Why does Jesus pray for the saved and not the world when God loves everyone?


John 17:9

ESV - 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.

Clarify Share Report Asked June 10 2013 Mini Pam Johnson

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1362953942 Tim Scott
God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whomseover believeth in him shall not perish, but have ever lasting life. John 3:16.

Jesus is died for all men. But all men, do not want to be saved. 

Samuel was praying for King Saul, when God said to him, Why are you praying for him, seeing that I have rejected him. It was Saul who would not obey the voice of the Lord that caused the rejection and God knows that no matter what he could do love Saul, he would not change. I believe, God was constantly trying to win Saul, by the life of David. 

God wants to save all men, but those who have accepted him as Lord and Savior are privileged to special blessings. Why would someone who knows not God need prayer from Jesus? How could they appreciate the goodness of God, of whom they know nothing? 

Jesus is not praying for the world, because the world is enemy of God (James 4:4). The love of the Father can not be in us, if we love the world. 1 John 2:15-16. The majority of people are in the world and are satisfied what the world has to offer. God has called us to seek those who are lost in the world. I pray, we heed the calling and seek those who are lost, that Christ might be praying for them as he is praying for us.

June 10 2013 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Raccoo Bob Johnson Layperson. Self Educated Theologically - see full bio
Jesus did not pray for the world and instead prayed for only the saved. The reason is explained right there in John 17:9 - "...but for those You (meaning the father) have given Me." 

It was the final hour. Jesus knew that they (we) would need special attention. Jesus' came for the world but the world rejected Him. Only those that the Father chooses to give to Jesus become believers. 

The question as stated above implies something that is not true. God does not "love everyone." John 3:16 and 2 Peter 3:9 do not say God loves everyone in the sense that he saves everyone because of that love. 2 Peter 3:9 doesn't even mean that God want's to save "all people." Don't read into the verse something that is not there. Let me explain: 2 Peter only says the God is not willing that "any" should perish. "Any" who? Peter is addressing Christians. He is saying that God is tarrying because God wants everyone who is in God's plan of salvation to be saved. Everyone (all Christians), from the 1st one who was saved to the last one who is to be saved will be saved. God has a plan. If he had come 50 years ago I would not be saved. It was His plan that I should be saved so he did not come because He knew and predestined from the beginning of time that I should be saved. He did not have a plan for those who are not saved to be saved. It was his plan that they not be saved (see Romans 9:21-22)

We don't like this. But it's what the Bible says.

That brings up the question: Did Jesus die for all people? No. Jesus' death only actually paid for the sins of those people who are saved. His death did not pay for the sins of those who are not saved. There are 4 possibilities... Jesus' death paid for:

1. ALL the sins of ALL people, or
2. ALL the sins of SOME people, or
3. SOME of the sins of ALL people, or
4. SOME of the sins of SOME people.
(Capitalization here is meant to distinguish words, not for emphasis)

I think the Bible is clear that #3 and #4 are not correct. If Jesus did not pay for all the sins of any person, that person could not be saved. There would still be a stain or blemish and the Bible is clear that no one can enter God's presence without all of their sin being taken care of.

So. Some people say that people are not saved because they do not believe in Jesus. This is true. People are not saved because they do not believe. John 10:26 says people don't believe because they are not His sheep. It does not say that they are not His sheep because they do not believe. 

People who say that people are not saved because they do not believe, think that #1 is the true condition: That Jesus paid the price for ALL the sins of ALL people. He did not. Let me ask this question: Is unbelief a sin? John 16:9 says so. (NLT is clearest, but it's clear in any translation): "The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me." That is the reason people are not saved. It is the only reason they are not saved. It is a sin to not believe in Jesus according to Jesus Himself.

If Jesus paid for ALL the sins of ALL people, everyone in the world would be saved whether or not they believe. We know, however, that not all people are saved. Therefore Jesus did not pay for ALL the sins of ALL people.

What is left is that Jesus paid for ALL the sins of SOME people. Those He chose and gave to Christ. It is those people that Jesus prays for in John 17. The rest don't need prayer from Jesus. Jesus prayer in John 17 is a special prayer - not for their salvation but, among other things, that His own would be protected from the evil one.

Because of that though, it does not mean that WE should not pray for them. 

For more information read John Owen's "The Death of Death in the Death of Christ." Or read "Chosen by God" by R.C. Sproul. Charles Spurgeon is also a good resource.

