Friday of Easter VII – John 17:11b-19 

11 …Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

In I Samuel, after he slays Goliath, it says that David is befriended by Jonathan, the son of King Saul. They became fast friends and Jonathan made a covenant with David, giving him his own armor and cloak (I Sam. 18:1-5). This friendship would become important as Jonathan defends and protects his friend, even at the expense of his relationship with his own father.

Have you ever had a friend like that? Someone who would have your back no matter what? I have known a few of them and praise God for those people in my own life. I pray you have known such friends as well. When I have faced tough days, having a friend to whom I could call for support and comfort was a true blessing. Just before this reading Jesus declared that those who believe in Him are His friends.

Look at the last line of this reading. Do you see what Jesus says about you? He has consecrated himself for your sake. In the very next verse after this reading ends, Jesus says that he is not only praying for the disciples like Peter, James, and John, but he is also praying for all who will believe through their witness (Jn. 17:20). That means he is praying for you and he has consecrated himself for your sake. He has taken an unbreakable oath to be your Savior.

Jesus has risen from the dead so he can make you holy and be with you no matter what Satan may throw at you. Read these words carefully. He does not promise that all will go well. The world hates the followers of Jesus because it hates Him. Jesus is not asking that we be taken out of the world, transported to some easy and gentle life. He prays rather that we will have a friend, a bulwark, a defender, and helper as we also are in the world but not of the world.

You are probably facing a challenge today of some sort. You may know exactly what it is, or it may be an ill-defined sort of threat. It is there. The world, being dark, hates the light. You have a friend for this day and every day, and He is the Lord of life, the King of Heaven. He has risen from the dead to be your help and aid. By the strange mystery of His Kingdom, which began with a cross and is still imprinted with that cross, suffering is part and parcel of this Kingdom. But we never suffer without hope. Christ is our helper, and he has consecrated himself for our sake. He prays for you today.

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