“Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me.” (Jn. 17:11, NRSV)
The disciples were extremely vulnerable during the confusing hours of Jesus’ arrest, torture, and death. Jesus knew this would be so, and clearly, His friends’ welfare was heavy on His heart and mind. And so He prayed for them. He was concerned for their spiritual safety—so He asked the Father to protect them. But He also appealed to them to look out for each other. And that’s probably why we see Him constantly reminding them to love one another, serve one another, and lay down their lives for one another.
Jesus actually believes that we are to be our brother’s and sister’s keepers. Over and over He demonstrates and teaches about living in a way that genuinely cares for others, preferring them, looking out for them, defending them, sacrificing for them, risking for them. This way of thinking runs counter to our culture’s independent, it’s-none-of-my-business, survival-of-the-fittest mindset. But then living the Jesus way usually does run counter to popular social values. All around us are vulnerable people. They may be vulnerable emotionally, spiritually, relationally, or physically.
Do you know who the vulnerable ones are in your sphere of influence? Take a moment to ask the Holy Spirit to put one person’s name or face into your thoughts. Think about how Jesus feels about this person. Ask Him to give you His heart for him or her. Then pray for that person’s protection and blessing. If you dare, ask Jesus how you might participate with Him in reaching out to this person. It may feel risky to get involved, but if He has invited you to, then He will be with you giving you everything you need.