June 13 2013 23 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini My Cup Overflows
Some things are difficult to understand, but the fact that God loved the whole world and sent His only Son to make a way for them to be saved is not one if them. To say God has predestined some for heaven and some for hell is beyond comprehension. His gift of salvation is available to all and free to all. If someone is holding out a gift to you, you reaching out your hand to take it does in no way mean you have done anything to earn it, work for it or deserve it. It is still free. And a gift. If you don't reach out and take it then you won't receive it. That is God's salvation- for everyone who believes. 

Jesus cried over Jerusalem and said, " How I longed to gather you as a hen gathers her chicks, but you were unwilling." As previously mentioned, God is not willing that any should perish. But people do perish and as Jesus said, the Jews were unwilling. We all have a free will to choose to follow after Jesus. The verses about Gid having compassion on whom He will have compassion, making a vessel of wrath, hating Esau, etc. Do you think that God's actions are just arbitrary? He is righteous and just and He cannot do anything but act in a righteous and just manner. So if He has mercy, compassion, nd even hate toward someone, it is a just and right response from His holy character. Just like predestination and election. 

God has set up laws that govern this world (gravity, etc.) and He set up spiritual laws to govern the spiritual world. Those who violate the laws suffer consequences and Gid is just and right and will bring about consequences based on those laws. Anyone who has faith in Christ has his sins forgiven and has the hope of eternal life. No faith, no forgiveness. He is omniscient and therefore knew everyone who would ever choose Him. That does not mean He made them choose. He elected or predestined those who would place their faith and trust in His Son to have eternal life. So it can be said that I or you are elected or predestined but it is because we had faith to the saving of our souls and God already knew this. Like me handing out free cokes and I knew those who would take one and those who wouldn't. They all had a choice and I determined beforehand that everyone who took a free coke would also get a free meal, but I did not force them. Those who received the free meal were chosen because they took the free coke. 

Predestination is based on God's foreknowledge and the laws He has set in motion. So is His mercy, grace, forgiveness, justice, wrath, etc. God never violates His character. So if someone says that God is not fair and we just don't understand His ways, you better go the other way. We are created in His image AND as Christians we have the Holy Spirit. If it doesn't make sense, doesn't feel right, or attributes evil to God it is a lie from hell. If you want to hear a good Bible teacher on "God's Sovereignty and Man's Will" go to thenarrowpath.org. Steve Gregg is an excellent teacher and used to be a Calvinist.

June 16 2013 5 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Olu Elegbede
First of all Jesus at this point excluded the "world" in that particular prayer because it was a dedication and commissioning prayer for those that have received training under him. 
Just as you will give the diploma or certificate to only those that have participated in a training or graduated or passed an exam etc. The fact that you did not give some people does not mean that you hated them. 
Secondly, the word "world" is Greek - "kosmos" Yes from which "cosmos" is derived- and scripturally it refers to the Satanic arrangements and order or system of the world which is against God's agenda.
In verse 20, Jesus included anyone that would believe through the preaching in that prayer! 

Jesus by his sacrifice prove his love for man kind.

June 14 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Jude Allen
Jesus was actually praying specifically for his disciples in that verse. It does not implicate that He did not love the rest of the world, but He knew what was ahead for the disciples an was praying for extra strength for them.

June 15 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Anonymous
Romans 9:14-24 NKJV

What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 

"Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?"

"What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?" 


NOTICE WHAT JESUS SAID IN John 17:9 NKJV “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours." HE PRAYED FOR THOSE WHO GOD SET APART FOR HIMSELF.

June 11 2013 8 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Vincent Mercado Supporter Skeptic turned believer, Catholic, father of 3
This is what happens when you take a verse out of context.

Read the whole chapter and you will find out why this chapter is called "The High Priestly Prayer".. It follows a three-fold format.

The Prayer of Jesus for Himself 

The Prayer of Jesus for His Disciples 

The Prayer of Jesus for All Believers 

June 14 2013 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Chad Feight
I believe the answer is more simple than many would make it out to be. If you read the remainder of the prayer, we find that Jesus prays for protection because the world hates the people he's praying for (believers) and unity. We don't find unity in the world, nor does God wish that. Perfect unity is found only in the body of Christ. The context of the prayer shows why he specifies his target audience for this prayer.

September 18 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Kevin O'Donnell
I believe that the only ones whom God would not wish us to pray for is people who have already heard the Gospel message and rejected it or made a spiritual decision to turn away with serious intention.

