"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)
How did Jesus keep them 'safe'?
"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' followers and 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" - pointing to that period when Jesus was physically present with his students - that he "protected them and kept them safe."
But how did Jesus protect his disciples and keep them safe?
This indicates that Jesus did not take personal credit for the means by which he protected and kept safe his disciples. He indicates that the means by which he was able to protect and keep his disciples safe was "by that Name."
This clarifies one of the key teachings of Jesus virtually ignored by sectarian institutions today: The power of praising God's Names.
"That Name" confirms Jesus previous statement:
"Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your Name" (John 17:11)Yes, the power of glorifying God's Name - praising God - has been taught throughout the scriptures, yet is virtually forgotten by 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 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 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 Name in prayer.
The teaching of glorifying God's Names in congregations is also clarified in other statements, as shown in the link above.
And Jesus here is stating that by glorifying God's 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 does he mean by 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.
Knowing who we are also means knowing where our home is. It also includes 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.
What are we made of?This relates to our composition. What are we composed of? Are we matter? The science indicates that we are not these physical bodies. These physical bodies 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 - is officially "lost." Because we don't know who we are, or where our home is.
How can God's Name keep us from being 'lost'?Jesus says God's Name can protect us. How can God's Name "protect us" and "keep us" from becoming lost?
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 - a reference to God is nondifferent from God Himself. God's Hands are nondifferent from God. God's Names are nondifferent from God. They are all part of God and are thus maintain His spiritual potency.
So when we sincerely glorify God's Name we come into contact with God Himself. He is present within His 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 allows us to understand who we are - our spiritual identity.
And should we keep God's 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.
Who is 'doomed to destruction' according to Jesus?
"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 in this case.
This means that this "one" who is becoming "lost" and "doomed to destruction" is actually necessary for something that is consistent with Scripture.
This doesn't necessarily mean that Jesus is referring to Judas. Another potential candidate is the Chief Priest Caiaphus, who ordered Jesus' arrest and then set up the assembly who cried out for his crucifixion in front of Pilate.
This person, who was supposed to be the leader of the temple system throughout Judea, condemned one of its most admired rabbis. Yes, Jesus was also a rabbi, as confirmed in many verses. He also taught in synagogues. Yet this supposed spiritual leader had Jesus arrested and persecuted, utilizing his political power with the Roman leaders such as Pilate.
Judas, on the other hand, followed Jesus' instruction to arrange the arrest. This is 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)
Did God arrange Jesus' crucifixion?Does this mean that Judas' reporting on Jesus' whereabouts in exchange for some silver was approved by the Supreme Being? Did God arrange everything so that Jesus would be murdered?
It is certainly true that everything moves within God's ultimate control. We are never outside the realm of the Supreme Being's control.
Yet the Supreme Being specifically arranged this physical world to give us the freedom to be independent of Him. He gave us the freedom to make our own decisions. Even when it comes to God's representative such as Jesus.
Because love of God requires the freedom to love God or not, each of us has the ability to reject God and reject His representative.
And this has been taking place for centuries, as God's Prophets have been persecuted and murdered by various institutions. This is what has been written in the Scriptures that Jesus refers to. Over and over we find Prophets such as Elijah, Uriah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Hanani, Amos, John the Baptist and of course, Jesus.
The reality that people can reject God is ordained in the Scriptures. Here we find these and so many others who taught the Truth who were persecuted. This includes James and Peter, Jesus' own disciples, and likely also John.
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. But it does mean that we - 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.
A moviegoer 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. The audience must return to the awareness of reality outside the theater.
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. We might think we own our house, our car, our kids, and spouse. But like the movie at the theater, this is all a temporary illusion. The spouse and kids were all playing temporary roles, just like the actors in the movie.
Our constitutional position is one of God's loving servants. We were created to serve God and give God enjoyment. That is our true identity. This is why we all feel better when we give than when we receive: We are not enjoyers by nature - we are servants by nature.
God is the true enjoyer and our joy comes from loving Him and caring for Him.
And of course, God also has joy as He loves us. But He never wants to force us to love Him. This is why He sends us His representative like Jesus and allows us to reject him.
Why does He sent His representative then? Because He wants to give us the other side of the choice. He wants to give us the choice to love Him and be with Him.
This is the beautiful nature of the Supreme Being.
God is our true mate: He is the Soul Mate we've been looking for our entire physical lives. He is the missing part of our lives that we have forgotten.
This is 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)
*Here is the translation of this part of Jesus' prayer from the Lost Gospels of Jesus:
"While I was with them, I kept them in Your Name, which You have entrusted to me. And I protected them and not one of them were lost except the servant of destruction, in order to execute the Scriptures.” (John 17:12)