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20. JESUS IS PRAYING FOR HIS OWN (John 17:13-21)

BACKGROUND: This is the last prayer Jesus prays for his disciples while he is with them. He knows that soon they will desert him. There is a word in this passage, which is very common in the gospel of John, namely “the world”. It appears in this gospel a total of 50 times. The leader may read the following instances: John 1:9-11; 9:5; 15:18-19 and 16:33.
  1. What would you pray for your loved ones if you knew that you would soon die?
    • What does Jesus ask for his disciples during his last night on this earth?
  2. PROTECTION (verses 11,12,15)
    • What would you like God to protect you and your loved ones from?
    • What does Jesus promise to protect his own from? (Why doesn’t Jesus pray for his Father to protect his disciples from suffering?)
    • What is the means by which Jesus will protect us?
  3. THE WORLD (verses 13-18)
    • What does Jesus say about the world in this last prayer of his?
    • What is the biggest difference between Jesus’ disciples and the world?
    • Why does the world hate Christians (verse 14)?
    • What are the two dangers in regard to a Christian’s relationship to the world? (Why doesn’t Jesus want to isolate his own from the world – for example by putting them into a monastery, cf. verse 18?)
    • Think about your relation to the world: is it as Jesus would like it to be?
    • How would you evaluate your Christian fellowship in this respect? Is its relationship to the world as Jesus prayed it would be in his last prayer?
  4. JOY (verse 13)
    • Where does the full measure of joy of a Christian come from?
    • How can Jesus expect his disciples to be joyful while the world is hating and persecuting them?
    • Define the word "joy" – what does Jesus mean by it?
    • If you feel that you don’t have any joy in your life, what do you think might be the reason?
  5. GOD’S WORD (verses 14,17,19)
    • Is it difficult or easy for you to believe that God’s word, the Bible, is true (verse 17)? Give your reasons.
    • What will happen if a Christian denies one portion of the Bible by claiming that it is no longer valid in our day?
    • What does Jesus mean when he says that the truth will sanctify us (verse 17)?
    • What does the prayer of Jesus teach us about the so-called “spiritual warfare”? (If you are not familiar with the term, you can skip this question.)
    • What in this prayer touches your heart most deeply?
GLAD TIDINGS: "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the WORLD!" (John 1:29).
"For God so loved the WORLD that he gave his one and only Son" (John 3:16).

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