Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper – January 16, 2023

By January 16, 2023 No Comments


14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

John 17:14-16

OF the World vs. IN the World

John 17:14-16 is a portion of Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer,” in which Jesus prays for his disciples and for the coming Church. Quite literally, this passage records Jesus praying for you and me. 

In these three verses, Jesus repeats the prepositional phrase “of the world” five times. (Repetition is always a great clue for the emphasis of the passage!) In this original greek language, this prepositional phrase “of the world” is a very specific kind. In fact, this prepositional phrase emphasizes SOURCE or ORIGIN. 

So when Jesus states that his followers are not of the world, he is describing that our source is not found in the world, that our origin is not found in the world. We see this play out most clearly in how we understand TRUTH, PURPOSE, & MEANING. The things which govern our lives are not found in the world. Instead, it is rooted in God himself.

We live in the world geographically, but we are not of the world spiritually. 

This difference in source and origin has ramifications. We see in verse 14 that Jesus states that the world hates this! We have elected to live our lives not according to the norms of society but rather the commands of God. The Christian longs to go with the grain of creation, which sometimes means going against the grain of culture.

So if Christians are fundamentally not of this world, is this passage a call to retreat into our holy huddles? Absolutely not. Jesus specifically prays that the Father would not take us out of the world but would protect us from evil in the world.

This passage is not an invitation to retreat, but an invitation to take a step forward and embrace the essential distinctions of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. 

Primarily, we do not belong to the world or even belong to ourselves, and WE BELONG TO GOD. He is our source. He is the origin of all that we know to be true. This changes the way we do everything. From parenting to work, to vacation, to finances, to fitness, we operate under God’s rule and reign and not the system of the world.


Our Father,

Thank you for your Word. We pray that by your Spirit, John 17:14-16 would change us into the likeness of Christ. We long to be faithful to you in the world. Spirit of God, help us to embrace the essentials that make us distinct in this dark and tasteless world. We need you, Lord! Father, we pray this now through The Son, and By the Spirit. Amen.


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