17:9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are."
Don't get distracted by Jesus saying He does not pray for the world. That prayer comes later. What Jesus is doing is being specific. I often wonder what it must have been like for the eleven to listen to Jesus talk to His Father like this. Here they are in this confusing and overwhelming moment. Life as it has been is over and the future is murky and unknown. Jesus keeps saying He is leaving. He has told them they will scatter and deny Him and abandon Him yet they don't need to be troubled or afraid. It all seems so overwhelming and impossible. Now He has stopped talking to them and started talking to God about them.
Now here we are 2000 years later facing the most unsettling global circumstances with 4 major terrorist attacks in 2 weeks. What are we to take from this prayer. Why was it preserved for us?
Eleven men left their "normal" lives behind. Some of them have families. All of them had jobs. For over three years they have been travelling all over with this captivating Teacher from Nazareth. They were drawn to Him. They saw in Him more than a Nazarite, more than a teacher, more than any ordinary man. They put their trust in Him and now they know He is no ordinary man. He is Heaven in human flesh. Now He is leaving. They don't understand why. They can't fully grasp where. I try to put myself in their shoes. I picture this moment as the few moments before an accident. Those moments when you can see what is about to happen. It's too late to change course or avoid the inevitable and time seems to almost stand still just before everything changes forever.
As they remain suspended in this state between the way things were and the coming crash Jesus starts to pray. Now they have become part of an intimacy between Jesus and His Father that we've not yet seen. He is praying about and for them.
He calls them His own.
In spite of their fighting and their pride and their doubts. In spite of the fact they are about to fail Him and abandon Him, He calls them His own. "They are Yours and they are Mine". Then He says something really crazy: "I am glorified in them."
Excuse me? Jesus are you serious? Glory means character. Are you sure your character is revealed in them? The ones who fight over who is the best. The ones who doubt You and argue with You. The ones who took three years just to figure out You are more than just a man. The ones who refuse to believe You are about to die. The ones who can't believe you help and heal those on the wrong side of the border. These eleven magnify Your character? They bring You glory?
He hasn't finished His prayer for them yet... "... Father keep them through Your name that they may be (become) one as we are one."
Do you see it?!?!!
Keep, guard, watch over them through Your Name. What is His Name?
Exodus 34:5 "Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin..."
Jesus is asking His Father to keep them in His mercy so that they can become one. When Jesus declares that He is glorified in them it is a statement of faith. He does not see these eleven as we see them. He sees them as what they will be. He speaks of those things that are not as though they are. Think about that! Jesus does not see you in your present condition. He chooses to see you as you will be when His work in you is complete!
Last night the Montreal Canadiens were losing 3-0 but came back and won 4-3. The coach was beaming with pride after. His team had brought him glory even though he had never stepped on the ice. It's easy to beam with pride when the game is won. Jesus beams with pride over eleven men who as yet are a fumbling mess.
We see a world in chaos that seems to get darker by the day. Jesus sees a kingdom restored. smile emoticon
That is Jesus' prayer for the eleven. Wait until you hear His prayer for us!