Christ Asks God To Protect His Beloved Followers!
Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are.
John 17:11 (NLT)
“Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are.”
Jesus knew He would lose sight of His beloved followers for a season. Therefore, He was committing them to the care of the Father. Christ was asking that God would place His own name, the name of God, on each of his beloved followers. This would cause the Holy Spirit and the elect angels to view each of them as belonging to God—a most important distinction in the spirit realm.
From now on the believers are to be regarded by all the creation as belonging peculiarly to God, as being the special possession and charge of God. They always and in every circumstance are to remain under God’s specific protection. Whoever would harm them will find he attacking God.
But in that coming day
no weapon turned against you will succeed.
You will silence every voice
raised up to accuse you.
These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord;
their vindication will come from me.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
Isaiah 54:17 (NLT)
Let us imagine what the Lord Jesus was experiencing at this point.
Jesus was and is a man. We are not discussing now His almighty Divinity or Lordship but His manhood.
The man, the carpenter, was a human being in the fullest sense of the word. He was tempted in all points as we are. He felt what we feel.
Divine love and human love merged in the Adamic form. Jesus was of Adam, through Mary, although without sin in His personality.
Jesus felt as a person. These men and women were His treasure, His chief love except for His love for the Father. Both Divine and human love were present here.
At this point Jesus was laying down His human love and, by faith in the Father, preparing Himself for crucifixion and then for entering His Divine inheritance. He would see His beloved again, by the Word of God, but no longer as an Adamic human.
The human, the Adamic, was dying.
We can see the Lord as He approached this hour, going up into the mountains alone. He pictured His followers, His supreme treasures, more precious to Him than a thousand heavens, and His heart went out to them in human as well as Divine love. Now the human was to die. Adam was to die. Human affection was to die.
We see Him bowed under this weight, putting His hands on a rock, crying out in His agony, “God help me! God help me!” Adam was in his death throes.
Jesus was a young man with all of a young man’s passion. Now, He was entering death, not through a debilitating sickness or a painful accident but while in perfect health.
“I won’t see them again on earth as I am but in an unknown way. Will I really have them? Can I talk to them? Will they know me?”
Then He entered the Presence of God and the angels ministered to Him. His faith and trust in the Father were increased. He received the assurance He would know His beloved in a better, fuller, richer way after death. Nothing would be lost.
The Son of God and Son of Man agonized, and then His conquering joy returned. He came back down in the morning, rejoicing in the certain knowledge that soon He would have His beloved again—and this time for eternity.
Now He could say in joyous confidence, “Holy Father, keep through your own name those whom you have given me.”
A young man, Jesus was, with a young man’s heart. If this were not true He would not have been tempted in all the ways we are tempted. Let us never forget that. Through prayer and faith He was able to overcome the flesh.
Sometimes we are called upon to share Jesus’ sufferings. When we do, we know He understands and can feel what we are experiencing. Then we, through Him, can achieve victory by prayer and faith.
The expression “that they may be one, as we are” truly is an awe-inspiring thought. It would be difficult to find a more remarkable doctrine in the entire Scriptures.
Does Christ mean exactly what He is praying here?
We believe He does. He is praying that the members of His Body will be one in Christ in God as Christ is one with the Father.
How is Christ one with the Father?
Christ is of the Father’s Substance, Nature, Person, Spirit, will, and purpose—His entire Personality. Also, Christ is filled with all the Fullness of the Father. A more complete union is not possible.
We of the Church are being brought into and becoming an eternal part of that union, being of the same Substance and Nature, being filled with Christ and God in Him.
It is not possible that the members of the Body can become one while they have an Adamic nature. Our personalities are individualistic, abrasive, sinful, and rebellious. We can cooperate with one another to a limited extent, but after that we find ourselves preserving our privacy and independence.
Sometimes efforts are made, both in the secular and Christian realms, to break down this privacy. Through intense fellowship, communication, confession, and prayer, an attempt is made to bring a group into oneness.
Our opinion is that such efforts are premature, that they are an awakening of the Bride “before she please.” They may bring about a close union of people, but each person will be subject to the group opinion and possibly to a strong leader rather than to the Lord Himself.
Antichrist may seek such union among his followers.
The Lord prayed we would be one as He and the Father are one. This perfection of union with one another can come about only after each member has been brought into total union with Christ.
It is not that we arrive at union among ourselves and through this attain union with Christ and the Father. Rather, we arrive at union with Christ and the Father and through this union with God we attain union with one another.
Perhaps in time past we may have overlooked or ignored the startling statements of John Chapter 17 because they appear to be beyond us. Not only are they beyond us they are more marvelous than any idea that at any time has entered our thinking.
These statements, which have to do with our being incorporated into the union existing in the Godhead, startling and “impossible” as they are, are a part of God’s eternal Word. We always are to say yes and amen to God’s Word whether or not we can grasp it.
The Kingdom of God is found in union—the dwelling of the Father in Christ in people. People enter the Divine Oneness as the Lord prepares them for such a holy state. The love that binds the members of the Body together is Divine, fiery, intense. It is holy beyond all holiness. It brings us into union with God, Jesus, and one another.
If the Lord Jesus Christ has prayed that we be brought into union with one another in Christ in the Father, let us grow beyond our lesser understanding of redemption so we may lay hold on the greater. It is not that we lose what we already have attained; it is that we press into the fullness of union to which Christ has called us.
We do this by asking God to increase our faith until we are able to overcome all obstacles and gain the crown and throne God is offering to His victorious sons (Revelation 21:7).
We believe the spirit Paradise, Heaven, is a place of peace and joy—a welcome relief after our grief and dread in the present world. We believe also we will be given beautiful places of abode that will bring the greatest joy to us. We believe this, not because there is any mention of it in the Scriptures but because of dreams and visions the saints have had.
But then what?
Are we humans of such a nature we would be happy reclining eternally besides a flowing stream without any goal, any challenge, any areas of growth or success?
It does not appear that many of us have been created that way.
Also, what need will we have of a “mansion” after we have been clothed with a body like that of the Lord Jesus?
Our deepest desire is neither gold, nor silver, nor precious stones. These never can satisfy the human heart.
Our deepest desire is to enter the Person of our Father and into union with Christ and other people. We want to be with God, in God, acceptable to God, and never again separated from God. We want to be an eternal part of Jesus and to share with Him the people who are His inheritance.
Then, as Christ keeps on being enlarged throughout the universe for the eternity of eternities, we shall be enlarged with and in Him, and those who have become an integral part of us will be enlarged with us. This is the Kingdom of pure love that the Lord will bring with Him. The relationships among the members are eternal because they are not Adamic but of Divine Substance.
To love and guide the nations of the earth—this is the inheritance. We are being created the living Presence of God in Christ so that Christ in us can minister to other human beings. No other inheritance can compare with an inheritance consisting of people.
Christ will share the nations of the earth, which are His inheritance, with His coheirs.
Christ has given each of us into the keeping authority and power of His Father in Heaven. No person or spirit can force us from the Father’s hands. That keeping authority and power are bringing us into the Oneness that exists only in the Divine Godhead.
The Father’s House is Christ. We are being created individual rooms in the one eternal House.