Divine Conversation; Devotional Commentary for May 13-19
6"I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
7"Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You;
8for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.
In the opening verses of His High Priestly prayer, Jesus communed with His Father regarding their divine Oneness and the eternal Glory they share as Father and Son, as God. He also mentioned the Purpose for which His Father sent Him to earth and the Authority His Father gave Him to make Him known and to give eternal life to those who are drawn unto salvation by God's sovereign Prerogative. Now in the rest of the chapter, He prays for those whom He called to salvation and discipled in person, and for those who receive salvation through their ministry.
The Disciples were so dear to Jesus. He loved them; He loved them to the end. He also knew their weaknesses. Their frailty was plainly known to Him. He had deep compassion for them when He observed their grief at the news of His impending departure to return to His Father. So He interceded with His Father on their behalf.
Jesus called His Disciples one-by-one as His Father the sovereign God separated each one out of the world individually. Because their hearts were drawn by God, they could not and did not resist the call to follow Jesus. He discipled them personally and made God known to them. He revealed the Truth to them about Himself, God the Father, and the Spirit of Truth. He manifested the Father to them and gave them the Word of Truth He received from His Father. He gave them eternal life.
They received God's Word. They believed. They understood the Truth. They believed in Jesus Christ that He is the Son of God, and that He came forth from God, and that He was sent by God. They heard from Jesus and believed that everything Jesus told them came directly from God the Father.
Jesus taught them that His Father's Will is that, they believe on Whom He sent. So they heard, so they believed. They believed that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ sent by God to save the lost. Even though he proved to be weak and impetuous at times, Peter stood his ground and affirmed the understanding and the faith of the Disciples by openly confessing: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. … "We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God." Knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and faith was given to them. Peter confessed what God had revealed to him through the Words of Jesus.
9"I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours;
10and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.
It might sound shocking to all of us when we hear Jesus say He was praying for some but not for others. He said He was praying only for those who belonged to Him and His Father. But how about the rest of the world? After all, the Scriptures say that God so loved the world.
The essence of Jesus' High Priestly prayer was not about the salvation of the lost. It was about the protection and preservation of God's redeemed children. It was about setting divine watch over them as we shall see below. So Jesus said to His Father that He was praying for the protection and preservation of those who already belonged to God and to His Son Jesus Christ through redemption. These are those whose redeemed life reflects the Glory of God our Father and Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Jesus prayed for the perseverance of those whom the Father saved through Him.
Jesus' prayer reflects the distinctive Oneness that is true of the Father and the Son. What is true for the One is also true for the Other, for They are One. What is possessed by the One is also owned by the Other. The same is true of the Glory that both Father and Son have in fulfilling their Plan and Purpose of the redemption of the lost accomplished through Jesus Christ. So Jesus prayed for the preservation of the saved.
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.
Knowing His time to face the Cross had come, Jesus was sharing with His Father His concerns about the Disciples' forthcoming struggle because of the change in the proximity of His physical presence with them. Jesus would soon return to His Father after His Suffering, Death, and Resurrection. The Disciples would be alone for the first time since they answered the call to follow Jesus; that is, without Jesus' uninterrupted physical presence.
Even though Jesus knew that the living Word they received will flourish in them as God's Power, and, even though He knew that they would soon be indwelt by the Holy Spirit, He did not deny the seriousness of their inexperience with life on earth apart from the immediate physical presence of their Master Jesus Christ. Jesus protected and preserved them while He was with them in person. He taught them and gave them personal guidance. He was with them at all times nurturing them in their new life as His Disciples and the messengers of the Gospel.
Jesus knew the subtleties, direct attacks, and the wicked influences of the flesh, the world, and the evil forces against the redeemed of Christ. The Disciples had to begin facing these hard circumstances by faith in God and in the Power of His living Word, for the first time, without the immediate help of the Man they knew as their Master, their Teacher, Jesus Christ. He also knew of the doubts and fears which the flesh generates from the old nature still entrenched in their humanness. So Jesus prayed that God the Father would continue to preserve and protect them with the same Name Which has been safeguarding them while Jesus still walked with them.
Although Jesus had prepared them for these frightening eventualities, He was well aware of the weaknesses of His Disciples. He knew that Judas would betray Him. He told Peter that he would deny Him openly. It was prophesied that the Disciples would be scattered when the shepherd is stricken. He knew that doubts and fears would overwhelm their minds and hearts when they witness Jesus' Suffering at the hands of wicked men. He knew their faith would be tested to its limits when they observe that the anchor of their faith is exposed to public shame at the hands of mere mortals. So He prayed that God the Almighty Father would not only preserve them, but also transform their faith from the need for a visible physical evidence to the Whole Christ Who is the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Power, and the Wisdom of God in their redeemed hearts; not lean on who or what they see, but trust the One Who reigns in their hearts as Lord and Savior.
Jesus asked His Father that He would preserve all of those whom He gave to His Son in the same sense that He kept them safe, except the one who was included among the Twelve to fulfill the prophecy about a treasonous friend. This was a High Priestly prayer offered by the Righteous and Holy Son of God to His Holy Father. They are One in an unfathomable Holy Union. Father and Son communed in a Holy Union regarding the Holy Plan for redeeming and preserving those who are called according to God's Holy Purpose. This was a holy Conversation between our Lord in His High Priestly role and God our Father, regarding the security and safe keeping of the redeemed of Christ for the Glory of God.
As we hear Jesus’ prayer to His Father, we observe the depth of His love for His disciples. He passionately interceded for their protection, knowing that these men would face the greatest crisis of their lives. They would be confronted with overwhelming hostilities as the followers of Jesus Christ.
Their Lord would be arrested and would die on the Cross as One Who is condemned by the Law. They would feel abandoned. They would feel lonely and desperate. They would no longer be able to find their Teacher and seek answers from Him to this sudden reversal in their lives. They would grieve inconsolably, and their spirits would be bereft of hope.
Knowing all of this, Jesus placed them confidently in the hands of His Father, certain that they would be strengthened, and persevere by the Power of God and the truth imparted to them by the Spirit of Truth. Jesus had to commit the redeemed to the protective care of His Father while He went to the eternal altar at Calvary to bear in Person, God's Righteous and Just Judgment upon sin. Jesus is the Gospel, the Way, the Truth, the Life, and the Price for our redemption. What He is to His disciples, He is for us as well, the believers: the redeemed who heard the Gospel and believed in Christ our salvation.