John 17:6-19

It is both fascinating and convicting to read this prayer of Jesus.  His words echo emotions familar to all of us, yet His petitions are not necessarily what we would expect.  They are both comforting and discomforting at the same time.

What strikes me most about these verses is that Jesus does not ask God to provide the disciples with a smooth road going forward.  He did not ask the Father to prevent bad things from happening in their lives.  He did not ask that they be spared from suffering. 

Honestly, I might have understood if He had.  After all, He was preparing to lay down His life for all of them.  He loved them more than we can comprehend.  Wouldn’t He prefer that His suffering prevent theirs?

No, Jesus asked God to protect them in the midst of their hardship (John 17:11-12).  He did not ask that God isolate the disciples from those who hated them and sought their destruction (John 17:15).  Instead, He asked that they be strengthened to remain faithful regardless of the rejection they faced.

Jesus asked the Father to make them like Himself.

They do not belong to this world any more than I do.  Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth … And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.  (John 17:16-17,19, NLT)

Jesus set Himself apart so that we would be set apart. 

His holy sacrifice was not for our comfort.  It was for our salvation and our redemption.  It was so that we might be made righteous. 

I believe that is why He did not ask that the disciples be spared from hardship, for He Himself was “made perfect through suffering” (Hebrews 2:10).

And no servant is greater than his master (John 15:20).

Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins.  But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time … For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.  (Hebrews 10:11-12,14, NLT)