Today’s Scripture: John 17:13-19
13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.
Our scripture today is part of a prayer that Jesus prayed just before his arrest and subsequent crucifixion. In many Bibles it’s call “Jesus’ Final Prayer”. What’s interesting is that Jesus focuses his final prayer on the needs of his disciples – and us.
There is one phrase in today’s selection that always stops me cold: “I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.” There are two important lessons here, I think.
First, no matter how much we might want to be out of the world – we are in it. If you are like me then these past few election drama-filled weeks have made me fantasize about living in some remote place off the grid! But more than that – living in this world just seems off for Christians doesn’t it? It makes one want to sequester and not be a part. But it seems pretty clear that Jesus wants us in the world.
Second, Jesus is asking God to protect us from evil and the evil one. Think about this. Jesus himself is praying that we will be protected from the evil one. There is absolutely nothing to fear from evil. Jesus already has us covered. So living in the world is not something to be afraid of but rather something to feel secure in.
The week ahead might make us want to run to the hills. But we are in the world for a reason – to be salt and light – to be the presence of Christ. And that means we have nothing to fear.
God forgive us for wanting to remove ourselves from the world when you want us in it. As we live in the world help us to do so without fear.