Saturday, July 30, 2011

Were Jesus' Prayers Answered: Protection

Part 2 in a 5 Part Series

In the previous post in this series, we started looking at Jesus’ prayer in John 17.  I cannot imagine that Jesus’ prayers would ever go unanswered, and yet some of the things He prayed over the disciples and us as believers according to verse 20 don’t seem to be so, but like many of our prayers, I think Jesus’ prayers were answered, just not the way we’d expect.

One of those prayers is in verse 15: “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (John 17:15)

Do you feel like you’re being protected from the evil one?  Or do you keep reading Job over and over telling yourself God is trying to prove something about you to Satan by letting him have his way with you?

But what we overlook a lot of the time is that Job was never in any danger from Satan.  God is the one who brings him up in conversation with Satan: "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil" (Job 1:8), and after Satan’s initial onslaught, God again says, “"Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason." (Job 2:3)

God never had any intention of giving Job up or letting Satan do anything that was going to endanger him. 

How can I say that?  I promise I’ve read Job and know all about the horrible things that happened to him, but I don’t think God’s protection is all about having a comfortable life with no suffering.  I think God’s protection is summed up in what Jesus prays a couple of verses earlier in John 17: “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 17:12)

Judas was considered as “unprotected” and lost to the evil one.  Satan’s greatest weapon against us has nothing to do with suffering or hard circumstances in life.  Even with Job, the enemy wasn’t trying to make him miserable; he was trying to make Job curse God and die.  Satan’s only weapon against us is to get us to sin.  And you can bet he will use suffering and pain to do it.

But Jesus prayed that we would be protected from falling into Satan’s hands.  The disciples said and did some things that Jesus called them out on as sin, but He said that He had protected them by the name God gave Him—Yeshua or Yahweh Saves—and it is by that name that we are protected too, not because of any measure of perfectness on our part; rather we are protected by the perfectness of Yahweh who saves us: our strong tower, our shield, our deliverer.

Praise God!

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