I had the pleasure of teaching in the public high school my children attended. Being in the same school had many positives, and maybe my kiddos would say there were a few negatives, too. One positive for my kids was that they had an advocate whose name carried some weight, particularly when they were late for class. They knew that their teacher would not question a hall pass signed by me. When they were late for some reason, they would make their way to my classroom to ask for a pass.
Being their mom made me want to have mercy on them. It didn’t take long for their friends to come asking for hall passes signed by me, too. I never had a teacher question a hall pass with my name on it in all the years I taught. You see, my name on the pass held a specific power.
In John 17:11, we read, I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your name, the name You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one.
“Protect them by the power of Your name” are such encouraging words for us to hear. The word protect can also be translated as keep, hold-fast, preserve, watch or guard. What wonderful words! Jesus was leaving this earth, but he was not leaving his children defenseless and exposed. He was asking his Father to protect and hold-fast his children. These disciples and followers were his friends, and as the good shepherd, Jesus wanted them to be secure.
When King David had been a shepherd, the Scripture tells us, if he had to leave his sheep for some reason, he would find another shepherd to watch them. David knew those little sheep were defenseless and would come to ruin without a shepherd watching out for them. Jesus’ disciples had for three years experienced this world with him, and now they were being told they would be facing it without the physical presence of their teacher and friend, Jesus.
Oh, how they must have been scared and confused. I would have, what about you? Jesus had always been there before to counsel them and to defend them. And in his great wisdom, he knew these sheep could not do life without his Father’s protection- by the power of his name.
David Guzik wrote, “Jesus didn’t pray, “keep through an angel” or “keep through a church leader” or “keep through their own effort.” The work of keeping a believer is so significant that it takes the name of God – the whole character and authority of God.”
So, what does all this mean for you and me? How can I find rest and peace in this world knowing that life is crazy, challenging, and dangerous at times? I can be at rest because Jesus asked the Father to protect me. Not just to protect me but to do it by the power of his whole character and authority- by the magnificent power of his name. His name holds weight – not just a little weight but the ultimate, authoritative weight. And Jesus’ prayers are better than a hall pass; his prayers have weight and are a guarantee of our protection.
The Psalmist who wrote Psalm 46 said these meaningful and comforting words, “God is our refuge and strength always ready to help us in times of trouble.”
So, today when things get tough, or you feel battered and bruised by this world, remember Jesus’ prayer for you, “Holy Father, protect ______ (insert your name) by the power of your name.”