John 17:15-18 – 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.
It was the beginning of the end for Jesus’ earthly ministry, and as was his regular routine, he spent time praying. From a scriptural perspective this was different. Unlike the other prayers in his ministry, this one we get to read. And Jesus concern is for the continuing ministry of his disciples. He wants them to be ready. He wants them to be secure – not from danger – but from evil, and it’s influence. He wants them to be set a part (sanctified).
He wants them to be ready to be sent.
We have a purpose. Every single one of us has an eternal God-given purpose, and it is almost always multifaceted and multilayered. But for the believer, it always involves a fair amount of discomfort. The disciples were “not of this world” projecting there eternal purpose, but Jesus didn’t pray for them to be taken out of society nor taken out of the culture. He prayed that they would remain in the world, in the culture, influencing the society around them and eschewing the influence of the sin around them.
We have a choice: we can cloister ourselves into our tight little communities of faith, we can become so like the culture around us as to wield no significant influence, or we can live lives that are little uncomfortable for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Which will we choose?