I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. John 17:15
The hour has come.
We have been reading in the chapters leading up to 17 that “the time has not yet come” or “the hour has not yet come.” Jesus was always referring to this moment in time. The crucial hour of agonizing pain that leads to our redemption with God. He lived His entire life to live up to this moment- how amazingly selfless.
So, what does He do when the hour has come? He prays. Often times we forget or ignore the fact that Jesus was fully man and fully God. But as a man, He needed food and water just like us. He grew tired and weary just like us. And He definitely needed to rely on God’s strength to fulfill His purpose, just like us.
This is why Christianity is distinctly different than the rest of the religions. We have a God who sent his Son to share our weaknesses and then die the ultimate death only to give us life. And now that Jesus sits at the right hand of God in His glroy, He makes intercessions for us because He suffered on earth and can sympathize with our weaknesses. (Romans 8:34 ) How often do we take that for granted?
So, let’s dig into Jesus’ prayer.
He first prays for Himself, but it is not the type of prayer that is selfish or self-seeking; it is a prayer that God will be glorified through His actions. But, what He is about to take upon Himself is nothing short of the most grueling and humiliating act a human could endure. By Jesus asking for God to be glorified through Him, it is not for the world’s praise but for the world’s sake. He ends His prayer about Himself with the reminder of where He came from: with the Father before the world began. He understands the pain He is about to undergo, but this reminder allows Him to focus on the eternal glory that outweighs the temporary suffering. As children of God, we can learn from Jesus and His actions. We can remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness in our lives and the glory that is waiting for us when we take this last breath on earth. (Romans 8:18)
Jesus continues His prayer by making intercession for His disciples and future believers (you and me). We see His heart pouring out for these 11 men and for the souls that need saving. He knows that the disciples are playing a pinnacle role in spreading the gospel, and they are about to step onto a major battleground of unseen powers. (Ephesians 6:12). This battle is still real and ever raging on. And how we fight this battle is the same way Jesus fought it- through prayer and truth of God’s word. We have to fight spiritual battles with spiritual weapons. He also continually prays for the oneness He has with the Father that it might be manifested in His people. This oneness is what places the enemy where he belongs: under our feet.
The lesson in this chapter is simple: pray. Need wisdom? Pray. Someone is struggling? Pray. Need strength? Pray. Don’t take for granted that we have access to the Creator of this world through a simple, humble prayer. I will be the first to admit that my prayer life can become mundane and repetitive. But if Jesus, the sinless man, prayed to stay connected to the Father, how much more do we need to pray as sinful people? Prepare for the daily battle by staying in constant communication with the Lord. The enemy cannot be defeated unless his foe is our Father.
Like Ben Courson says, “If you want to say something to the enemy, write it on your shoes because he’s under your feet.” (We always love a good Ben Courson quote!)