How Does God Keep or Protect Us By His Name? #366
Happy Lord’s Day, Friends! For the very last time this year, I’d like to invite you to join us on Facebook at our VBC Salinas page for a great time of worship, encouraging words and a message that focuses on Simeon’s proclamations about the newborn baby Jesus – a perfect after-Christmas passage for us in these darkish times.
After today, we only have FOUR more days in the year, and then the Daily Bible Reading Podcast, as we know it, is going to transition to something else for 2021. I’m not 100% sure what yet, but I do believe it will still be a daily Bible focused show…perhaps a bit shorter, and perhaps we will go through the New Testament one chapter at a time in 2021, rather than reading four chapters a day. Again, not 100% sure, but that is the plan that is starting to coalesce. Stay tuned for more details. Today we read 2nd Chronicles 32, Zechariah 14, John 17 and Revelation 18.
Great comment on yesterday’s episode from Mr. Og:
Excellent point on Chronological Snobbery. One interesting aspect of Chronological Snobbery is that many of those who feel that we live in a more rational and scientifically-advanced age are themselves quite ignorant of reasoning and science. While we enjoy the benefits of electric lights, for example, many people have only the most vague idea of how they work. Those who tell us that Christianity is “unscientific” are often unable to define science, or explain its scope relative to all human knowledge and reason.
Our focus today is on Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17, and how God keeps, or protects us by His name. I do need to point out, however, something very important. Jesus prays for those who would believe in Him through the preaching and teaching of the apostles – which is you and me, and many, many others. Note the focus of that prayer:
20 “I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word.21 May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me.22 I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one.23 I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.
You can sum up this prayer for future believers in one word: Unity. The thing that seemed to be most on Jesus’ mind and heart for His followers was that they would be one – they would be in unity, the same kind of unity that Jesus Himself enjoyed with the Father. May we walk in that kind of unity by seeking peace and pursuing it, as 1 Peter 3:11 commands. Let’s read the prayer and then discuss it.
One part of the prayer of Jesus I haven’t dove deeply into in the past is found in verses 11-15
11 I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by your name that you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one.12 While I was with them, I was protecting them by your name that you have given me. I guarded them and not one of them is lost, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture may be fulfilled.13 Now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy completed in them.14 I have given them your word. The world hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.15 I am not praying that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
3 times in this passage, Jesus talks about protection for His followers, though I should note the KJV uses the word ‘keep’ instead of protect. Jesus says that He protected His followers by God’s name, and He prays that, since He is leaving the earth to return to Heaven, He asks God to protect His followers by “the name that you have given me.” And then, in verse 15, Jesus notes the type of protection He is praying about – not that God would remove them from the world, but that He would protect them from the evil one. So, I conclude from this that God’s name, and the name that God gave Jesus, protects us from the evil one and His followers.
How does God protect us by His name, and the name of His son? Well, when we look at God’s personal name, we remember it is Yahweh, which means, “I am that I am,” or “I am because I am.” This means that nobody created God – He is, because He is. This is God’s personal name, and even though it is not obvious to us who don’t speak Hebrew, the name Jesus, which in Hebrews is, “Yahshua/Yehshua,” literally means, “Yahweh saves,” or, “salvation is by Yahweh.” So, this means that God’s personal name is also in the name of Jesus. This is important, and Scripture calls the name of Jesus the “name that is above every name,” and I don’t believe that is an exaggeration. When I was a child of 6 or 7, I had a recurring nightmare that lasted for years in which Satan himself would climb the stairs of hell, which, of course, opened up into my closet. He would get me out of my bed and carry me down to hell. I knew that if I could say the name “Jesus,” that I would be saved…but I was literally unable to speak that name, or cry for help. I really have no idea how I knew that the name of Jesus would save me – I was not a Christian at the time, and my parents did not go to church much then – maybe rarely…but maybe I told them about the dream, and they told me what to do. I somehow knew at a young age that the name of Jesus had power over the enemy.
In the book of Acts, we see such men of God as Paul commanding demons in the name of Jesus:
She did this for many days. Paul was greatly annoyed. Turning to the spirit, he said, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out right away.
So we know that there is indeed power in the name of Jesus. How does God keep us by His name? Let’s ask our friend of the podcast Charles Spurgeon that question:
Observe, further, that our Lord Jesus Christ asks that we may be kept through God’s own name. It requires the very name of God to keep a Christian.
By the word “name” is sometimes meant the whole character of God, the whole royal power and prerogative of God. Frequently power is meant by the word “name.” There is no keeping one of us, much less the whole ship’s company, except the sacred name of God shall exert all its power to keep off our foe. The Saviour concludes with this plea, “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me.” I do not know whether it will strike you, but it strikes me as very touching. He seems to say, “Father, thou didst give these to me; they are very precious to me; they are my jewels. Now I am going away, and therefore I must leave them. O my Father, keep for me the sweet tokens of thine own love to me! These are thy forget-me-nots, and I have valued them; therefore I ask thee, while I go up to yonder bloody tree and die, and when afterwards I come to thee, and enjoy my eternal rest, take care of these whom thou hast given me.” It is like a husband who has obtained his bride, but now finds that he must needs go away from her. He gives her back to her father who originally gave her to him, and says, “Take care of her for my sake. As thou lovest me, take care of her.” We are talking about you, you believers in Christ; hearken, therefore, with diligence. “The Father himself loveth you.” The Father gave you to Jesus because he loved Jesus. He wanted Jesus to have that which would give him most delight, and so he gave you to him; and now that Jesus cannot be with you by his corporeal presence, he gives you over to the great Father, from whose loving hand he first received you, and he says, “Holy Father, keep them.” Do you think the Father will answer the Son’s request? I am sure that he will. I feel safe in that Almighty hand in which Jesus has placed me.
Remember that double-handed safety of which Jesus speaks in John 10:28, 29: “They shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
C. H. Spurgeon, “Prospect—‘He Will Keep,’” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 32 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1886), 75–76.