Preservation

John 17:11-16

11 I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. 12 While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Jesus is preparing to be “plucked” from this world. After this prayer in John, He is arrested and the path to the cross begins for Him. As we saw previously, Jesus’ prayer here is for the believers in His name, as Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God. The name that Jesus speaks of in 11 refers to a surname, a family name. He isn’t talking about the name of Jesus, or even the word “Christ,” but rather what He is saying that as God the Father and the Son are of the same family, those who believed and came to Jesus have remained in the family. You see, as we enter the Kingdom of God, we don’t just become a serf living on the banks of the moat, but we become part of the Royal Family. We take on the name, the coat of arms per se of God. We represent the King.

Did you catch what Jesus says in verse 12? The word “perish” can be a bit misleading. The original text here doesn’t refer to physical death (funny though how He had not been actually betrayed yet though, isn’t it?), but rather He is speaking of one who is lost. The son of perdition is referred to as Judas Iscariot who will soon bring about the arrest of Jesus. Let’s back up a second though; what does He mean that He “guarded them”? He prevented the believers from falling away and getting lost. We have read before that Jesus is called the Great Shepherd. This analogy is yet again seen here, that Jesus kept all of His sheep protected and together so none would be “lost,” except of course the one who was supposed to “lose his way” in order for prophecy to be fulfilled. This adds to my theory about if we can truly “fall out of faith” on our own. Jesus has the power to prevent that from happening. In fact, it seems here like He allowed it to happen to serve His purpose.

I’m curious if Jesus meant a play on words between 12 and 13, or if it is just the same word used for both instances in the Greek. We assume that Jesus usually spoke in either Hebrew or Aramaic since they were the spoken Jewish tongues of the time, even though the New Testament was written in Greek as the common trade language. The word used for the fulfillment of prophecy in verse 12 is the same word used in 13 to indicate the fulfillment of joy in the disciples. This is referring to the coming of the Holy Spirit which Jesus spoke of to the disciples in chapter 16.

In John 15:18-27 Jesus spoke of the world hating the followers of Christ because they are not of the world and because the world hates Him, they will hate them as well. I find it quite interesting that “Your word” here is the same word that is used in the beginning of John to describe Jesus as “The Word.” Jesus gave Himself. He gave the truth of God to the disciples. I think it is easy for us to confuse what this truly means because in English, “word” can mean different things. We call Jesus “The Word” and we also refer to the bible as “The Word of God,” yet we also use it so mean “spoken word.” Logos, the Greek term used here refers to the embodiment of something. When we speak of language, we think it is mere communication but in reality our language reveals much more than that. It reveals who we truly are. Jesus here is saying that He related to the believers, those who have earnestly sought out God and His revelation of truth, the essence of God. Jesus, the embodiment and essence of God on earth, the open door to His Kingdom revealed it all to the disciples. We read not too long ago that they didn’t finally get it until just now.

Jesus recognizes that we have a purpose here on earth. He recognized His own purpose. This is why He specifies that we aren’t to be taken out of this world, but rather preserved in it to carry out the mission to which He has called us. The word “keep” that Jesus uses here is the same word that is used in verse 12 when Jesus refers to guarding the believers. Jesus is praying for the preservation of believers in the exact same way that He preserved them while He walked the earth: with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Are you living of the world today? Have you asked God to preserve and protect you by the Holy Spirit? Where do you need protection from the evil of this world?


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