Sent Into the World: John 17:1-26


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After Jesus had finished sharing with His disciples, John’s gospel records Jesus praying a prayer that is both powerful and profound. While I was tempted to split this prayer up into multiple episodes, I decided not to. Instead, let’s read Jesus’ prayer with minimal interruption, to get an amazing picture of Jesus’ heart. Afterwards, I’ll share one or two things that stood out to me during the brief bit of time we have left.

This passage and prayer is found in John’s gospel, chapter 17, and we will read it from the Contemporary English Version of the Bible. Starting in verse 1, John tells us that:

After Jesus had finished speaking to his disciples, he looked up toward heaven and prayed:

Father, the time has come for you to bring glory to your Son, in order that he may bring glory to you. And you gave him power over all people, so that he would give eternal life to everyone you give him. Eternal life is to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, the one you sent. I have brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you gave me to do. Now, Father, give me back the glory that I had with you before the world was created.

You have given me some followers from this world, and I have shown them what you are like. They were yours, but you gave them to me, and they have obeyed you. They know that you gave me everything I have. I told my followers what you told me, and they accepted it. They know that I came from you, and they believe that you are the one who sent me. I am praying for them, but not for those who belong to this world. My followers belong to you, and I am praying for them. 10 All that I have is yours, and all that you have is mine, and they will bring glory to me.

11 Holy Father, I am no longer in the world. I am coming to you, but my followers are still in the world. So keep them safe by the power of the name that you have given me. Then they will be one with each other, just as you and I are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost, except the one who had to be lost. This happened so that what the Scriptures say would come true.

13 I am on my way to you. But I say these things while I am still in the world, so that my followers will have the same complete joy that I do. 14 I have told them your message. But the people of this world hate them, because they don’t belong to this world, just as I don’t.

15 Father, I don’t ask you to take my followers out of the world, but keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They don’t belong to this world, and neither do I. 17 Your word is the truth. So let this truth make them completely yours. 18 I am sending them into the world, just as you sent me. 19 I have given myself completely for their sake, so that they may belong completely to the truth.

20 I am not praying just for these followers. I am also praying for everyone else who will have faith because of what my followers will say about me. 21 I want all of them to be one with each other, just as I am one with you and you are one with me. I also want them to be one with us. Then the people of this world will believe that you sent me.

22 I have honored my followers in the same way that you honored me, in order that they may be one with each other, just as we are one. 23 I am one with them, and you are one with me, so that they may become completely one. Then this world’s people will know that you sent me. They will know that you love my followers as much as you love me.

24 Father, I want everyone you have given me to be with me, wherever I am. Then they will see the glory that you have given me, because you loved me before the world was created. 25 Good Father, the people of this world don’t know you. But I know you, and my followers know that you sent me. 26 I told them what you are like, and I will tell them even more. Then the love that you have for me will become part of them, and I will be one with them.

The prayer Jesus gives in this passage is amazing. One verse in particular stands out in my mind because it describes future followers of Jesus, including you and me. Verse 20 tells us Jesus prayed, “I am not praying just for these followers. I am also praying for everyone else who will have faith because of what my followers will say about me.” Those of us living today have faith because of what Jesus’ original followers told the world, and because the message of Jesus spread through the centuries moving forward in history. In this verse, Jesus extends His prayer to include Christians throughout the last section of history.

The other verses that stood out to me have to do with what Jesus prayed immediately before verse 20. Verses 15-19 say that Jesus prayed: “Father, I don’t ask you to take my followers out of the world, but keep them safe from the evil one. They don’t belong to this world, and neither do I. Your word is the truth. So let this truth make them completely yours. I am sending them into the world, just as you sent me. I have given myself completely for their sake, so that they may belong completely to the truth.

In this part of Jesus’ prayer, He tells us that God’s word is truth, and that when Jesus’ followers accept God’s word as truth, we don’t belong to the world but to God. Jesus isn’t praying for God to remove us from the world, even if that would be desirable, but that He will keep us safe as He sends us into the world.

This passage contains a commission for Jesus’ followers. In this section of Jesus’ prayer, we see a challenge for Jesus’ followers to take God’s truth and share it with the world. Jesus gave Himself completely for us, and through Jesus’ sacrifice, God was able to grant us the gift of eternal life that we don’t deserve because Jesus took the punishment that He did not deserve. Jesus gave His life for His followers and for God’s people who have chosen to follow Him over what the world wants to pressure people to believe, and through Jesus’ death and believing God’s truth, we are God’s while here in the world and forever into eternity.

As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

Choose to follow and obey God’s truth over whatever “truth” the world wants to pressure you to believe. We can know God’s truth through what the Bible teaches. The Bible remains consistent even when every generation in history decides to change the definition of truth.

Also, be sure to pray and study the Bible for yourself to discover what it actually says. While people in history have taken verses and ideas from the Bible to make them fit with their own beliefs, God has called us to build our beliefs with the Bible as the foundation, and to reject the lies of the world. Don’t let me or anyone else dictate what you should believe. Instead, build your belief through prayer and personal study.

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or abandon where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Year of the Cross – Episode 32: The gospel of John records a prayer Jesus prayed that focused on Him receiving glory and on God giving protection and direction to His followers throughout history. Discover how this prayer was relevant for the disciples and for us living 2,000 years later!

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