John 17:11 – Protect them by the power of your name
This study belongs to the study ‘In my name – in the name of’.
Because this is an important text it is being discussed separately here.
In what is called the High Priestly Prayer, Jesus prays to His Father for the future of the disciples.
He says, among other things:
I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by (en = in) the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. (John 17:11)
What is Jesus asking?
While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. (John 17:12)
Jesus has finished His ministry in this world. He is about to be taken prisoner and to die on the cross. He will then rise from the dead and return to His Father in heaven.
He will therefore no longer be able to look after His disciples and all who believe in Him/trust in Him.
This is why Jesus asks His Father ‘to protect’ them in the future.
‘To protect’ is the translation of the Greek ‘tereo’, which means roughly:
- To attend to carefully, take care of
- to keep, one in the state in which he is.
Jesus transfers the future care for the disciples and for all who will believe/trust in Him to His Father and He asks Him to look after them: ‘by that name you gave me’.
Jesus asks His Father literally to be willing to take over the care of the disciples in the future, in the same way that He, Jesus, has kept watch over them.
How has God answered Jesus’ prayer?
As explained in the study ‘Matthew 5:17 – Jesus has fulfilled the law’, Jesus made clear the purpose of the laws of the Old Testament in His teaching.
God ensured that this teaching of Jesus was recorded:
- in the four Gospels
- in the Book of Acts
- and in the letters of Paul and others
To ensure that this teaching would be passed on even after He had gone, Jesus promised:
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 15:26)
The Holy Spirit:
- Who will convince the seeking soul. (John 16:8)
- Who pours out the love of God in the disciple’s heart, so that he/she will fulfil God’s will for his/her life voluntarily.
- As a result of which the disciple receives extra strength.
All this emanates from Jesus’ desire:
… that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.
May they also be in us
so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:21)
God has answered Jesus’ prayer and, as far as He is concerned, He has done everything Jesus asked Him to do.
The responsibility is now upon every individual believer to whom God gives the free choice:
- to live in the Name of Jesus
- as a disciple of Jesus
- in other words: to live in and on the basis of the authority of Jesus.
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John 17:11 – Protect them by the power of your name.