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John53 – In, but not from, the world

“I revealed your name to the men that you gave to me out of the world. They were yours, and to me you gave them, and they have kept your word.” (John 17: 6)
John, the first century eye-witness biographer of Jesus of Nazareth is continuing to recall the evening before Jesus’ AD 30 crucifixion in Jerusalem. Jesus, continuing to pray to his father above, recalls that the disciples commemorating the Passover with him that night, were actually given to him by the father. Even before that, they were the fathers. They have kept the father’s word - his over-arching purpose - by following Jesus, his son.

“Right now, they have known that all things whatsoever you have given to me are from you, because the messages that you gave to me I have given to them, and they themselves laid hold and knew truly that I came out from you, and they believed that you yourself sent me out.” 

“All things” given to Jesus included “messages” given from father to son and then given by son to disciples. These “messages” they received, and knew, and believed that Jesus came out from the father and was sent out by him. 

“I myself ask concerning them. I ask not concerning the world, but concerning those that you have given to me, because they are yours, and everything my own is yours, and yours my own, and I have been glorified in them.  And I am no longer in the world, and they themselves are in the world, and I come towards you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, that one you have given to me, in order that they may be one, just as we!” 

Jesus, although facing excruciating death within hours, asks the father “concerning those whom” the father had given to him – his disciples. They are the father’s; also, the son’s. Their response has brought glory to Jesus.

One single thing is requested. This is that the father actually will “keep them in” the “name” of the father which has been given also to Jesus. The name of a person identifies and encompasses all that person is, in every way. Jesus’ crucial desire is that the father keeps these followers in that same “name.” Those who are kept in that name by the father will have that name-likeness of the father. They are to be “one” with father and son in character and purpose.
“When I was with them, I myself was keeping them in your name, that one you have given to me, and I preserved and none from them has self-destroyed except the son of the destruction, in order that the scripture may be fulfilled.  In fact right now I come towards you, and these things speak  in the world in order that they may have my own joy fulfilled in themselves.”

Speaking still with his father Jesus twice used the verb “to fulfill”. In the first, the self-destruction of the seeming disciple Judas is recalled. At one and the same time, the ancient Scriptures of Israel (the Bible’s Old Testament) were fulfilled. In the second, Jesus, submitting to his own destruction to bless others, prays that his own joy will be fulfilled in those who followed him.

Can there be “joy” for Jesus at his Gethsemane, at his imminent criminal’s cross? It seems that his “joy” is that he has “kept them” in his name (the name of his father) in the midst of the self-destruction in the world. The “joy” which he asks to be “fulfilled” in them is that same joy of keeping and safeguarding others from self-destruction by self-sacrificial love towards those others. 

“I myself have given them your word, and the world hated them, because they are not from the world just as I myself am not from the world.  I ask not that you may take them from the world, but that you may keep them from the evil.  They are not from the world, just as I myself am not from the world.” 

Yes, this amazing man, Jesus, has, in every possible way, communicated the “word” of the father to his followers. Just as the world hated him for his disclosures, the world will hate them. But they are to stay in that world which hates them – and even die at the hands of those who hate them. They are truly to follow Jesus in order to make disciples of Jesus.


In short, they are “not from the world” but are one and the same with the father and the son in self-giving love towards those who will turn to Jesus.


“Render them holy in the truth! Your word is truth. Just as you sent me out into the world I also sent them out into the world, and on their behalf I myself render myself holy, in order that they also themselves may be rendered holy in truth.” 

They are rendered holy in truth in going into the hostile world with Jesus.

Sinner Syvret

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