God will welcome all who wish to Know him and learn to love like him
see 1 Samuel 12: 22-24

June 11 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Anonymous
God being all knowing as well as sovereign knows that those whom He has called He has also equipped. His prayer for those He has called could be that He is aware of the issues they will face as the go out into this world as His representative. Maybe God prays for us because He is aware of the many temptations this world offers and all are trying to be their god. Jesus prayed knowing our weaknesses and taps into the source of all strength (God) to help us stay the course of our purpose. It was said that we will be sent out as sheep among wolves. I believe prayer is relevant for as we go among the people that He sends us to and be the salt and light without backsliding or compromising the gospel. We also need prayer to help us remember His love for us so that become what others witness in and through us. Christ's representative is a big deal and is need of much prayer. l think!

June 11 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Lewis olu Ogunojemite
When God created the earth, all He did was very good.  All these He handed over to man to have dominion and replenish the earth.  Of all the creations, God only direct that man should not eat of only one tree.  But what happened? Man disobeyed.  He was debar form access to tree of life as a result so that he may not live in decadence for eternity. Genesis chapters 1 to 3.
God eventually restored man to his lost glory by sending His Son, Jesus, to die and make atonement for the sins of men.  This was all the mission of Christ, which he triumphantly fulfilled when He died and rose again.
This is why Christ prayed only for those who will accept this gift of salvation because it would be of no effect to pray for those who like the first Adam are ready to disobey God.
For everyone that comes to Him, He will no wise cast away.  So some how He has prayed for the whole world but the effect of that prayer is only for those who accept His salvation gift.
Lewis Olu Ogunojemite

June 11 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Jacob Gingerich
“I am asking on their behalf. I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those you gave me, because they are yours. (ISV)

This is a prayer of blessing that was an interracial part of that culture. When a father was in his last days he would call in His oldest son and pray/ask for a blessing to be upon that child, His children and his children's children.

Jesus again is breaking with the cultural norms by blessing ALL of those the Father has given to Him. This is not just for those present but for all those in the future. 

This blessing from Jesus belongs to every one who receives Him and extends the Kingdom of God throughout the earth. 

His inclusiveness is stated in verse 20 "I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their message (ISV) In this He is showing His deep love for the whole world and in line with His desire that no one should perish 2 Peter 3:9

June 11 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Mary Kilbride
I have struggled with that scripture for a long time. My sister believes it "proves" predestination and that some are going to be saved, and some are not. It doesn't make sense to me that God created some to be saved and some to not. Why would He tell the Disciples to go out and share the gospel with the world? For what reason? I have come to the conclusion that those who are "His" were the disciples. He knew what they were going to have to endure and at that moment, Jesus was praying for those who God gave Him, so they would have protection and strength to do the very difficult task that lay ahead of them. Why would we be supposed to witness to others and pray for them and try to lead them to Christ? That would be the question I need an answer to by those who believe that some are going to be saved, and some are not... and it was all predestined to go that way. It would not be that we chose to love Him, but that He chose us, so we loved Him anyway. To me, that takes away the meaning of everything.

June 16 2013 10 responses Vote Up Share Report

Photo Kurtis Sanheim
Hello all, just responding to the comments above. 

Jesus does not love everyone. 
Jacob I love, Esau I hate. Romans 9:13 I realize that this is symbolic of a "type" or shadow of personalities, but it does say also about the man himself, he hated him. He says it in the Old Testament too. 

I explain it this way. If someone attacks, rapes, beats, or hurts me, I will dislike that person very much. But I must forgive them or not be forgiven, and find love in my heart for them. 
There are some people that I've gone to church with for 10 years, and I just don't like them. Their attitudes are so rotten and bad, they complain so much, I can't stand being in their presence. So I don't hate them personally, I dislike their attitude and don't like them in that sense, but I love them as brothers and sisters in Christ. I have to. But God is different. I am commanded to love everyone, and we are commanded to love them. I may not like them and keep a distance in a Godly and behaving way, without letting their attitude get on me, and being Christian about it, but I still have to love them. God however, is ruler of all, and can project differently than you and I, as the Bible says he hated Esau. 

I believe Jacob HAD to forgive him. So did his parents, they disliked his marriage choice, his disobedience to him, etc. God HATED that. His parents and siblings had to forgive that. So I would probably not use the phrase "God loves everyone" myself, as that's not Biblical. WE have to love everyone, that's our commandment, not an order given to God. 

