For some reason when we are in different seasons we see the Word through different eyes. That was me this morning. Whenever I think of John 17 I think of Jesus’ prayer for unity. But after reading it I see another very strong theme, perhaps even stronger than unity. That is the theme of protection.
I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. v. 11
While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. v. 12
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. v. 15
Clearly on the Lord’s heart is his protection of those that are his. And it’s not a protection from hardships, troubles and dramas. Just a few verses previously he said “In this world you will have trouble” (Jn 16:33). He spells it out plainly. But this is perhaps more of a protection from the evil one. Similar to what we find in Jude v. 24:
To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault with great joy…
When I read these verses of protection, I think of how precariously I’ve been on the edge of the cliff. I’ve let anger or immorality or lack of trusting God put me on that edge. That edge that is razor thin and at times could have drastically altered the outcome of my life. But I have to say when I’ve been on that edge, I’ve rarely experienced the Lord’s rabid desire to bring me back–supernatural events that only he could do.
And I realize from reading these verses that it is God who has kept me safe. It wasn’t my own will-power. It wasn’t my own doings. It was truly God.
So now when I read this chapter, I want to remember that Jesus has stood in intercession for me on so many levels. One of which is his holy protection.