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The Lord’s Prayer: The Apostles and the World

The Lord’s Prayer: The Apostles and the World

How could the apostles live in the world without the Son’s physical presence? Doesn’t the Son care about them? As we continue to observe the communication between divine persons, we learn that individuals, yourself included, are precious to God, being possessions of the Father and the Son. He has given us the means of living for God in the absence of Christ in the key phrase, “Thy word is truth”. The word of God is the vehicle that God uses to set us apart as we live in the world.

John 17:6-19

  • V1-5 – The Son and Glory

  • V6-19 – The Apostles and the World

  • V20-26 – The Believers of the Apostolic Word

V6-19 – The Apostles and the World

V6-13 – Possessions given to the Son

V6 says that the apostles were possessions given to the Son from the Father. To be consistent, verses 6-19 are primarily concerned with the apostles only. This verse gives a divine side to Luke 6:12 when the Lord prayed all night before choosing twelve apostles. It was not that the Son chose the twelve on a certain day in Luke 6, but in eternal counsel, the Father had already selected the twelve out of the world and gave them to the Son. It is amazing that any human would be given to the Son from the Father.

We should not pass over that the name of the “Father” was manifested to them. God was known in the OT as Yahweh, Adonai, El Shaddai, etc., but that God could be our Father was a new revelation. An intimate relationship can be had with the Father through the Son because of the Spirit of adoption (Rom 8:14-15).

The twelve learned that the Son lived totally dependent upon the Father (See also John 3:31-34). Verse 8 says they knew this through His sayings. The things that the Son taught were from the Father. In John 7:16-17 He says, “My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me.” As the dependent servant of the Lord, Jesus Christ communed with the Father, saying “The Lord GOD hath opened Mine ear” (Isa 50:5). His teaching was authoritative, unlike others. The apostles received it, knowing that the Lord came from the Father and was sent by Him.

This intercessory prayer of the Lord is priestly in character and concerns those that He is representing – “them which Thou gavest Me.” First, noticing the end of the verse, the Son is faithful to tell of how they are seen in Him. “I have been glorified in them” (YLT). We ought to be encouraged that this is how the Son spoke of the failing and faltering disciples: He saw them in virtue of the blood He was about to shed. They were His and they were the Father’s, so He could be glorified in them.

There was the threat of disharmony facing the Son’s possessions. Arguments ensued in the Upper Room about who should be the greatest (Lu 22:24). The sanctifying power of the Father would be able to unite the apostles and so the Son says “Holy Father.” The prayer is for their unity in purpose, just as the Father and Son. This was seen in Acts 2:1, 11, 41-42, and was threatened but maintained in Acts 15. 

There was one possession that would be lost: the son of perdition. It should be made clear that Judas was never saved and subsequently lost since there is no sign of repentance or evidence of faith in any encounter with him. It cannot be that he was elected to be saved and perished, for this is impossible and robs God of His sovereignty. The context implies He was elect to the apostleship, but stepped into the role of the son of perdition willingly, in the purposes of God to fulfill the scripture of Psalm 41:9, and perhaps also Psalm 109:8. 

As the Lord departed with the shadow of the cross on His mind, He was selflessly concerned with the joy of the apostles. “These things” are what He taught them in chapters 13-16. His final activity of teaching was complete for the purpose of His joycontinuing in the world with the apostles even though He was going to the Father.

V14-19 – Preservation in the World by the given Word

What would the Father use to preserve the apostles? The final verses of the section set a great emphasis on the sanctifying power of the word of God, which protects any believer in the world. Properly learning and applying the word of God will set us apart in the world. The apostles were, as we are, possessors of the word of God, but hated by the world because they were not of the world (See Jn 15:19). Yet though hated by the world, we are to be in the world. The Lord desires that we would be in the world for the time being, and preserved. The Scriptures teach sanctification, not isolation. There’s a reason that we are in the world and should fulfill the expectation that the Father has us: A set apart life from the world unto God.

To be in the world but not of the world demands that the sanctifying power of the word of God take root in our hearts. Do I glean truth, or do I reserve it for pastor/teachers? Each one of us must be learning and applying the truth of God to our hearts daily in order to survive in hostile territory. Truth must be gleaned from the word of God. 

The Scriptures were vital in the Son’s life, as is evident from the wilderness temptation in Luke 4 and Matthew 4. The truth of the Scriptures would be integral to the apostles who were sent by Christ. He would set Himself apart by fulfilling the mission on which He was sent, to be the Saviour of the world through a sacrificial death. Because of this, the apostles would effectively be set apart in their work through the truth of the word of God. God too will set us apart in our purposes through His Holy Word.

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