Pew Sermon – John 17:6-19

There is a very human temptation to build walls around ourselves for protection; to build boundaries around our families and communities in an effort to both guard those within and to keep others out.

The worse kind of boundaries however are those around our minds, those which cling to outmoded concepts which limit the expansion of thought and creative imagination which God gave us in order to do His work more effectively.

But if we grow up absorbing the knowledge of Christ’s confidence in us and our sanctity for which He prayed, we will have learned how to handle development and change, which is all the protection we need.

We don’t need walls.

Jesus didn’t ask His disciples to build a big wall around themselves. He was well aware of the dangers and evils of the world. 

He had been subjected to enough of them during His own ministry.

One of His concerns for them was that they should be protected from the ‘evil one’.

He doesn’t want His followers to be removed from the world but protected within it.

He wants His followers to remain faithful to His teaching, because He knows that this is the way in which God’s world can be renewed and made perfect.

Not an easy task in a world where many reject His message.

But Jesus has confidence in them, and us, in our ability to keep His message alive, despite the hardships and dangers,

Jesus believes in us and we can feel supported by His prayers for our protection and encouragement.

For many of us self-doubt and lack of confidence in ourselves as Christians can keep us from realising the degree of faith in which God has in us.

Each Christian has been given the skills and faith necessary to carry on the truths and traditions through their lives, among those whom they come into contact.

But there are dangers and we do need protection, not only from our own weaknesses but against the “dark forces”; those aspects of life which are not of God, which can divert or tempt us away from God’s grace.

Jesus had no doubts about the quality of those He called to follow Him, then and now. We are gifted, just as they were.

Of course, we have our doubts, we struggle with questions of faith.

But this is part of our gift to God, that we persist in spite of the difficulty.

Walls which restrict our movement or thoughts cannot protect us, but God can; and He hears the prayers of His son on our behalf.

If Jesus has confidence in us, as individuals and as part of the church, then we should have confidence in ourselves and each other.

We are a force for tremendous good in the world. In our families and communities, in great acts of generosity and in simple acts of kindness we make the presence of God manifest.

Under the protection of Christ, we become confident disciples, sanctified and consecrated in the truth and ready to spread His word by our living out the example of His love.