Good morning everyone and welcome once again to church.
Today we are looking at the second part of Jesus’ prayer in John 17.
Last week we saw how Jesus prayed that he would glorify God the father and that God the father would glorify him.
We looked at what glory means, how God has glory, his majesty and splendor, and how we glorify God by celebrating his goodness and majesty.
As a reminder / recap then, did you seek to glorify God last week?
Did you talk to others about how good he is?
Did you celebrate the fact that God knows you and loves you?
Did you glorify him in everything you did?
As I said last week, we all fall short, we all probably failed at this in some ways, but it is important that we never stop giving God glory simply for who he is.
But as we go into this next section of the prayer, you will notice that Jesus switches topics.
He goes from praying for himself to praying for his disciples.
We’re going to break these verses up into three different sections, but let’s read through our passage for today and then spend some time in prayer.
Engage / Tension
At this point in Jesus’ prayer, he shifts his focus.
Previously there had been an inward focus, praying for glory for himself and the father.
But now, Jesus turns his attention to those who had given their hearts and lives to him, his disciples.
As Jesus prays for the disciples, there are points of truth that can help us as well.
Prayer for Preservation
These first two verses almost act as a progress report of Jesus’ ministry as well as a prayer that God the father would preserve them.
Jesus has revealed to them God’s word, he has taught them everything that comes from him comes from the Father, and in return they have accepted Jesus’ words.
Jesus prays that the disciples would be his.
The disciples do not just belong to Jesus, but also to the Father.
And what belongs to the Father cannot be taken away.
It is a good thing that our salvation is not dependent upon ourselves to keep.
Salvation is not like a bike where we have to keep working to keep the bike moving.
We don’t have to keep ourselves saved because once you belong to Jesus you belong to God the Father.
If our salvation was dependent upon our works and our ability to keep it, we would lose it almost immediately.
Salvation is God’s gift and it is also his responsibility.
However, this doesn’t mean that we can just live however we want.
Anyone who claims to be saved should have fruit in their life that shows it.
Think back to John 15 and we were talking about abiding in Jesus.
We can claim that we are attached to the vine and abiding in him, but it will quickly be proven false when we don’t bear any fruit.
If you are abiding in Christ, if you have accepted salvation through him, then you will bear fruit.
But what happens when you mess up?
Because we all do.
When we fall into sin the Spirit works to convict us and help us with it.
When we sin God doesn’t cast us out of the family of God, otherwise Jesus would not call salvation eternal and everlasting.
For us, it is comforting to know that salvation is in the hands of God and not dependent upon us.
God keeps us just as he kept the disciples.
As an example, think of what happens to the disciples in the next few hours.
Jesus here is praying for the disciples in a way that would make us think that they are perfect followers.
They believe Jesus was sent by the Father, they have obeyed his word, in general it sounds like this group of 11 men are going to follow Jesus perfectly.
But all of them utterly fail Jesus in his moment of crisis.
Peter denies knowing him three times, the rest abandon him.
Instead of the disciples being faithful followers until the end, it appears that they become cowards when Jesus needs them the most.
Yet Jesus sees them here as the Father sees them through their faith in Christ.
God doesn’t just see our current state, whether it is positive or negative, he sees the state that we are through belief in Jesus.
In a similar way, this is why Paul could call the Corinthians “saints” even though their behavior was often far from saintly.
This gives us hope because we know that the One who began a good work in us will see it through.
In the previous passage Jesus talked like the work of the cross was already finished even though it hadn’t happened yet.
The work of Jesus was finished before it was finished.
This is the way that God works within us, he sees us as his perfect, finished creation before we actually are.
Jesus then prays that they would be protected by the Father.
Jesus has done his part on protecting the disciples throughout his time with them.
None had been lost except for Judas, and he was lost not because of a failure on Jesus’ part, but because Scripture had to be fulfilled and he was acting on behalf of the devil.
But Jesus prays for their protection because they are remaining in the world.
The disciples aren’t going to follow Jesus (at least not yet) instead they are going to stay in the world.
This is important to take notice of, because as Christians, sometimes our attitude is one of withdrawal.
Jesus doesn’t pray that the disciples be taken away, excluded from the rest of the world, instead he prays that they would be protected while they are in the world.
Jesus doesn’t want the disciples to become like the Pharisees, who distanced themselves from everyone else so that they wouldn’t be considered “dirty” or “unclean.”
Yet, Christians often feel this way or go through periods of times where we feel like we have to almost be hermits from the rest of the world.
We can feel this way after having moments of intense closeness with God.
I know it is a feeling that is often felt after a week of church camp.
Let’s just stay at church camp, stay away from some of the world.
John Stott describes this mindset as a “rabbit hole Christian.”
The kind who pops his head out of his hole, leaves his Christian roommate in the morning and runs to class, only to search for another Christian to sit by.
When supper comes he sits with Christians from his dorm at one table and thinks, “What a witness!”
From there he goes to his all Christian Bible study where they pray for the non believers in their dorm.
But thank goodness his floor has mostly Christians!
Then he makes it back to his Christian roommate.
He managed to make it through the day and the only time with others in the world were when he went from one Christian meeting to another.
The rabbit hole Christian will do everything they can to not have anything to do with non-believers.
Now, I want to clarify because I don’t want you to think I’m saying something I’m not.
Having Christian friends, and groups to belong to is not a bad thing.
In fact it is good!
It is to your benefit to belong to these groups of believers who can pray for one another and spur each other on.
But it becomes an issue if you only surround yourself with other believers.
It makes it rather difficult to be salt and light in the world.
But on the opposite end of this we are not supposed to become part of the world.
This is what Jesus talks about in the next few verses.
Christians should not isolate themselves from the world nor should they assimilate and become like the world.
Both of these temptations are great for us.
We can desire to be in the world to such a degree that we fall into the temptation of becoming just like it.
But here Jesus prays that the disciples would be sanctified and that they would then live on mission just as Jesus lived.
Followers of Jesus should be as much like him as possible.
Jesus didn’t isolate himself from the people, nor did he become just like them.
Instead, he lived with them in a way that showed them the love of God so that they too might know him as savior.
We can see this in how Hebrews 7:26 and Matthew 11:19 describe Jesus.
Jesus was set apart from sinners yet was a friend to them.
If there was anyone who could be deemed to holy to be near sinners, it is Jesus!
Yet he had a desire to live with them, among them, know them, so that they might believe in him.
To live like Jesus, to live on mission, will take purposeful action for us.
This means going out of your comfort zone, it means meeting new people, having real conversations with people, not just surface level conversations.
While this might seem daunting, we can do this because we know that our salvation is in God’s hands, not ours, and we have the protection of the Father just as the disciples did.
Practically then, there are two things that I believe we should do.