The 17th chapter of John, is recognized as the prayer of Jesus to God for the unity of His disciples and for the believers who would come after them. In this prayer Jesus makes an earnest appeal to God, our Father. Jesus said, “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom Thou hast given me.” This is a request for God to keep the followers of Jesus with a Fatherly protection. Jesus prayed this prayer with confidence because he recalled that God keeps watch all night and all day. Confronting the coronavirus pandemic, we may put our trust in God for, “Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 121: 4
Jesus was asking God to keep his own people, those who have come to Jesus led by the Holy Spirit. Jesus was preparing to leave this world and return to heaven. Jesus knew the disciples and believers following would have difficult days. He knew the world, the evil within it and the issues of life would be a great challenge to the Christians. Jesus was leaving us, not only in the world, but in God’s hands. He was confident that the troubles of this world could be overcome with God on their side. “In thine own name”, by your personal power, character, provision, protection and grace; keep them that you may receive all the glory.
The Apostle Paul possessed such faith when he was facing execution for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He prayed knowing that God could keep him safe and set him free, but if not, he knew that there was a heavenly reward awaiting him. So he encouraged his supporters with these words, “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12)
May we all adopt this attitude of faithful confidence in God. May our words and actions demonstrate our love for God and for one another. We are in this thing together and with God we can make it through. We are up against an invisible enemy. It is an equalizer, no respecter of persons, anybody can get this virus and die. It is acting like an executioner, seeking to kill many. Therefore, we pray for the doctors, nurses, first responders, scientists and researchers. We pray that this enemy will be eliminated, that this equalizer will be eradicated, and that the executions/deaths will come to an end. God is our Keeper and can be trusted. With assurance we may sing and pray, “Keep my heart, keep my hand, Keep my soul, I pray! Keep my tongue to speak Thy praise, Keep me all the way!” (Keep Me Everyday, F. I. Eiland). Let us Pray:
“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Savior be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24).
Dr. Timothy James