Lesson 98

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name. Those whom you have given me I have kept. None of them is lost, except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 17:13 But now I come to you, and I say these things in the world, that they may have my joy made full in themselves. 17:14 I have given them your word. The world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17:15 I pray not that you would take them from the world, but that you would keep them from the evil one. 17:16 They are not of the world even as I am not of the world. 17:17 Sanctify them in your truth. Your word is truth.

 Today's Lesson 

In continuing His prayer to the Father, Jesus turns to the issue of His disciples. He has kept them in the name of the Father. The Father gave them to Him as a sovereign choice and Jesus has protected them and revealed the Father to them. All that the Father has given to Him He has kept.


There is one that was not kept in the Father's name. Jesus calls this person "the son of perdition," or said in another way, the son of hell or son of the devil. Judas Iscariot is the son of perdition. This discussion began as he departed the upper room into the night to betray Jesus. It was said at that time that Satan entered him. The scripture is fulfilled because Judas was not one of those chosen by God and given to the Son. We do not know what motivated Judas, although there is no end of speculation and everyone has some opinion in the matter.


Jesus does not dwell on the betrayer. His prayer concerns those who have recently expressed their faith in Him. He says that He is saying these things while He is in the world so that His disciples might have the fullness of His joy. He wants them to know that He is proud of them and optimistic about their future. His death will not be the end of their faith. They will have sorrow, but their sorrow will turn to joy. They will have trials, but they will overcome just as He will overcome.


Because Jesus had revealed the Father to them and they had believed, they had been taken from the kingdom of darkness and entered the kingdom of light. They were no longer of the world. They had entered a new state of existence. The world will hate them now because they are no longer of the world. They are members of God's kingdom.


Jesus does not pray that they be taken out of this world. His purpose is that His people remain in this world. He has strengthened them and will be with them. His purpose is that they be His witnesses in the world just as He was a testimony to His Father. His prayer is that they be kept from "the evil one." He is praying that none of these become a "son of perdition" like Judas. Jesus continues to pray for us even today, just as He did for these disciples at this time.


His most powerful request in this section is found in verse 17. "Sanctify them in your truth. Your word is truth." The truth is a potent weapon. The devil is the "father of lies" and Christ is full of "grace and truth." God would have us to know the truth if we are willing to hear it. The truth brings freedom. We are enslaved by the lies that we believe. Just as Moses begged for freedom for his people from the Pharaoh, Jesus had come to set His people free.


And, we are sanctified by the truth. To be sanctified is to be set aside as holy, for God's use. A sacrifice was sanctified. Certain tools and vessels used in the temple were sanctified before using them in holy ceremony. In the same sense, the truth prepares us and sets us aside for God's use. We understand the truth; God prepares us for action. The truth is not for our amusement or so that we might feel superior to those who have not received revelation. The truth is a call to sacrifice and service.


Many people spurn the truth because they do not desire either sacrifice or service. They only seek truth as a benefit or glory for themselves. As a result, all that they hear are lies, because that is all that they seek. We must be willing to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice before the truth will penetrate our hearts. Our desire must be to learn of the holiness of God.


Are you sanctified by the truth of God? Is there a passion for holiness and service in your life?


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