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From Protected to Projected: Part 5: They heard Jesus pray

John 17:15-19
“I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They are not part of this world anymore than I am. Make them pure and holy by teaching them your words of truth. As you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself entirely to you so they also might be entirely yours.”

Let’s take a deep look at John 17. Pause for a few moments, grab a Bible and read these very personal and heartfelt 26 verses. In the hours before, Jesus and the disciples share powerful, life changing dialogue about the great teachings Jesus came to leave with his people. The opening of chapter 17 says that when he finished saying all these things, he looked up to his Father and began praying and we are given the unforgettable opportunity to listen in to Jesus speaking to his Father about his most loved treasures- the disciples. Jesus begins by bringing attention to the fact that he received his disciples as a gift from God (vs.6-7) and moves onto verbalizing his discipleship training method in some detail. If we put it in a list format, it would look like this: 
  • Jesus mentions that he kept them and guarded them (v.12), 
  • Jesus told them many things (v. 13) and gave them God’s word (v.14), 
  • Jesus sent them into the world (v.18), 
  • Jesus told them God had sent him and loves the world as much as he loves him [Jesus] (vs.23 and 25), and
  • Jesus revealed God to them (v.26). 
Then, through close reading, you will find that Jesus has specific requests from God that he mentions on behalf of the disciples. Again, here it is in list format:
  • That God will keep them safe (v.15),
  • That God will make them pure and holy (v.17),
  • That the disciples will be one with other believers (v.21), and 
  • That the disciples will be with Jesus again (v.24).  
Do you see a connection between the two lists? Perhaps if blended together, the links between what Jesus did for the disciples and his requests for God to do for the disciples will be clear. Try reading them again, like this:
  • Jesus receives the disciples as gifts from God (vs.6-7),
  • Jesus mentions that he kept them and guarded them (v.12), 
        • That God will keep them safe (v.15)
  • Jesus told them many things (v. 13) and gave them God’s word (v.14), 
        • That God will make them pure and holy (v.17)
  • Jesus sent them into the world (v.18), 
        • That the disciples will be one with other believers (v.21)
  • Jesus told them God had sent him and loves the world as much as he loves him [Jesus] (vs.23 and 25), and
  • Jesus revealed God to them (v.26). 
          • That the disciples will be with Jesus again (v.24)

Perhaps, we as parents could use this skeleton of Jesus’ prayers for those he was in charge of training and preparing for the future (the disciples) and apply it as a guide to train, prepare, and pray for those we are given (our children). Let’s see if it fits. As parents, 
  • We are to receive them as gifts from God,
  • We are to keep them and guard them during training,
        • We are to pray that God will keep them safe and supply their needs.
  • We are to teach them many things and give them God’s word,
          • We are to pray that God will make them pure and holy.
  • We are to reveal God to them, and
        • We are to pray that God will provide other believers for them.
  • We are to send them into the world.
        • We are to pray that they can reveal God’s word to the world
        • And that one day they will be with Jesus again.

Let us notice a few interesting points about this passage. First, the disciples were present as Jesus prayed these things over them. They probably heard every word and felt his earnestness with which he desired these things for his loved ones. We can also see that Jesus had done his part and verbalized in detail how he equipped these followers for the task ahead. Reading beyond the final statements in Jesus’ prayer, we can see that Jesus met with God about his requests and kept moving further with the disciples. Waiting around was not an option for Jesus, he simply trusted that God was going to answer his petitions. 

So where do you and I fall in the line-up of Jesus’ model of equipping and praying for our “disciples”? With which techniques are we successful? Which ones can we check off the list as complete? 

Thanks for sticking through to the end. I'm thankful. Happy Easter week, friends!



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