John 17:6-19 – “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 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. 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. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 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. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
In the High Priestly Prayer of John 17, Jesus prays for His followers. And He specifically prays for our protection:
The world is marked by the life-damaging effects of sin and pain and death. One of the devil’s most powerful lies is telling us joy is out there in the world. When you become a Christian, what was tempting in the world now strikes you as tragic. What you used to enjoy you are now ashamed of. What you used to brag about you now mourn. What you used to attend parades for, you now have funerals for. When God changed you, your relationship with the world changed, and He doesn’t want it to change back.
Jesus also prays for our mission:
Jesus helps us figure out how to be good missionaries with His words on being in the world but not of it. Every area of the world needs missionaries, and all Christians need to be missionaries. Jesus loves the lost people who cross our paths, and He sent us to take His love to them.
For this reason, every Christian must love people, serve people, and engage people. Part of our mission in all corners of the world and its contexts means listening to people, empathizing, reading the literature, pounding the cultural pavement, even understanding the entertainment. We want to understand people because we are then best able to help them.
It is amazing to consider that on one of Jesus’ darkest and most difficult days, He stopped to pray for you and the rest of us who are Christians. Even more amazing, Jesus continues to pray for us and is doing so right now. Jesus “is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them,” because, “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Hebrews 7:25, Romans 8:34).
Right now, Jesus is aware of what you are going through, including the hopes you have, burdens you bear, and fears you face. Right now, Jesus is talking to the Father and Spirit along with angels and other divine beings about you as He intercedes for you. The High Priestly prayer continues every moment of every day and should be an incredible encouragement that you are loved, prayed for, and Someone is staying up all night concerned for you and interceding for you!
Are you a good missionary? What can you learn from Jesus about living on mission wherever God has put you?