“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.” (John 17:11-12)
Scripture Reading – Romans 8:29-39
Satan has been actively working to thwart God’s plan of redemption at every turn. After Satan was expelled from heaven, he committed himself to destroying humankind who were made in God’s image. Satan tempted Adam and Eve, so that they disobeyed God and sinned. And from that point onward, Satan has attacked every stage of God’s plan. Events such as the Flood, the sins of the Patriarchs, Israel’s disobedience in the wilderness, the pollution of temple worship, and the rejection of the Messiah were all efforts by Satan to undermine God’s plan. Satan worked extra hard to attack Jesus. When Jesus was born, he stirred up King Herod to kill all the young boys his age. He also tempted Jesus in the wilderness so that Jesus would worship Satan and not go to the cross. Even in the Garden of Gethsemane, Satan was there as Jesus prayed with tears of blood streaming down His face—but Jesus was victorious.
Now, Satan has turned His attention to us. Since he was not successful in thwarting God’s plan of salvation, he is now trying to keep us from spreading salvation to those in bondage to Satan. Satan is actively at work against us. He is called our adversary and is looking to destroy us. While Jesus was on earth, He protected His disciples. For example, they were safe in spite of the storms that fell on them as they sailed across the Sea of Galilee. Although they would experience weariness and struggles in ministry, they were safe from the Devil’s schemes, because they were in Jesus’ care. Even when Jesus was arrested, He protected His disciples so that none of them were arrested. Only Jesus was put on trial and crucified, because Jesus kept His disciples safe so that they could bear witness to the Resurrection.
Jesus is still protecting us through His intercession for us. Although Jesus is no longer physically present as He was with His disciples, He is involved in our situations through His prayers. His prayers for our protection is not so we can have a long and comfortable life but so we remain united as we are experiencing attacks from the Devil. The Devil knows that physical suffering doesn’t hinder the proclamation of the gospel. In spite of the great persecution experienced by the church throughout the ages, the gospel continued to go forward. But in times of prosperity and peace, it’s easy to be tempted by the world, rather than obeying Christ. When we are attacked from without, it can bring us together. When we are attacked from within, it can divide us. Jesus doesn’t pray that we will be safe from our enemies; He prays that we will be one so that the proclamation of the gospel won’t be destroyed by disunity. Our unity not only reflects the spiritual truth of the oneness of the Father and the Son, but it’s essential for our witness to the world.
Jesus is still praying for the protection of His disciples, although He knows the power of prayer. His intercession is effective, because His prayers are in accordance with the Father’s will. Therefore we can have great confidence knowing that we are more than conquerors through Christ who gives us strength. Are you one with other disciples?