17 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. 6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
What Jesus prays grows out of the fact that He is going away. He is entrusting the disciples to the Father He has known and loved throughout His own earthly life, the Father who, He knows, will care for them every bit as much as He has done Himself. He is aware that the disciples are at risk. The world, which hates them as it hated Him, will threaten and abuse them. They don’t belong to it, but they are to be sent into it, and they need protecting. That’s what the prayer is about. Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 4:12-13 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
A sense of opposition, persecution and suffering are part and parcel of the Christian faith – not because we do the wrong things (we should live righteous, pure, blameless lives) or believe wrong concepts (we follow the One who is the Truth) – but because we are followers of Jesus – who Himself was opposed, persecuted, and suffered. We have an adversary, the devil, and we should never be surprised by these opposing forces. So join James and count it all joy when various trials come upon you – James 1:2
Father help me to live in such a manner that you are truly glorified by my lifestyle. Help me to endure hardship, opposition, suffering and persecution as a good soldier of Christ (2 Tim. 2:3)!
Written by Ps. Richard Botta