“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. John 17:6-9
The disciples were equipped with the knowledge of God and the word of God. They were also obedient to the things that they heard as made manifest when Jesus prayed “and they have kept Your word.“ It was essential that the disciples kept the word of God, so that the generations who followed could receive the authority that is in the word. As vessels of the Most High God, it is our responsibility to grow in grace, and in knowledge of Jesus Christ which are both rooted and grounded in obedience. We frustrate the grace of God when we continue in sin — and sin is missing the mark. An example of this is written in 2 Samuel 12:14 after King David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed in battle; However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.” As servants of the Lord, the enemies of God watch our deeds to find hypocrisy or any wrongdoing in us, so they can justify their own deeds, rather than come to the light.
Do you endeavor to keep His word? Have you committed your life to knowing His word? For it is the word that produces faith in us, according to Romans 10:17 — So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. As Jesus makes intercession for His disciples, He acknowledges their work in the ministry. Which up until that moment, was to hear and obey the word of God. No matter where we are in maturity or ministry, we all share a common responsibility to know and keep the word of God.
Jesus prays for His disciples so that the world would know Him and that He was sent by God. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. God loves the world that He created, and when the world turned its back on God, He sent His son to redeem the world. Starting with 12 men, He has perpetually discipled generations of believers through the word He gave to them. Although the disciples have been off the scene for approximately 2000 years, there are few places on earth where Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are not known. Peter and Paul also share in this enduring legacy which flows from the prayer of Jesus for His disciples.
Although it is true that God loves the world, this prayer was not for the world. It was exclusively for those who received and kept His word, as He prayed in John 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. How do we keep His word in a Post-Christian world? Hebrews 7:25 offers an answer to this question; Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. No matter what the world believes, He continues to make intercession for those who have been called out from the world. We belong to God just as the disciples did who were used to launch the early church. Jesus goes deeper in prayer concerning the disciples and the world in John 17:13-16 — But now I come 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 pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
We are forever connected to the disciples through the Lord Jesus Christ, in that we are called out of the world. So the world that hated Him and the disciples will also hate us, because although we are in the world, we are not of the world. That is why Jesus prayed that His disciples would be kept from the evil one. Jesus ends the prayer for His disciples making a request for sanctification. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
He then begins the prayer for all believers by declaring “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; John 17:20. My prayer for you today is that you would be sanctified through the truth, the word of God is truth. Just as Jesus was sent into the world, He now sends His disciples into the world. Are you His disciple? If the answer is yes, then He has sanctified you and sent you into the world to proclaim the good news of the gospel. More than that, He has sanctified Himself that we also may be sanctified by the truth. Therefore, we have been set apart for the Masters use.
Lord we believe in You through the word that has been given to us through the Disciples!