He knew. Yes, Jesus knew that the next several hours, the days ahead would be really hard for the apostles. Satan would throw everything but the kitchen sink at them to make them doubt all they had come to believe about Jesus. They would have reason to be fearful, run away, and hide following Jesus’s arrest and crucifixion.
The question was: Would their faith hold firm?
We know the end of the story, but they don’t, not right now—not in this garden of sorrow and despair. For this reason, Jesus prays so they will hear and eventually realize why he did. Listen to these words, as we continue in John 17:
All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 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 the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.John 17:10-12 (NIV)
Jesus had accomplished all the Father required, and even these rough-on-the-edges men had brought glory to Christ, because they believed, followed, and would be the core group of the global Church-to-come.
Now he was leaving them…but, he chose to leave them in God’s hands.
Oh, how they needed protection. Jesus knew it, but he also knew that they had something now they did not have before knowing him—they had his name.
What did he ask the Father? To protect them by the power of the name that he had given him.
What kind of power did that name have?
- The power to save his people from sins.
- The power to make the devil flee.
- The power to heal and cast out demons.
- The power to bring every knee to bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
That name, the name of the Jesus they knew, would be the thing that kept them unified through thick and thin. While he was with them, he protected them by that same name.
God the Father gave his only begotten Son the name Jesus for a reason, because it represented who he was from all eternity. Jesus, the Savior, the Christ, Immanuel — God with us.
If God is for us, who can be against us?
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:31, 35-39 (NIV)
Paul got what the apostles would soon grasp—nothing protects like the name of Jesus.
Grace and Peace