Jesus prays for our spiritual security and spiritual unity
11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your own name those whom You have given me, that they may be one, as We are.John 17:11-12, 20-21, 23-26
12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name: those that You gave Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on Me through their word.
21 That they all may be one; as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that You have sent Me.
23 I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them, as You have loved Me.
24 “Father, I will that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which You have given Me: for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
25 O righteous Father, the world has not known You: but I have known You, and these have known that You have sent Me.
26 And I have declared unto them Your name, and will declare it: that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them.
Do you remember the first time you left your child with a babysitter? The diapers and wipes were left out in plain sight, as was a fresh change of clothes. Important phone numbers were fastened conspicuously to the refrigerator with a magnet. Instructions were written down, but you went over them verbally again, just to be sure she understood everything. Finally, your husband pulled you out of the house, assuring you that your little bundle of joy was in good hands, and that the two of you were going to enjoy a much needed quiet and romantic night together away from the house. After all, you were not leaving your precious child with an unvetted stranger. No way! Chances are, this was someone you already knew and trusted, or at the very least you had done your homework and had chosen a babysitter with excellent credentials.
Now picture Jesus, talking with the Father, as He prepares to walk out of the garden toward Golgotha’s hill. He is not planning a romantic get-away, but He will feel just as helpless as you felt that first time you left your baby behind. He trusts the Father explicitly, but His prayer shows how deeply He cares for the people whom God has given Him.
Jesus Prays for Our Spiritual Security
In our text, John 17, Jesus was getting ready to go away, and for a short time He would be completely indisposed, as He hung on the cross bearing the sins of the world. For those dark hours He would not be able to care for His people, so He asked the Father to watch over them. So secure is our salvation that we have never been vulnerable to the enemy. We have always been protected by God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Our salvation is a forever salvation. It is secured threefold:
- Through the purpose of God the Father.
He has purposed to secure a Bride for His Son. “Who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9).
- Through the presence of God the Spirit.
He is our engagement ring, so to speak. “In whom you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after you believed, you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
- Through the prayers of God the Son.
He prays for us for the purpose of bringing many sons to Glory. “Therefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
Jesus’ prayer in John 17 is a sampling of the intercessory prayer He utters for us even now in heaven at the right hand of the Father. This is His great work—His much-more work. All the prophets of all religions have died. Jesus died too. We needed Him to die. But unlike the other prophets, our Savior lives again to intercede for us. That is why His work of intercession is much more than His death. It is because He lives that we too can have everlasting life. This is what sets Him apart from and above all other gods. This is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions.
If you come to Jesus, trusting Him to save you, He will receive you.
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.John 6:37
What about Judas? I believe Jesus included Judas Iscariot in His prayer specifically to answer our questions concerning this matter. After all, he was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, the men closest to Him, and he was a devil. (Does that mean one in every twelve church members is a devil?) Did Judas lose his salvation? Or was he never saved in the first place? The answer is right here in John 17:12, “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name: those that You gave Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” Judas was the son of perdition (destruction; loss). He was never a son of God. He did not lose his salvation, for he never had salvation to begin with. He was a pretender, a spy, a hypocrite. Call him what you may, but do not call him a Christian. You cannot lose your salvation. Don’t let anyone try to tell you that you can. Are there people who turn away from serving God after putting their faith in Him to save them? Sure. But they are still His children. My children are still my children, whether they obey me or not, whether they honor me or not. They cannot stop being my children. They can even go to the courthouse and sign a paper that emancipates themselves from me, if they so desire. They can legally have their name changed. But none of this will change the fact that they were formed from the union of my husband and me. They will always and forever be our children. You and I did not enter the family of God by birth, but by adoption. And yet we are just as secure in the family of God. In fact, we’ve been double-wrapped….
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.
Jesus Prays for Our Spiritual Unity
This is not unity in the sense of singleness of purpose within the church. Instead, the idea here is that we would grasp the fact that we are one in Christ. Let me make it more personal by using the first-person singular. I am one in Christ—I am one with Christ. In other words, Christ lives in and through me by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the sort of unity that Jesus wants you and me to comprehend.
Oh, how our lives would be transformed if we could but grasp this truth! The Son lives in the Father. The Spirit dwells in the Son. Now that the Son has returned to the Father, the Spirit has come to dwell in us. For three years the disciples had the presence of Jesus Christ beside them, in front of them, visible to them. But for the rest of their lives, though He would be invisible, He would be forever present inside of them—and not only them, but all who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. This is spiritual unity with God. We are not gods ourselves, but we can accomplish God’s will, by God’s grace, through the power of God’s Spirit who lives within us.
Power to accomplish God’s will is one benefit of understanding our unity in Christ. Another is victory over sin. Once I fully grasp the truth that I am one with Christ, how can I live in sin? How can I tell that dirty joke, knowing He’s listening? How can I watch that television program, knowing He’s watching it too? How can I entertain ungodly thoughts, knowing He sees them?
Why is spiritual unity so important?
Every word of God is important, so when He says a thing twice, you had better pay attention. In verse 21, Jesus says, “That they all may be one; as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You have sent Me.” And again in verse 23, “I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them, as You have loved Me.”
The two phrases are similar, but the second builds upon the first.
Jesus wants us to be one in Him, not for His benefit, or even for ours, but for the benefit of the world—that the world may…
- believe [pisteúō, have faith, put trust in] that the Father sent the Son.
- know [ginoskō, to be sure, to understand]
a. that the Father sent the Son.
b. that the Father loves His adopted children.
c. that the Father loves the Son.
Jesus wants us to be one with Him, first of all, so the world will believe that the Father sent the Son, and also so that the world will know that the Father sent the Son, and that the Father loves us as He loves the Son.
When you look at the verses this way, you can see that we are equal to Jesus in love. But can you comprehend that? God has so much love that He could not possibly give it all to just one Son, so He created us, and chose us as His love gifts to the Son. God loves us! We are loved—you are loved with an everlasting love. You are loved with the same love that God has given to His Son. Jesus even listed us first in His prayer, ahead of Himself. The love God has for us is not inferior to the love He has for His Son, but it is the same. He loves us the same as He loves His Son. That’s why He gave His Son to be the ransom for our sins. And God wants the whole world to know about Jesus and about His love for us.
Notice that faith comes first, then perfect knowledge. You don’t have to understand everything about the love of God in order to accept His gift of salvation by faith. First, you must accept by faith that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Then He will teach you the things you need to know, as you grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus. Have you accepted His gift of love? If not, what’s stopping you?
Next week we will look at two more ways in which Jesus prays for us.
My Dear Readers
The first weekend of March I will be at my very first juried art show! That said, the next couple weeks will be dedicated to the studio, with less time given to my blogs. Some posts are scheduled, and I will check in from time to time to respond to comments, but please excuse me if it takes a little while. Thank you so much for reading! I’ll be back!