“While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” (John 17:12-13)
Jesus continued His High Priestly Prayer in John 17:12-13. He prayed that God the Father would guard and protect His disciples (John 17:11) as Jesus had during His three years of ministry. The eleven disciples in particular, and all disciples of Jesus in general, are gifts from the Father to the Son. As such, God the Father protects and guards each one of us who truly know Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Jesus indicated that all true disciples who belong to Him will never be lost. The word lost (ἀπώλετο; apoleto) means to be ruined, destroyed or to die. This means that those who have true faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord will never experience the reality of being eternally ruined, destroyed or lost as Judas Iscariot.
While Judas was lost, the other eleven were listening to these words Jesus prayed. Jesus said they would derive great comfort and joy in the aftermath of Jesus returning to heaven following His completed mission on earth.
Bible teacher Robert Rothwell writes, “Only one of Jesus’ original disciples was lost—Judas. His betrayal was ordained in the Scriptures (John 17:12); consequently, we may infer that Jesus never prayed for him. In fact, both Judas and Peter betrayed our Lord, but only Peter returned to Him. Why? Because Jesus prayed for Peter and not for Judas (Luke 22:31–32; John 21:15–19). The efficacious prayers of Jesus made Peter persevere, and they will make all His true disciples persevere.”
Dr. John Walvoord explains, “As the Good Shepherd, Jesus took care of the flock entrusted to Him by the Father. But Judas was an exception. He is here called the one doomed to destruction (lit., “the son of perdition”). Judas was never a sheep and his true character was finally manifested (cf. 13:11; 1 John 2:19). He was a “dead branch” (cf. comments on John 15:2, 6). Judas did what he wanted (he sold Jesus). Yet he was an unwitting tool of Satan (13:2, 27). Even people’s volitionally free acts fit into God’s sovereign plan (cf. Acts 2:23; 4:28). Thus Judas’ betrayal of Jesus fulfilled (i.e., filled up in a larger sense) the words in Psalm 41:9 about David’s betrayal by his friend.”
Romans 8:35 says “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
What a tragic figure Judas turned out to be. He was so close to Jesus and yet as far as heaven is from hell. Pray for those you know who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. They may attend church worship services but they are as lost as Judas. May, by God’s grace and mercy, be found.
May truth and grace reside here.
Soli deo Gloria!