The Lord’s “joy” (17:13) was to sit at God’s right hand and He was willing to endure the cross to attain it (Heb.12:2). To “fulfill” His joy in the disciples, He had spoken some things while still in the world within their hearing (17:13). Things like asking the Father to “keep” them eternally safe (v.11), knowing this would strengthen them to endure what they’d have to endure to sit with Him in the kingdom.
He also gave them God’s word (John 17:14) to strengthen them with the joy of understanding it (Neh.8:12). This caused the world to hate them “because they are not of the world” (17:14). The world hated the Lord because He was not of the world (Pr.29:27), and that’s also why the world hated the disciples (IPe.4:4)-and that’s why they’ll hate you
When a neighborhood hates you, you should pray about leaving, but the Lord prayed that God wouldn’t take the disciples out of the world that hated them (17:13). He needed them to testify for Him—and you too, so don’t pray to leave the world. Moses, Elijah and Jonah did (Num.11:11-15; IKi.19:4; Jonah 4:3) but God said no. You can’t testify for Him when you are dead (Ps.30:9; Isa.38:18,19). If you think you don’t know enough truth to declare it, tell people how God saved you (cf.Luk8:39).
You also need to be here build up the faith and joy of the saved with Paul’s gospel, as Paul did (Phil.1:23-26). And don’t be praying for the Rapture either. The Lord waited for you to get saved, can’t you wait for others?
If the Lord was ministering to members of the Body of Christ, He was praying they wouldn’t be raptured (John 17:15). We know He was rather ministering to Jews (Mt.15:24) whom He planned to “keep…from the evil” of the Tribulation as God kept the Jews from the evil that fell on Pharaoh (Ex.8:20-22; 9:4,26; 10:22). By the way, the Trib judgments will match those that fell in Egypt! No wonder the Lord taught them to pray according to His will “deliver us from evil.” They’d ultimately be delivered from the evil of the Tribulation by praying “thy kingdom come.”
The Lord prayed they be delivered from the evil soon to fall on the world because “they are not of the world” (Jo. 17:16) and prayed that God would “sanctify” them (v.17). “Sanctify” means to set apart to God as belonging to Him (cf.Ex.13:2,12). God sanctified you when He saved you (Heb.10:10), even the carnal Corinthians (ICor.1:30; 6: 11). Your mission is to make your state match your standing.
You can only do that through God’s truth (Jo.17:17). Holiness preachers say you can be sanctified by some mystical filling of the Spirit, and while that happened at Pentecost (Acts 2:4; IJo.3:9) it doesn’t happen today. The Lord is so eager that they sanctify themselves with the truth that He prayed for it, and He’s probably praying the same for you (Rom. 8:34). By the way, if truth sets you apart to God, untruth or error must lead you away from Him, as it did with Eve! All the more reason to preach the truth!
The disciples needed to be sanctified since the Lord was sending them into the world (Jo.17:18), and today you are His “sent ones.” He sanctified Himself “for their sakes” (v.19), to set an example for them. The Father sanctified Him (Jo.10:36) by commissioning Him to come into the world, as He did Jeremiah (Jer.1:4,5). The Lord responded by sanctifying Himself with the truth. If you are saved, you too are sanctified, and should respond the same way!
Why’d the Son need to sanctify Himself? He might have sinned if He hadn’t. We know He didn’t sin (I Pe.2:21,22), but when we read He was tempted like we are but didn’t (Heb.4:14,15), we have to conclude He could have sinned. You can’t be tempted to jump over the moon if it is not possible for you to do so, and the Lord couldn’t be tempted to sin if it weren’t possible for Him to do so. He was God and “God cannot be tempted with evil” (James 1:14), but God can’t get tired, hungry or thirsty—but the Lord could (Jo.4:6; Mt.21:18; Jo.19:28). In other words, after He became a man He could do many things that God couldn’t do beforehand—and sin is one of those things. God can’t die, but how thankful we should be that the Lord could! To keep from sinning, He sanctified Himself for the sake of His followers, to set an example for them—and us!