“My prayer is not for the world, but for those You have given Me, because they belong to You. All who are Mine belong to You, and You have given them to Me, so they bring Me glory. Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to You. Holy Father, You have given Me Your name; now protect them by the power of Your name so that they will be united just as we are.” – John 17:9-11 (NLT)
“I’m not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.” – John 17:15
“Just as You sent Me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give Myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by Your Truth.” – John 17:18-19
The last prayer Jesus made before going to the cross. It wasn’t a prayer for the world, but a prayer for His disciples, the ones who had remained faithful and true through the entirety of Jesus’ ministry. Isn’t it interesting that one of the last things Jesus did on earth before His crucifixion is the very thing that He is doing before the Father in Heaven at this very moment? He is sitting at the right hand of the Father, interceding on behalf of His people (Romans 8:34). It’s really important that we understand the context here: Jesus is praying for and interceding on behalf of those who are truly His followers. He is not praying for the world, those who are against Him and far from Him. He is praying for His people, and His people only. I feel the importance of making this point very clear, because too many tend to use this in reference to all people, which is a major misconception.
Those who belong to Jesus, these are the ones for whom He is praying to the Father. He is praying to the Father on behalf of His people because He is sending His people into the world to bring more into the Kingdom. Jesus understood what He was sending them out into. He knew the hardships that were coming. He warned the disciples concerning these hardships multiple times, and the time was now at hand. The hardest of hardships being the witnessing of the death of their Lord and Savior. Their friend. Jesus.
As Jesus is praying for His people, both His disciples on that day and all who would follow after them, He makes it very clear that He is not only leaving His disciples in the world but He is also sending them out into it. Yet another misconception in the minds of many “believers” today. Christ did not leave us in the world simply to just separate ourselves from it. No, He left us here and sent us out into it in order to be His representatives here and to bring more souls into the Kingdom of Heaven. We are the light of the world. We are a city on a hill. Yet we have ran and hid in our caves, crying out for the Lord to take us away. And as we go deeper into our hiding places, evil runs more rampant on the earth than ever before without a single hindrance to push it back.
O church, when are we going to break out of our delusion of fear and step back into the reality of the Kingdom? When are we going to realize the authority and the power we have in Christ, that He left us to walk with on this earth? If we are in Christ, then we have no need to fear! So if we are living in fear, do we really know Him? Do we actually believe in and trust the One whose name we claim?
“I have given them Your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.” – John 17:14
You cannot live in the Truth of the Lord and be friends with the world. For the Truth is offensive and confronting. The world does not want to hear it, so they attempt to tear it down. And because the church has shied away from doing anything and standing up for the Truth, they are doing it with ease. But those days are over. You are either a true, authentic believer of Christ who loves His Truth and stands up for it no matter what, or you are a friend of the world which makes you an enemy of God. There is no in between, no gray area. To follow Christ, it is simply black and white. It is not confusing. We have been clearly given the Truth to uphold, and the upholding of the Truth is what I intend to do.
Where is your allegiance?