6You have given me some followers from this world, and I have shown them what you are like. They were yours, but you gave them to me, and they have obeyed you. 7They know that you gave me everything I have. 8I told my followers what you told me, and they accepted it. They know I came from you, and they believe you are the one who sent me. 9I am praying for them, but not for those who belong to this world. My followers belong to you, and I am praying for them. 10All I have is yours, and all you have is mine, and they will bring glory to me.
11Holy Father, I am no longer in the world. I am coming to you, but my followers are still in the world. So keep them safe by the power of the name you have given me. Then they will be one with each other, just as you and I are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost, except the one who had to be lost. This happened so that what the Scriptures say would come true.
13I am on my way to you. But I say these things while I am still in the world, so my followers will have the same complete joy that I do. 14I have told them your message. But the people of this world hate them, because they don't belong to this world, just as I don't.
15Father, I don't ask you to take my followers out of the world, but keep them safe from the evil one. 16They don't belong to this world, and neither do I. 17Your word is the truth. So let this truth make them completely yours. 18I am sending them into the world, just as you sent me. 19I have given myself completely for their sake, so they may belong completely to the truth.
This passionate prayer shows the tremendous love and care that Jesus had for his disciples. He prayed to his Father that these disciples might be kept, protected and held together in unity. He was concerned that they would be discouraged by his death and so he asks his Father to give them the gift of joy. Jesus knew that it would now be up to his disciples to spread the good news of the gospel throughout the world.
He knew also that the enemy of God would employ evil tactics to try and dissuade them from spreading this good news. Jesus passionately asks his Father to protect them from the evil one.
You and I have been given the same commission. We, like the disciples, have been deputized to go into all the world and bring the good news of the gospel. We should take courage that this prayer that Jesus prayed reaches down through the centuries to us as his modern day disciples. He cares as much about you and me in the 21st century as he did about his disciples in the first century.
Don’t lose hope. Don’t give up and don’t give in. Our actions, our attitudes and our words proclaim the truth of the same message that Christ brought to this earth through his incarnation. Be strong. Be bold. Don’t compromise. Be aware that that same spirit that was in Christ Jesus is also in you and me and that through us he loves the world.
Lord, may we carry the same mandate as your first century disciples in bringing the good news of the gospel to the world in which we live. Protect us from discouragement and distraction. Keep our minds singularly focused on you.