A face book friend wrote: I have always wondered about this verse: “I am praying for them. I am not praying (requesting) for the world, but for those You have given Me, for they belong to You” (John 17:9 AMP). Please take a moment to enlighten me: Does this mean that God has favorites like Jesus did? If some belong to Him, what are the implications of that? As for those who do not? How do we know which camp we are in?
John 17 is referred to as the “High Priestly Prayer.” Jesus was with His disciples when “He lifted His eyes to heaven” (vs.1). Jesus first prayed for Himself and then for the eleven (Judas had left the upper room), but the prayer is extended to all believers in verse 20. In this prayer Jesus is “not praying for the world” in regard to its hostility and unbelief. He is praying for all those who follow Him with specific concerns. First, that we would be kept from the evil one. Second, that we would be sanctified in truth. Third that we would dwell together in unity, and finally that the love with which the Father has loved the Son would be within us.
The physical presence of Jesus was about to leave this world, and He is concerned for those who believe and follow Him. Those who have little interest in spiritual warfare should pay attention to the first concern of our Lord. Knowing the truth is our first line of defense, and essential for our sanctification, which is God’s will for our lives (1 Thess. 4:3). We all become one in Christ through a common spiritual heritage. All true believers are children of God who should heed Paul’s advice, “I . . . urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1-3).
God has no favorites, and selecting certain people for certain tasks does not mean he loves one above another. God loves every one of His children the same, because the love of God is not dependent upon the object. God loves us, because God is love. There are only two “camps.” There is the kingdom of darkness, and the kingdom of God’s beloved Son. You are in the right “camp” “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead” (Rom. 10:9).
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