By Tyson Thorne

October 2, 2019

John 48 Large

Yesterday we started an examination of Chapter 17 — the longest of Jesus' prayers contained in the Gospels. We identified three parts to this prayer: Jesus prays for his glorification, the disciples' sanctification and the church's unification. We covered the first eight verses and today we'll cover the second of the three parts in verses nine through 19. Admittedly, this section can be confusing. There is a lot of repetition and use of less-than-straightforward language. We'll sort through it all and uncover the main point: what Jesus asks the Father for on behalf of the disciples, and why.

In verse nine Jesus prays for "them", the disciples. This them (and elsewhere) and "those you have given me" are to be understood as the disciples. Jesus clarifies that he is not praying for everyone in the world, but only the disciples. This is what differentiates this section of the prayer from that which follows when Jesus prays for all who will be the Church. This point is important, because it was important to Jesus that everyone knows whom he is praying for. Why? Because these men were (1) given to him by the father, (2) he lived with them for nearly four years and cared deeply for each of them, and (3) they were the future of Jesus' mission. These eleven guys were terribly important not only to Jesus in an emotional sense, but to world history. Should they fail in their mission, Jesus' sacrifice on the cross would fail to grow the Kingdom of Heaven significantly. Salvation for mankind may have been won, but no one would ever know.

I admit I have a hard time working with others. I think that I don't want my work in the project diminished by someone on the team who doesn't pull their weight. God does not demonstrate such fear. In the beginning God gave all authority over the earth to Adam and Eve, two humans who failed him. Here God does it again, handing the reigns of the salvation message over to humans. Thankfully it worked out better the second time around.

Jesus is aware of all this, which is why he implores the Father to protect the disciples. He prays they will be protected from the world's hatred (verse 14) and the evil one (15). He reminds the Father (and those listening to the prayer) that he protected the disciples, and that his departure means they will need protection from another(12). He mentions his success in protecting them, that not one of them was lost except the "one destined for destruction"

NOTE: This is an interesting term. Older translations call Judas the "son of perdition" instead of the "one destined for destruction". Jesus says Judas was lost with purpose, to fulfill prophecy and also to bring about the circumstances of Jesus' death. For one to be lost, some argue he had to have been found first. Did Judas ever truly believe in Jesus? It's doubtful. While the Greek word translated here as "destined for destruction" can simply mean "lost", it can also mean "a state of final spiritual ruin." In context, I think it makes most sense to view Judas as a member of Jesus' team, but not someone who believed Jesus was the Messiah. He continued down a road that lead him further from God and salvation. John stated earlier that Judas would steal from their purse. We know that on at least two occasions Satan himself possessed Judas. His downward spiral continued until the day he committed suicide.

Jesus also prays that the disciples will have with each other the same kind of unity that Jesus and the Father share. This unity is demonstrated in two ways, first a unity of possessions (verse 10) and a unity of purpose (verses 11 and 12). This may have been the inspiration behind the Acts 2 temporary sharing of resources among all believer's in Jerusalem.

Finally, Jesus prays for three forms of holiness.. Starting in verse 17 Jesus says, "set them apart" which is the definition of "holy", to be set apart. The disciples were to be holy in their relationship to truth, that is, God's word. This was answered positively by the Father who went a step further and used the disciples to actually pen portions of the Bible. The second "holy" is in verse 19, Jesus set's himself apart on their behalf. While jesus was going to be with the Father again, his loving and holy interest remained with the disciples who, and this is the third "holy", are also to be set apart.

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