John 17:11-12 reads, “Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” (NKJV).

To understand what is going on, Chapter 17 begins, “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come…” which would let us know that Jesus had gone away to pray to God the Father.  These verses are a very intimate look into how the Lord Jesus is able to intercede on our behalf.  Hebrews 7:25 says of Jesus, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”  The Greek word rendered intercession is used 5 times in the New Testament one of which is in Acts 25:24 where it is translated “petitioned me” and another in Romans 11:2 as “pleads”.

In John 17:11, the Lord Jesus is making intercession, or pleading with, the Father for “these in the world” which, specifically in these verses are His disciples.  If we jump ahead to verse 20 of this same chapter we read, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word”.  This applies to all that would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and accept him as their personal Savior.  Next, He says, “keep through Your name those whom you have given Me”.  This is further confirmed in the testimony of Paul in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Continuing on, He says “they may be one as We are”.  1 Corinthians 12:12 reads “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.”  From these verses we can see that the Church is defined as ONE BODY, made up of ALL BELIEVERS, united together in Christ.  In verse 12, He says, “Those whom You gave Me I have kept.” This is very encouraging to the believer because we can realize when it is said in Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” that it is Christ Himself who is keeping us and continuing a work in us.  If it were up to us to hold on to Him, as in most things, something may happen in our lives that would cause us to let go; however, the Lord says that it is HE who is holding on to US, thank God for that!

“The son of perdition” refers to Judas Iscariot who we know betrayed the Lord Jesus.  Do not be confused that Judas was lost. In fact, he was never really given to the Lord Jesus.  It was foreknown of God that Judas would betray Jesus as we read in John 6:70, “Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?”  This was said well before Judas had actually betrayed Him.  Two examples of the Scriptures that were fulfilled in Judas can be found in Psalm 41:9, “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.”  And in even greater detail, Zechariah 11:12-13, “Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.  And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter.”  Let’s compare this to Matthew 26:15, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. “   Matthew 25:5 says of Judas, “Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed…” Matthew 25:7 says, “And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field…”  (193.6)    (JW)