“…I kept them in your name…” – John 17:12
What can Jesus do for us? This is a question people might have when someone tells them they should accept Jesus. People want a reason to follow Jesus. Or they at least want to know why it is critical that they accept Jesus. And there is nothing wrong with wanting a reason to follow Jesus.
A reason we accept Jesus is that he accepted us. And another reason is that he did not accept us by himself. He accepted us because God accepted us. Most people are familiar with this verse: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). But how many of us really understand how God’s love relates to Jesus? That is to ask, “If God loves us, what is our relation to Jesus?
Well, the Bible says Jesus “kept his disciples through God’s name” (John 17:12). This means that Jesus protected his disciples, being God on earth. How does this passage say Jesus was God on earth? Here, the term “name” is onoma. Onoma figuratively means to be the same as the person. Here, it means to be the same as God. It means to be God’s equivalent. Thus, when Jesus says he kept the disciples in God’s name, he is saying God, himself, protected the disciples on earth.
Jesus asks God to continue to protect his disciples in God’s own name when he [Jesus] leaves the earth, after he is crucified (John 17:11). He also prays for us who believe the disciples of Jesus (John 17:20). This request is the same as his asking God Himself to protect Jesus’ disciples and those who believe them. So we can take comfort in knowing that Jesus not only prays for us, but is God for us. Because of Jesus, we have a request for God’s protection from someone. But this request from Jesus is exactly what God wanted to hear because He wants to protect us. Jesus asks for us to have exactly what God wants to give us.