Protect Them (9-11-22)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 81:1-4
Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob!
Begin the music, strike the timbrel, play the melodious harp and lyre.
Sound the ram's horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival;
this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
Bible Reading: John 17:6,9,11-12,15
I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. I pray for them.
I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.
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.
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
Most parents are concerned for their children, caring for them, protecting them, and providing for them, not just when they are small, but also after they have left home and then throughout their lives. Where they are unable to do this, guardians are appointed to continue the parenting role. This provision often goes on beyond death by means of a parent’s last will and testament.
I think there is something like this going on here between Jesus and his disciples. Jesus is about to leave his disciples. He has arranged for the Holy Spirit to come to act as guardian in his place and to equip them for the job in hand. Then he gave them some final instructions to love one another as he has loved them and now he is sorting out their protection, ‘Holy Father, protect them.’
Up until this time Jesus has protected them as a parent or guardian would protect their children. Now it is time that they flew the nest. But it is a dangerous world out there and they still need protection. So he prays for them.
I wonder who you are concerned about today. Who do you know who needs God’s protection? Whether they are young or old, will you pray for them as Jesus prayed for his disciples? ‘Heavenly Father, protect them’.
Protection is only as good as the decisions we take. Judas Iscariot chose to turn away from Jesus and stepped out from under God’s protection. May we always walk under the umbrella of God's protection.
The world can be a dangerous place, especially if you are preaching the Good News of Jesus in a hostile culture as the disciples went on to do. All but John were eventually martyred for their faith.
Let us remember to pray for those whose faith in Jesus puts their lives at risk each day.
Thank you Jesus that you are in heaven, praying for my protection.
I lift before you those I know who need your protection and those I don’t know who serve you in hostile situations.
He will hold me fast