"Protect and Sanctify the Eleven"

March 14th, 2019

6 I have revealed Your name

to the men You gave Me from the world.

They were Yours, You gave them to Me,

and they have kept Your word.

7 Now they know that all things

You have given to Me are from You,

8 because the words that You gave Me, 

I have given them.

They have received them

and have known for certain

that I came from You.

They have believed that You sent Me.

9 I pray for them.

I am not praying for the world

but for those You have given Me,

because they are Yours.

10 Everything I have is Yours,

and everything You have is Mine,

and I have been glorified in them.

11 I am no longer in the world,

but they are in the world,

and I am coming to You.

Holy Father,

protect them by Your name

that You have given Me,

so that they may be one as We are one.

12 While I was with them,

I was protecting them by Your name

that You have given Me.

I guarded them and not one of them is lost,

except the son of destruction,

so that the Scripture may be fulfilled.

13 Now I am coming to You,

and I speak these things in the world

so that they may have My joy completed in them.

14 I have given them Your word.

The world hated them

because they are not of the world,

as I am not of the world.

15 I am not praying 

that You take them out of the world

but that You protect them from the evil one.

16 They are not of the world,

as I am not of the world.

17 Sanctify them by the truth;

Your word is truth.

18 As You sent Me into the world,

I also have sent them into the world.

19 I sanctify Myself for them,

so they also may be sanctified by the truth.


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His statement in verse 7, "Now they know," might indicate that his opening words in John 16:31 were indeed an affirmation that they genuinely believed. Also in verse 8 he states that they "have known for certain." Again, perhaps the Eleven have grasped more than we have given them credit for in the past.

In verses 9-12 Jesus petitions the Father for protection for the Eleven. He specifies that he is not praying for the world (kosmos). The term world in John almost always represents the fallen world that is at odds with God's will (Jn 1:10; 3:19; 7:7; 8:23; 12:13; 14:17, 27, 30; 15:18; 16:11, 33; 18:36). Even the notion of protection is tied to the theme of glory in verse 10. Glory has come to Jesus through the disciples, whom he is asking the Father to protect. Jesus has protected them up until now and kept them safe by the Father's name (v. 12). But now that he is leaving the world, he places the Eleven, and you and me, in the Father's loving protection.

In the second part of verse 12 Judas appears as the "son of perishing" (destruction). There is a play on words that none of the popular translations capture. Literally Jesus says, "None has perished except the son of perishing." The same term is used in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 in referring to the antichrist.

Verse 13 hints at the fact that Jesus is speaking his prayer out loud, specifically so the disciples can hear his words and receive joy. Jesus makes this clear when he prays for the raising of Lazarus in John 11:41-42. He states that he is saying these things for the benefit of the listeners, since he knows the Father always listens.

In verses 14-19 Jesus asks that the Eleven be sanctified or set apart. According to his prayer, what sets the disciples apart is the truth and the word that is truth. Since they are being sent out into a world that is hostile to the truth, the Father must protect and sanctify them. Note that Jesus does not ask that the disciples be taken out of the world but that they be set apart from the world.

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