God wants His disciples to be set apart from the world


John 17:6-15

Jerry A. Collins



How should we pray for one another?

Why should we pray for one anothers sanctification?

What kind of relationship should we have with the world?


The body of Christ is like nothing else in all of the world. It is a spiritual organism united by the common bond of faith in the work of Christ on the cross as the means of salvation. Everyone enters into this spiritual organism the same way. No connections, no advantages, no earning your way in. Once in, we have responsibility for one another not authority over each other. That makes us different from the clubs, the teams, the committees, the marketplace of this world. We are not clamoring for status or power on this side of the grave. We are serving one another, praying for one another. Jesus models this one another ministry when he prays for his disciples. What did he pray for them? How should we pray?


Now Jesus turns his attention to the disciples.

6 (1) He asserts manifesting the Father’s name to them. In one sense the name represents the person so Jesus is saying that he has fully revealed who God is and what he is like. If you want to glimpse the Father then look at his Son’s teaching, values, prayers. (2) These were given out of the world. Altho Jesus gave himself for the whole world, he did not choose the whole world. He chose disciples out of the world. It is these he is praying for. I should live and pray for those God has chosen out of the world. (3) Jesus did not teach them some vague ideas but the very Words of God. He took that Word and gave it to the disciples. A process we must continue to do today. They kept that Word. I should define discipleship as giving the Words of God to those willing to receive the Words of God.

7-8 Only now have the disciples begun to understand. The idea is that they have now entered into a state of knowledge. In 14:8-10 for instance, the disciples did not understand the uniqueness of the rela between Father and Son. Jesus affirms here with the coming of the hour, that they are finally beginning to understand. The reason why they understand that the source of everything Jesus has received is the Father is because Jesus faithfully communicated all of the Words he had received from the Father. So this is the process—know, understand, believe. Matt 13 the good soil is those who understand. James says do not be just a hearer but s doer of the Word. And what bridges the gap between hearing, knowing and doing is understanding. That leads to faith. So pray for those you are discipline to understand the Word of God not just have knowledge of it. This leads to keeping that Word.


9 Jesus now specifies that his prayer is for the disciples, not for those in the world. So our prayers are not for the world they were chosen out of but for those chosen out of it. We continue to try to fix the world. But Jesus asks for those who have been called out of it. These are the ones God has a special interest in since they are His. They belong to the Father. He is interested in His people. And these have been given to Jesus.

10 Once again, Jesus affirms that everything that belongs to Him also belongs to the Father and vice versa. The additional thot is of ‘glory’. In what sense has Jesus been glorified in His disciples. His glory was manifested to them in all of His sign-miracles; in all of the teaching they have received as from the Father; in the resurrection as they carry on his ministry after his departure.

11 Even tho Jesus is still in the world, his departure from it is so near he can speak here as if he has already left the world—doing so to contrast his own mission with that of the disciples who are still in the world. In vs 6 Jesus said the disciples had kept the Father’s word. Now he prays that the Father would keep them during and after his departure from them since he is coming to the Father. There is going to be a change of guardianship for these men. Jesus kept these men by the same resource which he now asks the Father to keep them by, in the Fathers name. That name stands for all of the resources, power, wisdom and glory attached to that name. I kept them, Jesus says, by that resource. Now you keep them, Father, by the same. The record we have shows how difficult this task was for Jesus. He had to rebuke them, correct them, spend nights praying for them. They were threatened by quarrels, schism division and strife. But he had kept them in unity by the resources associated with the name of his Father. The ultimate object was the unity of the disciples. A unity compared to that of the Father and the Son. The trinity is in sharp contrast with all the polytheistic religious ideas where all the gods fought, competed. Also in contrast with pantheism where everyone is self-focused—trying to get rid of karma or something. Religions like rabbinical Judaism, Islam, JW’s have no trinity to exhibit a perfect unity. So this unity is seen when we all agree—like the disciples did—not with each other but agreement with God by agreeing with the apostles.

12 Jesus point is discipleship includes keeping and guarding so they do not perish. Jesus did this by protecting them from the world—from the Pharisees, Sadducees, rabbis, priests, scribes. He also did this until the end of his life. Their protection was not a short-term program. By necessity, then, Jesus focused on a few not the crowds. I should see discipleship as guarding and keeping those I disciple as long as I am able to do so. It is not a program or set of material covered so I can press on to somebody else. It is a life-time commitment to the few God has given me out of the crowds of the world. The only one lost was the son of perdition vs 12. Judas never did belong to this group. Judas betrayal and defection is predicted in the OT—Psa 41:9 mentioned in Jn 13:18.


Jesus, tho coming to the Father, yet still in the world speaks for the comfort of the disciples. This joy is the one Jesus had with the Father that he possessed as a man or sorrows and acquainted with grief. I should help my disciples seek a godly not an earthly joy. They will probably be looking for joy from their family, friends, toys, money. It is not that these will not bring lasting joy, they won’t bring the kind Jesus is talking about at all. Not outward circumstances but inner confidence that I am living out the truth of the plan of God in life.


The Word separates you from the world and that is what Jesus said he gave them. The disciples are not of the world now in sense that their allegiance was to Jesus—like Jesus whose allegiance was to the Father. So they need the Father’s protection as they remain here.

15 This is Satan’s world. Not that they be taken out of it—this would prevent their basic calling to start the church by making disciples. So I should not think that the solution to the temps my disciples will face is to take them out of the world. This would eliminate the laboratory in which they grow, mature and minister. The significant thing is that they be kept from influences and pitfalls of the devil since this laboratory is operated by him.

(1) The process of discipleship seems to go from knowledge to understanding to faith, then more knowledge, understanding, faith and so on.

(2) As disciples of Christ, we should never expect to agree with the world nor the world to agree with us about moral issues.

(3) We are hated because we proclaim things opposite of world—homo, evolution.