"I Pray for Them ..."
Scripture Reading — John 17:6-19
“They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.”
—John 17:16 —
Jesus is about to be crucified, but he’s not concerned about himself. He’s concerned about his disciples.
Jesus has been preparing his followers for what will soon hap-pen, but he knows they do not understand much of what he has said. He knows that his arrest and then his crucifixion will shake their faith in him. He also knows that, even with their faith strengthened after his resurrection, they will face a hostile world. So Jesus prays for them.
Jesus notes that he is praying not for the world but for his disciples. He knows that the only hope for the world is that it change, that it cease to be self-absorbed and recognize him as Lord. And the world will need the testimony of Jesus’ followers in order to do that.
We disciples are not to affirm the world’s values but to chal-lenge them. We are not to help the world meet its goals; we are to present to the world God and his goals.
Jesus prays that just as he glorified his Father by the way he lived and died, so we might glorify him today. He prays that we may be protected and made holy as he sends us out into the world.
May we glorify you today, Jesus, by all we say and do. May we love this world as you do, challenging its people and in-stitutions to recognize you as Lord. Protect us, Lord, and help us to serve you faithfully. Amen.