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Summary: The inclusiveness expressed in verse 20 reveals that, although He was referring to His disciples in particular in verses 13-19, He expanded His intercession to include all the church throughout time.

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THE PRAYER OF CHRIST FOR HIS CHURCH

“But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.

“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:13-21 (NKJV)

The inclusiveness expressed in verse 20 reveals that, although He was referring to His disciples in particular in verses 13-19, He expanded His intercession to include all the church throughout time. It is with this understanding that we find great strength for our lives today.

CHRIST PRAYED THAT THE CHURCH MIGHT HAVE JOY

“But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.” John 17:13

“My joy” refers to a state of bliss or complete happiness that only Jesus can give. It includes the full and free pardon of sin now; the unfailing promise of His presence throughout our lives; and the assurance of a home in heaven hereafter!

The fulfillment of this joy is expressed in I Peter 1:3-9:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.”

CHRIST PRAYED THAT THE CHURCH MIGHT BE SANCTIFIED

"I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.” John 17:14-19 (NKJV)


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