Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word. – John 17:20
Jesus had finished the Pesach seder with the apostles and spoken many things to them about His coming departure from the earth. During His discussion with them, He prayed to God the Father that He be restored to the glory He had with the Father prior even to the foundation of the world. Jesus also prayed that God would protect the apostles who were no longer of the world but were now a part of Them. However, Jesus didn’t pray just for the apostles alone but also for the many people who would become part of the family of God through their verbal witness of Jesus.
On the fated day when Jesus would be taken prisoner illegally, tried on a mock trial by the Sanhedrin, and the executed by Rome as an upstart, He prayed for you and me. He prayed that God would protect us and keep us secure in Him. Although we are in this world, we are not of this world. It was on that day that Jesus laid the ground work for setting us apart from the world. How would this happen? Through the word (or testimony) of the apostles who lived and walked and talked with Jesus and saw the many miracles He did. They would go throughout Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth preaching the gospel to every person. Now not every person has heard the gospel because of their witness, but more and more people are coming to God because of their early work.
IF you are a believer, you owe it all to God. However, we can also thank Jesus specifically for praying over the apostles and us, who have heard their testimony even though it comes to us through the written account rather than the literal, verbal account the First Century believers heard. We need to thank posthumously the apostles for being faithful and dedicated to the work they were assigned. Accordingly, we are responsible for continuing to carry out their mission, as given to them by Jesus. He told them to take the gospel to every creature, baptize those that convert, and then make disciples of them. The Great Commission didn’t stop with the apostles. No, they were only the beginning. We are the continuing link in this chain. It will only end once God harvests the last soul before destroying His enemies.
Father, I pray to You today through the authority of Your Son’s name, Jesus. I thank You for sending Jesus here to earth to complete the work You gave Him. Jesus, I personally thank You that the You prayed for the protection and security of not only the apostles but for all of us who have come to You, our Lord and Savior, through their witness of You. You looked ahead in time and saw the lot of Gentiles who would believe on You because of them. I have been included in that group and wish to thank them for their dedication and obedience to You. Help me to carry on the work they started and to reap more of the harvest for Your kingdom. Amen.