“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.” (John 17:11-19 ESV)
When you were little, did your parents ever do the bedtime monster hunt for you? That’s when your parent looks under the bed, and then in the closet, and behind the door, and in the dresser, and anywhere at all that the child thinks a monster could possibly be lurking. That way, you know you’re safe—after all, Mom and Dad have just checked—and you can go right to sleep without worrying.
Jesus is doing something similar in this high priestly prayer of His. It is the night before His death, and He is praying for His disciples. He is entrusting them to God the Father, knowing that God will take care of them even as Jesus goes to the cross to suffer, die, and be buried. It will be a scary time for them—and even after the resurrection, it will never be quite the same as when they saw Jesus walking with them, visibly, tangibly, every single day. Jesus wants them to know that He has planned for this. They are in God’s hands, and all the arrangements are made. They are safe. Nothing has been overlooked.
Jesus could have prayed silently. Or He could have prayed somewhere else—in Gethsemane, where the only ones to hear Him fell asleep so quickly. But He wanted us to hear and know that we are safe—that God holds us in His hands, and that Jesus Himself is sending us out into the world as His witnesses. As He said, “These things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.”
We are not forgotten. You are not forgotten—no matter what you are suffering or how deep the darkness is around you. Jesus was praying for you when He prayed for His people. Just as He died for you and rose again for you, so He also made plans for you—that you would be safe from the evil one, and grow in God’s care until you reach the fullness of joy He has planned for you and all His people.
Prayer: Lord, help me to trust in Your loving care. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Reprinted with permission from Lutheran Hour Ministries
1. How do you reassure a child who is nervous about being away from family?
2. What specific things do you hear in this prayer that are reassuring to you?
3. When you are afraid, how do you seek comfort from the Lord?