in past events.
Now the voice of God became a visual of God.
Jesus says, “they’ve understood that everything I said came from you, and they believe you sent me.”
The disciples have accepted and believed the word of Christ as God’s word and have believed Jesus came from God and God sent him.
So far, so good…
V9-10> “I pray for them. I am not praying 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 glory has come to me through them.”
Jesus often spoke to multitudes and prayed for them too, but his main ministry and assignment was to spend three years in intensive teaching to just twelve.
This is clearly not a “general prayer” He is asking a special blessing just for his disciples.
It specifically commends these students of Jesus’ teaching as having “got it” and being a credit to him.
He is saying, “Look, Daddy, aren’t you proud of them?”
Jesus has successfully passed-on his message and ministry.
They attended to the words of Christ, apprehended the meaning of them and were affected by them.
They heard Christ’s commands, continued in them and were conformed by them.
They had been witnesses to his life and miracles.
They would later become publishers of the gospel and planters of the church.
They were the first monuments to his mercy.
Then Jesus says, “I pray for them…when I go away, out of this world, back to you…. protect them by the power of your name.”
Jesus knew that it would be a space of time now when the disciples would feel abandoned and afraid.
They had been used to the physical presence of Jesus with them. Now he was leaving them behind, returning to the safety of heaven.
He wanted God to protect them from falling away and being discouraged.
He wanted them to know they could call upon God as their heavenly Father in prayer this very same way he was praying now, and know that God heard them and would answer.
They would feel always connected to the heavenly father as Jesus did, with 24 hr access to the support line.
Thinking of God’s protection of his children brought this story to mind:
The early Native Indians had a unique practice of training young men.
On the night of a boy’s 13th birthday, after learning hunting, scouting, and fishing skills, he was put to one final test.
He was placed in a dense forest to spend the entire night alone.
Until then he had never been away from the security of his family and tribe.
But on this night, he was blindfolded and taken several miles away.
When he took off the blindfold, he was in the middle of a thick woods and he was terrified!
Every time a twig snapped he visualized a wild animal ready to pounce.
After what seemed like an eternity, dawn broke and the first rays of sunlight entered the interior of the forest.
Looking around, the boy saw flowers and trees and the outline of the path.
Then to his astonishment, he beheld the figure of a man standing just a few feet away, armed with a bow and arrow.