Sunday 17 May 2015

Bible Book:

“I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.” (v. 15)

John 17:6-19 Sunday 17 May 2015

Psalm: Psalm 1


This passage from John's Gospel is part of chapters 14-17 whichare often referred to as the Farewell Discourse. These words werespoken after the Last Supper on the night before the crucifixion.In chapter 17 we have the longest prayer of Jesus in any of theGospels and this prayer is known as the high priestly prayer. Itbrings together all that the Gospel has been about up to thispoint. It takes us into the intimate relationship between Jesus andhis Father and invites us to enter into that relationship, too.

We need to recall that Jesus is about to leave his disciples. Hehas told them this but they have not grasped what is going tohappen. They are almost in a state of denial. So in this prayerJesus entrust his disciples to the care of his Father. Jesus knowsthat the disciples are going to suffer for their beliefs - theywill be hated and reviled, just as he has been, for speaking amessage that many people don't want to hear.

Jesus uses the term "world" often in this passage and it has avery specific meaning (vv. 6, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18), which canbe a bit baffling to us. The word is not used to refer to thephysical universe but to all in creation, including human beingswho have rebelled against God. The disciples are called out fromthat to live in another world - God's sphere, God's kingdom. Jesusis concerned that his disciples are at risk of being drawn backinto that other, rebellious world. So Jesus prays to God that hewill complete the work he has done in his disciples. Some Christianleaders use this prayer to pray for those in their pastoralcare.

To Ponder

  • The term 'backslider' was used in Wesley's time. There is awhole section of the 1780 Hymn Book on 'backsliding'. Do you thinkthat is a good description of being drawn back into the "world"?Why do you think we no longer use the term much these days?
  • Are there times when you feel yourself being drawn back intothe 'world'? If so, what sorts of things pose that temptation?
  • Do you think that being involved in mission is an essentialpart of what it means to be a Christian? Why?
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