Summary: We could have lost or been deprived of many good things in this life, but let us cherish more the precious things we have from Christ.
“While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (John 17:12-18, NIV).
There was a friend, who told me before that whenever he left their house, in order for his little children not to cry he would give them some coins.
In my case, when I was still a small child, my father would leave our cat beside me while I was sleeping, so when I woke up I would not cry to find out that he was already gone and had already left for work.
Did you also experience to receive or to have something from someone who was about to leave you? Or, have you experienced giving something to someone you left behind?
Before Jesus was arrested, suffered and died on the cross, He also left His disciples with things to comfort or to occupy them, so they would not feel empty as He left them.
And those things were not only intended for them, but also for all true believers. So, if we consider ourselves followers of Christ, we ought to realize that our hands are actually full, so to speak, of the same worthy things He had left to His original disciples.
Let us not dwell on the things we do not have, or what we lost, but let us cherish THE SIGNIFICANT THINGS GIVEN BY CHRIST, as we study our text in John 17:12-18.
True followers of Christ are not empty handed. Truly, we have so many precious things in our life. And they are truly significant. So, what are some of them?
Before we proceed, let’s realize that the text was part of the prayer of Jesus in the whole chapter of John 17. It was recorded by the Apostle John, who described himself five times in his writing as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7 & 20). Jesus prayed it in the hearing of His disciples, so John was able really to take note of it.
He prayed it after He and His disciples partook the last supper during the Passover. And before they arrived at the garden across the Kidron Valley, wherein Jesus again prayed, but privately and with such well known line, “…not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
And as Jesus prayed in John 17, Judas was no longer with them for he already went on his way to betray Jesus.
In verses 1 to 5, Jesus prayed for Himself. But, starting verse 6, He prayed for His disciples, though it included all the other believers in succeeding ages, as He mentioned in verse 20.
And in our text, we note that we have at least three significant things from Jesus. What are those?
First, HIS ASSURANCE OF PROTECTION (verse 12).
We read in verse 12, “While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.”
Jesus pointed out in His prayer that He was able to protect all His true followers (Judas was not a true follower). And none of them could be lost spiritually. There was a great weight in His testimony to protect, because He was not just telling His disciples, but He was testifying to God the Father.
And now that He was about to leave them, He gave them His assurance that their spiritual safety was secured. Besides, He entrusted them to God the Father Himself. We read in verse 15, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”
That could give them, while they were in their ministry later, the boldness to preach on God’s word even in dangerous situations, or suffer harsh words or threats from others. For they knew that even death could not really harm them. What was important for them was the assurance of spiritual safety.
Of course, true believers, today, should guard themselves from both physical and spiritual danger. They should not expose themselves to life threatening situations, or even false doctrines that could affect their spiritual health.