Protection

“ I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth. (John 17:11-19)

Joy is not the same as happiness. Joy lasts longer and runs deeper: it’s happiness on steroids. Jesus prayed that his disciples—you and I—would have the joy Jesus had. Jesus was God, creator of the universe and owner of a bunch of cattle on a bunch of hills–so that’s some good joy.

On the night Jesus was betrayed, he told his Father that he was “no longer in the world.” He knew that he was about to die. So he focused on those who would remain in the world after he was gone: his disciples. Jesus did not pray that they would become wealthy, have power and fame, or live in big houses. He asked for something better: that they would be protected, not from poverty or pain, but from the Evil One. Jesus asked that they would be “sanctified.”

What does “sanctified” mean? It means to be devoted to God and his purposes. Sanctification isn’t just a matter of righteousness, which comes from God. Sanctification means that they would do God’s work and be used for God’s purposes, whatever those purposes might be.
You are devoted to God. You belong to him. You are his property, his prized possession. Watch and see what wonderful things he’ll do with you.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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