By Oscar M. Baker
"And now I am no more (or about to be no more) in the world, but these (the disciples) are in the world, and I come to Thee..." It isn't very long now until the Sacrifice will be made and He will again be with the Father.
"Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as We are" (John 17:11). Time after time in John's Gospel He has made it clear that He and His Father are one. One in purpose at least, and of course, I don't think anybody who knows science would deny that They are also one in essence, because the Father begets like. If the Father were God, then the Son would have to be God, although there are some who are ignorant of science that will try to argue otherwise.
"While I was with them in the world, I kept, them in thy name: those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition" (verse 12). Of course, I think you know that this is speaking of Judas Iscariot. We have the word "lost" and we have the word "perdition" here - a "son of perdition." A title that was used of anybody who suffered loss. The sons of Zebedee were a noisy lot, and they were called the sons of thunder. And so we have a Hebrew idiom like that, that in describing someone, call him a son of whatever that description was. We do know this, that without any question, no man suffered greater loss than Judas did. Ponder that awhile!
"And now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves" (verse 13). Now He wants these disciples to have joy. He also wants them to be apostles, sent ones, that they might finish a ministry, which He has started. And so I think we can say along with the apostle Paul, that there is a possibility of our finishing our course with joy. That is, the course of our lives, the course of our ministry for the Word, that we can finish that course with joy! Joy is one of the words that is rather peculiar to those who are Christians, those that belong to Christ. It is a word that goes a little bit beyond the word happy. You can be unhappy and still rejoice!
"I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil" (verse 15). They (the disciples) have a mission to perform, and they are in this sinful world. Some of this evil is going to rub off and will have to be cleansed. Nonetheless, He doesn't want them taken out of world until their mission is completed. And I feel that is true of every person who is actually in the service of God, in His will. He can feel relatively sure that he will not be taken out of the world until his mission is finished. But He does ask that they should be "kept from the evil." THAT IS A GREAT THING!
(For a complete rendering of this wonderful 17th chapter of John, ask for T.F.T. Gospel of John radio tape #10.)