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Chapter 17:6-19 (ESV)

Posted on September 13, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 17:6-19 (ESV) - “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming 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 ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

Question to consider: About what group of people was Jesus praying in today’s passage?

In today’s passage, Jesus continued His high priestly prayer to intercede for those who had believed and followed Him up until this point and were going to be left behind when Jesus went to be with the Father. Jesus had promised He would not leave them as orphans but would send the Holy Spirit to dwell in them. However, given that they had physically walked with Jesus for three years, their lives would definitely be different. Jesus physically provided for them, taught them, and kept them from harm. All of that would change after Jesus’ ascension, and they went out into a hostile world to proclaim the gospel.

When Jesus said they kept the Father’s word, He didn’t mean that they had perfectly kept the Law and were deserving of God’s favor. He meant that they believed that Jesus was sent by God and did not abandon Him when they were given truths that were still beyond their understanding. As Peter said after Jesus lost favor with the people when He proclaimed that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood to have life, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life…”

Now that Jesus was to go away, He asked the Father to preserve the unity of the disciples and keep them from the evil one— except of course for Judas whom Jesus called “the son of destruction” and had already been delivered over to the devil. The word used for “sent” here is apostell┼Ź which is why we refer to this group as the “apostles”. As I have mentioned previously, the world would at this point be anyone who did not receive Christ. Think for a moment of how daunting it would be to have Jesus go away while this group of eleven were being sanctified (set apart) to go into a hostile world with the truth that Jesus is the only one who could justify us before God.

When Jesus said I consecrate myself, He was speaking of Himself being set apart from these people in death so that they may be set apart unto God to be His apostles. Jesus’ death would of course sanctify the apostles by exchanging their sin for His righteousness, and when Jesus went to the Father, He would send the Holy Spirit as a helper in their task.

Again, we should remember that Jesus spoke of these future events in the past tense (for example, “have sent”) because they were the declarations of God that were ordained from before the creation of the world and were about to be fulfilled.

Prayer

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for giving us Your word which is truth and for having sent out Your apostles to deliver it to the ends of the earth. Now that the world is again growing more hostile to the truth of Christ, we pray for the courage to proclaim it and for You to protect us from the evil one in doing so. Amen.