PFOA : John 17:6-24

Read John 17:6-24

Jesus loves the world and His desire is that all may come to faith in Him, but in this instance, He is praying just for his disciples (v.9). With Him, there are just the eleven. Perhaps there are others not present, including the women. This is how Jesus describes His disciples:

The disciples were chosen by God the Father out from the world and given to the Son, Jesus. While on earth, Jesus gave them the word which they have kept (vv.7,14) and the words which they received (v.8). The singular “word” refers to the Gospel, which is embodied in Christ as the Word of God, whereas the plural form encompasses all the truth of God’s precepts, promises and prophecies. To receive and keep the word and words of the Father means believing in them as truth and obeying them (v.6 NASB). The claim to believe and faith is nothing if it does not lead to an active obedience that rests in trust.

The disciples have also come to believe that Jesus came from and was sent by God the Father into the world. Implicitly this acknowledges that Jesus was with the Father from the beginning (v.24) and is God. There is however not two gods, but one – as Jesus stresses clearly in verses 11, 21 and 22.

The disciples are a distinct people. They have been chosen out of the world, they are no longer part of it. Entrusted with the truth, they are distinguished from the world by their lives of obedience to God’s words. This is the cause of the world’s hatred and hostility towards them. This makes them the target of the evil one. Although not belonging to the world, God has not taken them out of it. Instead they are to be God’s special people (1 Peter 2:9), or, as the KJV puts it His “peculiar people” whose lives distinguish them by displaying the glory of God as citizens of His Kingdom, in contrast to the sin and chaos of the surrounding population.

These are the disciples Jesus prays for. Specifically, He does not pray for all the people in the world. This does not mean that Jesus is not concerned for the world; in fact, the very reason He prays exclusively for the disciples is that through them “the world may believe” (v.21) and “the world may know” (v.22) that He was sent by God. On the other hand, Jesus is not praying for just the eleven present that evening outside Jerusalem. He includes all the disciples in subsequent generations that come to faith through this first group.

As disciples we wonder at the love of God for the world, we are amazed at the grace and mercy of the Gospel of Life. We live by faith under the guidance and protection of Almighty God and have access into God’s presence through the Holy Spirit. Do we realise what a privilege we have when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, prays for us? Whether we asks or not, He continually prays, because His disciples are not of the world, that they may have the full measure of joy (v.13), protection from the evil one (v.15), be sanctified (set apart) by the truth (v.17), and above all, be united to one another – be one just as the Father and the Son are one. This complete unity will let the world know Jesus, the Son of God was sent from the Father, for their salvation.

Let us pray for one another just as our Lord Jesus Christ prays for us, His disciples.