Called out and sent in

Study 27 – John 17v6-19 Jesus Prays For His Disciples.

We come now to the second in three studies in Jesus’ prayer recorded in John chapter 17 (for word doc click here). This section of the prayer is rich in teaching and significance for the 11 men listening to Jesus, and also to us.

1. Jim said in his sermon that “a distinguishing sign of authenticity in a disciple is that they respond to the word of God”. What has been the disciples’ response to the words of Jesus up until this point? If it is our response that defines us, how does this show itself in our lives?

2. How has Jesus revealed the Father to the disciples (v6 & 8)? What role do Jesus’ words, actions and character play in this revelation (compare John 14.9-11)? What aspects of the Father’s nature are about to be most clearly demonstrated in Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection?

3. John 14.8-10 shows us that Philip, for one, hasn’t figured out whom Jesus is revealing to them (they are beginning to get it by 16v30!). By contrast, in this passage Jesus speaks of his disciples as assured, confident, committed followers. What does Jesus see in his disciples that they don’t? What does this say to how he views us?

4. What have the disciples already learnt about Jesus’ identity (v7-8)? Taking Peter as an example, what more do they still have to learn (e.g. Acts 10.28 & Galatians 2.11-14)? How does Jesus’ strong affirmation of his work-in-progress disciples encourage us in our slow progress?

5. What is the relationship between the disciples and the world (v6, 14-18)? Like the disciples we are those who are “called out and sent in”, why does Jesus send his us into hostile territory?

6. Jesus has protected them by the name he has been given. How did the disciples demonstrate the power of Jesus’ name after Pentecost? How does the name of God protect us (v11 & 15; compare Psalm 54.1, Psalm 20.1)?

7. What does Jesus ask his Father do for his disciples in this passage? How should this shape our prayers for one another? Think of someone who is struggling and pray these truths for him or her in the prayer time.

Jesus’ view of his disciples differs markedly from how they see themselves – they are full of questions and doubts – he sees the seed of indestructible faith within them. Thanks to him, they are now new creations – no more a part of the rebellious fallen world then he himself. They have become aliens in a strange land, neither able to blend into their surroundings, or leave for a new home. They will always stick out like a sore thumb. Nevertheless, because of the protection of his Father, Jesus is fully assured of their eventual victory in overcoming the world, despite its continual opposition and hatred of them. This prayer certainly had a big impact on one disciple, who would never forget its teaching:

“In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1.3-5)”. Amen, come Lord Jesus, come.

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