“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17: 20,21 NIV)
In order to really get the gist of this prayer, we have to understand just how much God loves us.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” John 1:1,2) The explanation of who Jesus is.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). How we know just how much God loves us.
He came down from heaven, in the likeness of sinful flesh, born of a woman who had known no man–but by the incorruptible seed–the spirit of the living God, who knew know sin and was not subject to sin as man was. He knew that man would not keep His Law regarding the atonement of sin, so He made it for all who believe–that they would have eternal life.
And now, while Jesus is in the Garden praying, once more, He demonstrates His love for all who will believe as He prayed for us.
In the sixteenth chapter of John, Jesus warned His disciples that in “this world” you will have trouble, but that He had overcome the world. And right after telling them that, He looked toward Heaven and prayed.
Though many think the model prayer He gave His disciples was His prayer, it is not. The model prayer found in Matthew 6 and Luke 11 is the “model or guide” to prayer: acknowledging who God is and what He represents in our lives, acknowledging our dependence on Him, repentance of sin, and seeking forgiveness, and securing His direction for our lives. We know that He did not intend for people to simply “repeat” the model as a prayer because the model does not do what He later tells us to do in John 14, to ask “in His name.”
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be gloried in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14: 13,14 NIV
Notice, that He does not say that in the model prayer because He never intended for people to just repeat those words. And many people wonder why they do not see prayers answered; it is because they have not believed in the power of asking in His name, aligned with The Word.
But back to His Prayer–the one He prayed. He acknowledged who His Father is and acknowledged the purpose for His journey to earth. He acknowledges His obedience in doing all that was required of Him while here, and then He asks the Father to protect those who have believed Him and those who will believe in Him because of the message they would teach.
v. 15 MY PRAYER is not that you take them out of the world that you protect them from the evil one.
v.16 They are not OF THE WORLD, even as I am not of it.
v.17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is Truth.
v.18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
v.19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
And we know from our focus scripture that we who believe today, were included in that prayer, asked of the Father, over 2000 years ago. Now, that’s love! He thought about us before we were ever born–before our parents and grandparents and their grandparents–were ever born. He wanted for us–what those with Him would have–access to eternal life through belief in Him and the work on the cross. He wanted us to be one–in purpose and intent–as He and the Father were one–in purpose and intent–the share the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ–repentance of sin and salvation through Him.
If there is no repentance–turning away of sin–there can be no salvation, no access to heaven.
Though there are many groups who have REWRITTEN God’s Word to support their own agendas–to continue in sin or to control others, God’s Word is revealed in us with the experience we have with Him, when He reveals Himself to us through that experience, cementing our relationship with Him for all times.
For those who think “changing His Word” will benefit them, they are in for a rude awakening. When God says that judgment will begin at the household of faith, He meant it. Those of who proclaim to Believe God and yet will not live according to His Word, will stand to be judged first and the consequence–the lake of fire–is already prepared; along with His pronouncement, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.” (Luke 13:7) Notice that He does not say, “I don’t know you” in the present tense as we stand before Him; He uses the past tense–never knew you. In other words, nothing you have ever done was done to glorify me. These are not the words I plan to hear from Him.
Although I don’t always understand why God speaks to my heart and has me share what He’s given me, I won’t worry about it. I know that I don’t have to understand the whys of what He does, but just obey and I will see the blessing of obedience in my life. Living a life based upon The Word has its challenges, but the rewards are so great, that I choose to continue to live my life according to His Word and encourage others to do the same.
It was through this passage of Scripture–that I finally understood just how much I was loved and I pray, in Jesus’ name, you will understand it, too and choose to live in obedience to His Word.