"While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that Name You gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled." (John 17:12)

Here Jesus is continuing his prayer to the Supreme Being. He is discussing his students - as indicated from previous verses such as indicated clearly with this statement:
"For I gave them the words [teachings] You gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from You, and they believed that You sent me." (John 17:8)
Those who accepted Jesus' teachings would be none other than Jesus' students. And the fact that Jesus is stating they knew Jesus was sent by God is clear about Jesus' identity.

Now Jesus is stating that during the time Jesus "was with them" - which clearly means that period when Jesus was physically present with his students - he "protected them and kept them safe."

But how did Jesus protect his disciples and keep them safe? By his own strength? No.

Jesus says clearly: "by that Name."

This clearly indicates that Jesus is not taking personal credit for the means by which he protected and kept safe his disciples. He is clearly indicating that the means by which he was able to protect and keep his disciples safe was "by that Name."

Once again, this clarifies one of the key teachings of Jesus that is virtually ignored by ecclesiastical Christianity today: The power of reciting and praising God's Holy Names.

"That Name" confirms Jesus previous statement:
"Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your Name"
Yes, the power of glorifying God's Name - praising God - has been taught throughout the scriptures, yet is virtually forgotten by ecclesiastical sects that claim they are following those texts. (See link above to read the significant evidence throughout the Bible regarding this teaching.)

The fact that this teaching - of praising God's Holy Names - was a basic tenet of Jesus' teachings is also confirmed with those verses quoted in that link. But one statement more than any other provides direct evidence that Jesus was teaching his students to glorify God's Holy Name:
“This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name..." (Matt. 6:9)
To "hallow" something is to praise or glorify it. Thus we can see that Jesus was directly instructing his students to glorify God's Holy Name in prayer.

The teaching of glorifying God's Holy Names in congregations and by recitation is also clarified in other statements, as shown in the link above.

And Jesus here is stating that by glorifying God's Holy Name one is "protected" and "kept safe." From what?

Jesus clarifies this in the next sentence, with the Greek word ἀπόλλυμι (apollymi). This is being translated here to "lost."

What is being "lost"? Just consider the word itself:

A person who is "lost" does not know where their home is. They do not know their direction or where their home is. Just consider a child roaming around during a large fair. We might take the child to the security station and have them announce to the crowd that they have a "lost child." The child is considered lost because they can't find their parents and they don't know their way home.

So we can clearly define that a person who is lost doesn't know where their home is, and thus they have no understanding of their proper direction in life.

This is precisely the situation for most of us in the physical world. We are lost here in the physical world. We don't know where our true home is. And we don't know what direction to take.

Furthermore, we don't even know who we are.

In such a state we find ourselves spending our entire lives searching. What do we search for?

We search for the right place to live. For this reason, we are constantly moving. We are constantly looking for that place to live where we are happy.

We also search for the right mate, because our mate - and family - is connected with our home. For this reason, we spend much of our lives looking for the right mate to have a family with. Some of us spend many years looking for someone to love who will love us in return. Many will eventually settle down with someone but then many will also break up or divorce later. So it wasn't our mate after all. And even if we end up with a long-term relationship, at some point someone will die and leave the other.

The bottom line is that none of the relationships we find here in this world are perfect, nor are they permanent.

We also search for ourselves. At some point or another many of us will come to a time when we want to "find myself." What does "find myself" mean? It means we are lost. We do not know who we are.

Not knowing who we are also includes not knowing where our home is. It also includes not knowing who our mate is.

Let's use an example. Let's say that a small child is captured by wolves and raised by wolves in the forest with no human contact. For many years the boy will identify himself as a wolf - perhaps a little different, but still a wolf nonetheless.

Then the boy wants to find a mate. What does he do? He finds a she-wolf to hang out with.

Now most of us will grimace to such a thought because we feel that a boy is best suited to be with a human girl than a she-wolf.

Why? Because as we identify the boy as human, we feel the boy should hang with other humans.

Such is the issue with our real identity. As we have discussed in detail here and elsewhere, we are not these physical bodies. They are our temporary vehicles. We are driving our physical body much as a person drives a car.

Thus in order to know who we are and who we should love we need to know who we are beneath these physical bodies. And it is this very fact that so many of us will need to "find myself." If we were these physical bodies why would we need to "find myself?"

Yes, inside ourselves we know we are deeper than these temporary physical bodies. We are in fact spirit-persons. We are of the spiritual realm. And our form - our identity - is spiritual not physical.

