Lenten Reflections

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John 17:9-19

March 21, 2024
John 17:9-19

9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.


Jesus offers a special prayer for the disciples whom the Father has entrusted into his care. It is hard to imagine more moving words than the ones Jesus offers here for his friends. Jesus recognizes that he can no longer be physically present with his disciples, and thus they will face unprecedented challenges after his death on the cross. While he was with them, Jesus was able to offer them some protection, but now, Jesus must place them into his Father’s sovereign care.

Jesus was “set apart” for a particular purpose. This is what it means to be “holy” or “sanctified.” To be holy does not mean that one is especially pious or religious, but rather that one has been consecrated for a specific task. Jesus was set apart for his unique mission. As Jesus approaches his final hours, he sets himself apart so that his followers would also be set apart for a special task. Just as the Father sent the Son into the world, so the Son sends his followers into the world to represent his coming kingdom.

In light of his imminent departure, Jesus prays that the Father would guard his followers as Jesus did during his earthly ministry. They are not of the world because Jesus has cleansed them through his call and ministry, but they nevertheless must remain in the world to carry on the task of calling people to faith in Jesus. Therefore, Jesus’ disciples face the great risk of being drawn back into the rebellion and sinfulness of the world around them. Jesus prays that the Father would protect them from such a fate. Jesus likewise prays for you that you will remain firm no matter what challenges you might face so that God’s kingdom might continue to progress until Jesus returns and makes all things new.

How should you live your life differently knowing that Jesus has prayed that you would be set apart to carry on his mission?