This shouldn’t be happening to me!

John 17 v 6-26

For 3 years Jesus and his disciples journeyed together. He had formed them into a band of love. They had shared their hearts, laughed, cried, travelled, worked and argued. Now literally only hours away from Jesus being taken from them, he prays for them.

When Jesus prays He is praying the Father’s will. He is not twisting His Father’s arm. He is not hoping the Father will do what He prays. He prays the answer. When you hear the prayer you hear the promise.

Over the next few days we will see the promises that are in the prayer of Jesus.

Jesus is our protector.

Simeon lived in around the year 390AD and was the pioneer of what was known as the Stylite Saints, a group of extreme monks.

Simeon first lived in a commune but he needed to get away from it all so moved to a solitary life.

But even living on his own he found he was still being distracted from God by his world.

So he lived on a hill tied to an iron chain for 5 years.

But still he wanted to be closer to God and away from it all.

So he built a pedestal and lived on it for 2 years.

Still it wasn’t good enough, so he built a column and then a higher column and then a higher column.

But still he needed to be away from his world so he had a 50 foot column built and he lived on it for the last 30 years of his life. He died having found a way of escaping from his world.

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it (v15-16).

“This shouldn’t be happening to me.” Ever thought that?

The world with all of its problems; the sickness, heartache, disappointments, the greed, pressure, accusations, it is all around us. We live in that world and Jesus prays, ‘Father, don’t take them out of those conditions.”

Do you think of escaping sometimes? Do you fancy building a column?

We do need those quiet, alone times with God, to be still, to silence the noise of our world and to worship Him.

But the world we are called to live in is a world of hunger and pain, the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head, there are times for jumping in the boat and sailing into the storm and times for jumping out of the boat and walking on the water. Tough days are part and parcel of life. You were never meant to withdraw from the pain.

Jesus prayed that we would live in the world and that means facing troubles but with Him.

V11-12 “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.”

A news app that I have has a story of an American Pastor who has kept his church services going through the covid-19 crisis because “the virus will not kill you.” The truth is it does and it has and it will. Whether or not you’re a follower of Jesus or not, the protection that Jesus prays for is not the protection over not dying.

Hebrews 11 v37 “Some (believers) were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were put to death by the sword.” Three horrendous types of death.

Some of the followers of Jesus get promoted to glory like Elijah, who just walked away and no one ever saw him again.

Some go the way of Stephen and become martyrs of the faith.

Some go the way of Covid-19 etc.

So where is the protection?

It is from the destruction not the disease. The followers of Jesus have a home that is protected. The enemy will never touch your eternal status.

Jesus has already told the disciples that they are going to face trouble in the world. In a few days he would be telling Peter that he would be crucified.

However, nothing, not even the schemes of Satan can damage our eternal security. Those who die in the faith die in hope and die in peace. There is no fear of what might happen when we close our eyes. The first person we see when we open them is Jesus.

That is our protection. That is what Jesus prayed. What a beautiful promise this is!

So don’t bother building a column. It will all be okay. You can face your world.

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