Summary: Jesus prays that the Father will protect us. But how does the God do that? How does God guard us and shield us when we live so exposed to the temptations and lusts of this world?
OPEN: Down in Kentucky, our nation has a very special place designed to protect our gold supply. Do you know what it’s called? (Fort Knox).
That’s where our nation keeps most of our gold.
But more than gold has been stored there over the years. Ft. Knox has also held the Magna Carta, the Gutenberg Bible, the English crown jewels as well as the gold reserves of several countries. And on December 26, 1941, the nation stored the original U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence—until they were moved to Washington D.C on October 1, 1944, where they’ve been on display ever since.
Now, why is Fort Knox such a good place to store valuables?
Because it’s quite literally a fortress.
It was built to be impossible for anybody to get inside of.
It is constructed of granite, steel, and concrete (some say that there’s more steel in the vault than gold). The vault is made of steel plates, steel beams, and steel cylinders. Steel bands wrap around everything, and then concrete encases it all. The vault door alone weighs more than 20 tons.
And getting inside without authorization is impossible. Even the president of the United States doesn't have the combination to the vault. To open the door, several staffers must EACH dial separate combinations known only to them.
On the outside, there’s a sentry posted at the entrance gate and guard box at each corner of the building. THEN, there an imposing steel fence surrounds the whole property. In addition I could tell you all about the high-tech protective devices in the building, but the government agency told me that if I did that… I'd have to kill you.
The point of this illustration is this:
The more valuable an item is the more trouble folks will go to to protect it
I also want you to notice:
• Ft. Knox protects our gold supply by locking it away.
• It separates it from mankind by walls made of steel and concrete.
• And it is guarded by soldiers who have instruction to shoot to kill.
It’s not a friendly place to be if you don’t belong there.
Keep that in mind for a moment as we look at our text for this morning.
Jesus prayed “…Father, PROTECT them by the power of your name— the name you gave me— so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I PROTECTED them and kept them safe by that name you gave me… My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you PROTECT them from the evil one.” John 17:11-12 & 15
As Jesus was praying to the Father, the main focus was that we would be protected. Jesus wanted the Father to shelter us, especially from the evil one.
So now, how would God go about defending us? I mean…
• Does He lock us away from the rest of the world?
• Does He surround us with walls of steel and concrete?
• Does He set up armed guards all around us to protect us from the evil one?
Well, yes… and… no.
Notice what Jesus says in verse 15:
“My prayer is NOT that you take them out of the world…” John 17:15
Jesus did not want the Father to lock us away from the rest of the world
Now, back in the Old Testament God did do that with the Israelites.
Genesis tells us that God went to a great deal of trouble to send the people of Israel down to Egypt during the days of Joseph. Granted there were on 70 or so of them at the time. But once Jacob and his sons moved down to Egypt, they were given a special land called “the land of Goshen”. And that’s where they lived for the next 430 years or so.
Israel was literally isolated from the rest of the world. God arranged for Israel to be walled off from the rest of the world - to be sheltered from the influence of paganism and the outside world. And they even had a very limited contact with their Egyptian hosts because the Egyptians were vegetarians and the Israelites were meat eaters.
God created a cultural barrier from those two peoples. Israel ended up being largely untouched by pagan influences of the day. Thus, when God had Moses lead Israel out of slavery in Egypt, Israel was emotionally and mentally different than any of their neighbors. They were prepared to be the people of God - and of Him only.
Now, God could have done that with us.
Once we were baptized into Christ, God could have whisked us away to some isolated and exotic land.
I’d personally opt for the Caribbean myself.