In chapters 15 and 16 Jesus has just finished briefing the disciples on the fact that suffering and persecution are around the corner and they should expect it. He alerted them to the fact that some will seek to kill the disciples thinking they are serving God. He doesn’t want them to be surprised and stop following him as a result of encountering suffering and persecution. He says endure! The Christian life is more of a marathon than a sprint.
Jesus goes on and explains in chapter 17 that his own approaching death ss a means of glorifying the father. We can learn a lot about suffering by learning how Jesus viewed it. He viewed suffering and persecution through the lens of God’s Kingdom, not his own comfort.
Suffering and persecution, when encountered, are to further God’s kingdom and bring glorify to God.
In the midst of dealing with his own suffering, he prays for his disciples. Remarkable.
1. He prays for their fellowship – “keep them in your name…that they may be one, even as we are one” (17:11). How are you doing with fellowship? When we abide (remain) in Jesus we’ll find a greater unity and joy in the fellowship of other believers. When we live independently, we’ll drift away from fellowship. If you are at odds with another believer, take a look at your fellowship with Jesus. Remain in and with Him (abiding) and allow His love to impact your other relationships.
2. He prays for their joy – “that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (17:13). The disciples had joy in the presence of Jesus, but now that he was leaving, they were sad (16:6). He prays that His joy would be lived out in them after He departs.
3. He prays for their protection – “that you keep them from the evil one” (17:15). Haters hate, and Jesus has already explained that this is to be expected. Yet, He still prays for their safety. Evil is a reality. That’s why we have locks on our doors. Jesus prayed that the Father would keep them from the evil one – yet at times it seems some people run straight into the enemy’s camp engaging in all types of “entertainment” that is antithetical to abiding in Christ. Without getting all worked up about our freedom and God’s forgiveness - Where are you on this?
4. He prays for them to be set apart – “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (17:17). To “sanctify” means to be set apart. We are set apart positionally because we are “in Christ” and we are to be set apart practically by abiding in Him and reading God’s word – His word is truth.
If you wander and struggle in your prayers for others, try praying for their fellowship, for their joy, for their protection and for them to be set apart-thriving in God’s word.
Enjoy Walking with the Savior Today,