Saturday in the Twenty-Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

John 17:6-10

Our Lord Prays Not for the World

Our Lord’s “High Priestly Prayer” only gets more beautiful.  It is beautiful because we learn here that our Lord’s interest is not in the world but in his people.  When I say “world,” I mean the world under sin and the dominion of the evil one, the world that rebelled against its Maker and was thus shattered.  To that world our Lord will one day say, “Depart from me, for I never knew you.”  But to those whom he calls out of the world, those whom the Father “chose in [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that [they] should be holy and blameless before Him,” whom He “predestined…for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace,” these He calls His Bride and prepares a new world for their glorious habitation (Ephesians 1:4-6).

Our Lord testifies in this prayer that he has manifested his name to those whom the Father “gave [him] out of the world.”  And then Jesus says, “Yours they were, and you gave them to me.”  In other words, these belonged to the Father before Jesus ever said to any one of them, “Follow me.”  Jesus makes it clear that the Father gave him these that he may give them the words that the Father gave him, so that they would believe that Jesus came from the Father and that all that he did and all that he said were from the Father.  In that the disciples believed this, Jesus again accomplished yet another task the Father gave him.

And then Jesus says, “I am praying for them.  I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.  All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.”  A priest prays for those who are his and no others.  No priest of the Old Testament ever offered sacrifices on behalf of the world but only on behalf of the people of Israel.  Likewise, though our Lord rules the world, he is High Priest only over the new Israel, his Church, that is, those for whom he died and now those for whom he prays, those whom the Father gave him out of the world.

Jesus prays for, Jesus intercedes for, those whom the Father gave him – and none else.  Do you not see the special care the Father has for you?  Do you not stop and wonder, “Why me?”  Do you not feel as deeply as anything you have ever felt before that you are so utterly unworthy of this love?  Do you not finally see that it is all of grace?  Jesus prays for you because the Father gave you to him; Jesus prays for you because he knows you; Jesus prays for you because he loves you.  Jesus prays for you; not the world.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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