KEPT – BY THE POWER OF HIS NAME!
“‘I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.
“‘I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.
“‘While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by the name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.'” John 17:9-12 NIV.
What a power-packed prayer! Not much asking — in fact only one request, but nevertheless full of assurance and affirmation!
What can we learn from Jesus’ prayer?
The first thing I notice is that this was a Son talking to His Father, expressing His confidence in and submission to the Father — not begging, cajoling, bargaining, demanding or manipulating. This is Jesus, Son of God, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, communing with His Abba in the language of intimacy and trust.
Secondly, Jesus expressed His oneness with the Father. Everything they owned, they shared. The men whom Jesus loved and trained for three years belonged to the Father, given to Jesus as a sacred trust. During His earthly life He protected them by the power of God’s name.
Where did the idea come from that is bandied about in many parts of the church today that we must “plead the blood of Jesus” over our loved ones and possessions, when the Bible teaches us that we are kept by the power of God’s name? Unlike us humans who blindly follow the error of others because it sounds good, Jesus knew the Scriptures!
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10 NIV.
Everything that God is, is in His name; His character and His attributes are represented by His name. To invoke the name of God is to call on His love, mercy, grace and power to intervene on our behalf. When Moses requested to see God’s glory, God revealed His name.
“Then Moses said, ‘Now show me your glory.’ And the Lord said, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.'” Exodus 33:18, 19 NIV.
From what was Jesus praying that His disciples be protected?
We erroneously think that the devil is our worst enemy. If that were true, we would be helpless victims of his wicked schemes. No, we are our own worst enemy because there are in our old, selfish natures the seeds of self-destruction. We have the power to choose. God has given us His nature (2 Peter 1:4) but it is our responsibility to nourish that nature through faith in His promises. We are transformed into His image by gazing at Him (2 Corinthians 3:18) and contemplating His glory – His name.
Kept – by the power of His name – not some external power descending on us from above but the power of God’s nature wrought in us and at work in us by the Holy Spirit that makes us immune to the deception of the devil because we know the truth and can discern his lies.
Thirdly He was one with the Father in their nature and in their purpose to redeem mankind through His death. He would not deviate from the Father’s plan no matter what the cost. It was His passion that His disciples become one as He and the Father are one because, in that unity was the power to witness to the world that He was no self-appointed upstart but that He had come from the Father.
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:20-21
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.