“I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. My prayer is not for them alone. 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. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.” (John 17:9, 15–18, 20, NIV 1984).
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NIV 1984).
My Musings – It is a human trait that we often say things with equal passion and deep conviction that are contradictory. A first impression of the two passages above, quotes from the lips and heart of Jesus, that they are also contradictory. We might dismiss this as merely a manifestation of His fully human nature but not a reflection of His fully divine nature (perhaps we’ll discuss this apparent contradiction in a future musing). But we would be missing the point altogether.
In the first instance, Jesus speaks about protecting us from (insulated in) the evil one, while not praying that we be taken from (isolated from) the world. He is, in fact, intentionally sending us out into (included within) the world while not being part of (integrated into) the world. In sending us out as “aliens” into the world, He us sending out into hostile territory. There we will encounter natural dangers (curses of a fallen world) and be confronted by supernatural dangers (curses from a fallen angel).
Jesus does not pray that we be protected from natural dangers. Some He will prevent and some He will permit, according to His divine will. But not without eternal purposes. But He does pray for protection from supernatural dangers though a new divine nature (“if anyone is in Christ He is a new creation” – 2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV 1984) and indwelling by the Holy Spirit (“I will not leave you orphans” – John 14:18). This does not mean we will never give in or bow down to supernatural confrontations (temptation, persecution), but it does mean that we do not have to give in (“for the grace of God teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live upright and Godly lives in this present age” – Titus 2:12, NIV 1984).
My Advice – Just say no (by the grace of God).