And those of us who do not know our spiritual form - our spiritual identity - are officially "lost." Because we don't know who we are, or where our home is.

So how can God's Holy Name "protect us" and "keep us" from becoming lost?

As discussed with the previous verse, God's Holy Name is non different from God Himself. In the physical world there is duality - we are not these bodies, we are not our names, we are not our hands or our feet.

But in the spiritual realm - reference to God is non different from God Himself. God's Hands are non different from God. God's Names are non different from God. They are all part of God and are thus maintain His spiritual potency.

So when we sincerely glorify God's Holy Name we come into contact with God Himself. He is present within His Holy Name.

And this presence gradually allows us - as we are ready - to come to know Him and re-establish our loving relationship with Him.

This in turn allows us to understand who we are - our spiritual identity.

And should we keep God's Holy Names close to us - repeating and glorifying them often - they will protect us from falling further into the abyss of being "lost" within the physical world.

A person who becomes "lost" in the physical world loses their direction and forgets their identity: They become lost as to their true purpose. This state is typically accompanied by an emptiness, which we try to fill up with the various material things or people of this world. This self-centered approach to life produces the various forms of suffering we see all around us.

Next Jesus discusses one of his disciples:
"None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled."
Here the phrase υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας - literally the "follower of destruction" has been interpreted as being Judas - who reports Jesus' whereabouts to the High Priest who has Jesus arrested.

Judas is being assumed here because of the last phrase, ἵνα ἡ γραφὴ πληρωθῇ. πληρόω (plēroō) refers to fulfillment or completion, while γραφή (graphē) translates to something written, or scripture, or more importantly, the will of God.

So this last phrase of Jesus' could be "so that scripture is fulfilled" or "so that God's will is fulfilled."

Either way, we can assume "God's will is fulfilled" because scripture is the written form of God's will.

Thus we can now understand that this person's becoming "lost" and "doomed to destruction" is actually necessary for God's will to be done.

This was confirmed by Jesus as he spoke to Judas at the last supper:
So Jesus told him, "What you are about to do, do quickly." (John 13:27)
What does this mean? It means that Judas' reporting on Jesus' whereabouts in exchange for some silver was certainly arranged by the Supreme Being. And Jesus acknowledged this was God's will as he instructed Judas to do what was to be God's will.

Yes, even though we might think that we are arranging things and doing our own things, everything moves within God's ultimate control. We are never outside the realm of the Supreme Being's control.

This is our status. We might think we are so independent - and many of us think we are so great. But everything is arranged by the Supreme Being.

God has arranged this physical world in such a way that we can ignore God. But this doesn't mean that He is not here - present within the background of the physical world - the spiritual realm from which the physical world was formed.

We might compare this to a movie theater. Those who go to the movies at the theater can sit within the darkness of the theater and become immersed within the movie. But this immersion does not remove the fact that the theater itself is owned by someone and the movies are being shown from a projector room by a person who works for the theater owner.

As moviegoers we might think we are on some faraway spaceship or a distant planet as we watch the movie. None of that interferes with the ownership of the theater or the existence of the theater. For two hours an audience of moviegoers might forget they are in a theater as they watch the movie. But as soon as the movie is over - the illusion is turned off - they return to the awareness that they are in a theater owned by someone else.

This is why everyone quickly heads for the exits once a movie is over.

In the same way, we might be "lost" in this temporary illusion that we are these bodies and the world around us is ours - that we own our house, our car, our kids, wife or husband - but like the movie at the theater this is all a temporary illusion. We own nothing. God owns it all and He is allowing us to pretend for awhile because we became jealous of God's position as God.

Our position is one of God's loving servants. We were created to serve God and give God enjoyment. That is our true identity.

And the reason we all feel better when we give than when we receive - is precisely this reality: We are not enjoyers by nature - we are servants by nature. God is the enjoyer and we were created to help Him enjoy.

Yet to give the Supreme Being joy automatically gives us joy - just like helping someone else gives us joy, but even greater joy than that, because God is our true mate: He is the Soul Mate we've been looking for our entire physical lives. This is the missing piece we have forgotten in our lives: Our joy is linked with loving and serving Our Best Friend, God.

This is who we are, and why Jesus' most important instruction was:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)



(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Gospel of John without sectarian influence, see the Gospels of Jesus  - translated from the original Greek texts.)