“Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 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. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 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. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:11-17
What a gift it is for us to be able to look and listen in on Jesus as He communes with His Father just prior to His arrest and crucifixion. His eyes to heaven, He prays for all who have believed and received His truth, who know Jesus and have eternal life. We are privy to what is true about us, what He deems most important, and what will be our future. He specifically asks that God keep us in His name, that we be one– unified under His banner. As He has guarded and kept us, so will the Father, that His joy be fulfilled in us. We have His word in the world, and though we are hated because we are not of the world, we are kept by Him from the evil one, and sanctified by His truth. Guarded, unified, full of joy, equipped, preserved, sanctified– what security, what glad hope this should give!
Kept. To remain or cause to remain in a given place; to protect; to continue to have in possession or power; to be faithful to; to prevent from leaving; to take care of. And kept in His name, the name above all names, the name that is a strong tower where we can run and be safe. Being kept in His name identifies us as His forever, seals us as His children, and guarantees that His plans for us will be completed, His prayers fulfilled. We are kept by His pledge, kept by His power. (Proverbs 18:10; Philippians 1:6;2:9)
When circumstances roil and the unexpected comes like a torrent of disruption, when I find myself uncomfortable among the world’s godless minions, when I face the unknown and unsettled, I can know I am kept by my Lord, in His strong and eternal name, and need not be shaken. I am kept there so I can better know Him and be made more like Him, so I can grow closer to His people and increase in joy. This is the place where I want to be planted and live with abandon.
Father, thank You for guarding me to this day, and for Your promise to keep on keeping me in Your name. Please fix my eyes on heaven as I live in this world, bearing Your name and truth, to Your glorious ends.