Posted by Kevin McCuistion
Yesterday, we looked at 3 of Jesus’ life-changing principles in John 13-16 and some of you may have tried seeking the Lord with your “palms down” in surrender and your “palms up” as an invitation for the Holy Spirit to fill you as you seek to abide with Him.
Today, we will look at Jesus’ final prayer for his disciples in John 17 and how he prays not only for “these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. (John 17:20)” That’s us! As He was preparing for the cross, He was praying for you and me and all the others who would believe in Him! Isn’t that remarkable?
So, what did He pray as He interacted with His Father and foresaw the many challenges that we would face? One of my favorite teachers, Chuck Swindoll, summarizes this prayer into 3 concepts: “unite them, protect them, sanctify them.”
He prayed that we would be “one”: In John 17:20-21, Jesus prays that “they will all be one, just as you and I are one – as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” Jesus knew that we would struggle to be united and that our human nature would be to divide (sometimes over a difference of a opinion on a single word or concept). He prayed that we would be different than the world around us and that we would abide with Him as a team (which came to be called “church”) so that “not-yet-believers” would see a difference in us and would believe that Jesus was sent to us by God.
He prayed that we would be “protected”: In John 17:11, Jesus foresees that He is departing the world and going to be with the Father and He prays, “Now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are.” Jesus knew that we would face the same enemies that He faced and that we would need protection in order to be united. He continues in John 17:15 to pray, “I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.” He specifically calls out protection from the evil one and we know from other Scriptures that God invites us to pray for protection from the evil one in the name of Jesus.
He prayed that we would be “sanctified”: In John 17:16-17, Jesus states that His followers “do not belong to this world any more than I do” and He prays, “Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.” Jesus prayed that we would be studying God’s word and that we would be discovering the transformational truth that can only be found in the Scriptures.
As we prepare for Easter and we consider Jesus’ last words and His last prayer, isn’t it good to know that we serve a Lord who envisioned our struggle and prayed for our protection and sanctification? Let’s pray for unity and protection and sanctification for our brothers and sisters in churches locally, nationally, and globally!
Discussion/Application: Why is it so hard even for believers to find unity? Do you believe that God can protect you from the evil one? If so, have you tried praying for protection in the name of Jesus? Are you seeking God’s wisdom through His Word rather than trying to figure things out for yourself?
Bullet Prayer for the day: Lord Jesus, thank you for seeing us so long ago and for knowing where we would struggle. Thanks for praying that we would be “one” in You, just like You and the Father and the Spirit are Triune. Help us to abide with You as individuals, as a local church, and as the global body of Christ!”