Read John 17
Sometimes things make better sense when they are being explained to someone else. Jesus prayed to his Father in heaven but even in his petitioning his Father, the disciples gained understanding of what was to come and their part in it.
Jesus said that he was present with those whom the Father had granted to him to follow him for his ministry on the earth. They had received everything that the Father gave them through Christ Jesus.
The disciples believed in Jesus. He is the Son of God. He is Messiah. He is Christ. He is holy and anointed and these men followed him wherever he led, even when it looked like certain death was in store.
All of these disciples had made it to this point, except the one who was needed to betray Jesus and set his trip to the cross in motion. God the Father and Jesus the Son would be glorified shortly, but Jesus wanted these few men to be a part of his glory and know the joy of doing the Father’s will.
Jesus would return to the Father. The baton would be passed to these few men. The Spirit would be with them but they would build the church that we know today. They would take the love of God that we know in Christ Jesus to the world.
Jesus had called these men friends. He loved them dearly for about 3 years. He wanted them to know what it was like to do the things that the Father desired for them in his heart.
There would be challenges and persecution, they would be expelled from synagogues, they would be hated, but they would be doing the will of the Father in heaven.
Jesus did not ask his Father to take their missions away from them and extract them from the world. He asked for protection as Jesus sent them into the world.
In the sending, they would know joy. It’s a feeling and a comfort that few know. To be sent in harm’s way doing exactly what you know to do produces a satisfaction that you can’t get in your 9 to 5 gig. It’s about living with purpose. It’s about seeing obstacles in your path and knowing God will give you a way through, over, around, or something yet to be revealed to you.
Jesus wants these men to charge into battle and do what he commissioned them to do, but he wants his Father to protect them from the Evil One. The good news was headed to the world. These few men were being prepared to go boldly.
They will face danger but they will have the protection of the Father. They will be accompanied by the Spirit, and they will know the joy of doing exactly what Jesus commissioned them to do.
They will be sanctified for their most unique purpose. They truly will be on a mission from God. Everything that they had observed, been taught, had explained over and over again, or already knew from holy scripture would shape them for their purpose.
They were being sanctified as apostles, men who would be sent into the world once Jesus had ascended to the Father and the Spirit had come.
As we look at this prayer and what Jesus has asked his Father to do, let’s considered that this very prayer was answered. We are evidence of that answer.
These men carried the good news of life in Jesus Christ to the world and sent forth others on the same mission.
Each of you is fruit of this prayer being answered.