I have been reflecting on John 17:11-19 recently. It features part of Jesus’ longest recorded prayer, the part in which he prays for his disciples. It can be argued that since we too are disciples his prayer extends to us too.
In it he prays for 4 things:
- That they may be protected (both from the world that hates them and from the evil one)
- That they may be united
- That they may be delighted
- That they may be sanctified
I want to share with you three thoughts to consider:
- It really struck me that (huge generalisation here) the church rarely prays for protection, and I think that is a huge omission. Remember, as Christians we are in the world but not of the world. I feel moved to pray for protection, especially in what for me is a time of transition and invite you to reflect on the passage and join me in that prayer for your church and community if you feel burdened too.
- Jesus didn’t simply pray that the disciples would be united; it was much stronger than that, “so that they may be one, as we are one.” If you want to see a perfect example of unity and relationship, look to the Trinity. And that’s how Jesus wants us to be too. The hard question we need to ask ourselves when engaging in anything is “Does this glorify God, and does it demonstrate unity?”
- Jesus prayed for the disciples to be sanctified, to be set apart, to be made holy. And again he didn’t simply pray that; they were to be sanctified in the truth and God’s Word is truth. God’s mission is one of light confronting darkness. We must be the light-bearers to those who walk in darkness; we must help them to find that light where they are. We are to be ‘set apart for the gospel of God’ (Rom. 1:1). And we are set apart by the Word of God. Jesus and God’s holy Word have to be at the centre. If we want to know Jesus more, we read the Bible. If we want to get to know God the Father more, we get to know Jesus. And as we approach Pentecost let’s not forget that we come to the Father through Jesus the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Lord, help us to be protected, united, delighted and sanctified. Amen