God also does not harden anyone against their will. We have a translation of the word "hardened" Pharoah's heart, but in fact that word in Hebrew has the translation to mean "increase with hardness what was already there". So meaning then, whatever was already in the heart was "hardened" or increased in strength. If someone loved a lot, and his heart was hardened, he would love way more. If someone was wicked a lot, and his heart was hardened, he'd be way more wicked! So to make sense of the understanding that God gives us free will, why would he circumvent his own law, and go against the will of a man, Pharoah, and make him his puppet. That's how that sounds thinking "hardened" was something God went against his heart. But in fact, God increased the insides of what he was already feeling, as ONLY God knows the thoughts and the intents of the heart, and that increase was to make Pharoah then more wicked, according to Pharoah's choice, his own will and free moral agency. 

But amen brother, as said above, we need to pray for a softening of hearts in our loved ones that are not in God's will, and are disobedient to God. 

Look at this: 2 Thessalonians 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Disobedience is what we are punished for. And God HATES disobedience. It is talked about more in the Bible than faith, love, hope, etc. Vengeance from God is against the disobedient. That's actions. James 2. 

So I am praying for a softening of MY heart, my lost families hearts, and that I may by my obedient life to Christ, win some. As Paul says. That I may persuade them. 

In Jesus name, hope this discussion brings thoughts to all who read it. We need to see what scripture says, it's HIS Word!

May 10 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Closeup Jennifer Rothnie Supporter Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious
Jesus' prayer specifically for His disciples in John 17 doesn't mean He doesn't love or care about anyone else. Imagine a parent praying on behalf of one of their children - would it mean the parent didn't love the other children? Would it mean the parent didn't care about the neighbor down the road, or starving children worldwide? No. Or imagine the Lord's prayer which Jesus' taught. If we pray for our daily bread, does that mean that we don't care if we get daily water, either? Of course not.

Why Jesus prioritized his disciples in prayer makes sense when the previous chapters are examined.

Starting in John 13, we see that it is just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knows His hour has come - He will face horrific torture and death the very next day. He tries to tell His disciples about His upcoming ordeal, but they are troubled. He comforts them in John 14 and promises the Spirit when He is gone. In John 15, he encourages them to remain in Him, calls them friends, and warns them that the world will hate them and persecute them because of Him. Jn 16 continues this warning and encouragement, and Jesus concludes with, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jn 16:33.

This is the context of John 17. Jesus specifically wants to pray for His disciples because He knows His death will be hard on them both emotionally and physically. He will not be there personally in the same way to teach them after His death, and so they will have to trust the Spirit. 

Jesus, in His prayer, begins to speak of how He revealed the Father to the disciples. Basically, He is recapping the conversations of the last day and His his overall ministry to them. "I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word." John 17:6

Note that Jesus gives the Father credit for choosing who would be Christ's Apostles here, even before they ever believed. This is interesting because the gospels show Jesus picking out His own 12 disciples, but in this prayer we see that even in this Jesus willingly subjected Himself to the Father.

In Jn 17:7, Jesus says that now the disciples know that everything truly comes from the Father. This is important, as they had only just realized this in Jn 16 when they said, "This makes us believe that you came from God.”

In Jn 17:8, he summarizes how the disciples heard the words the Father gave Jesus to say, accepted them, understood Christ came from God, and believed that the Father had sent Him. The word gnosis here for general knowledge, vs. Epignosis (personal relational knowledge) hints that even Judas might have possibly acknowledged that Jesus was Messiah in fact, but not in relationship.

In Jn 17:9, Jesus is not praying for all believers (all though He does so later,) but still for His Disciples. His prayer is specifically that the Father will protect them so that they may be one. This prayer, then, was not for protection for their lives, but protection that they would stand firm in persecution so that they would become one with Christ through the Spirit they would later receive. In Jn 17:12, Jesus states that 11 of the twelve the Father gave have continued with Him, but that 1 would be lost was not a surprise to God but was known in God's plan that scripture might be fulfilled. Jesus wants the Father to "protect them from the evil one." As the Father had sent Christ into the world, so Jesus in turn sends His messengers into the world. 

Only in Jn 17:20 does Jesus extend the prayer to the rest of the believers throughout time. This follows logically, for as Jesus discipled His students and then sent them out, his Apostles will in turn disciple others. These believers, in turn, will become one with Christ in the Spirit.

This specific prayer for protection and unity for believers doesn't mean Jesus doesn't love others.

January 26 2018 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Photo Kurtis Sanheim
Does God love everyone? 
He hated Esau. He says that. I hate him. 
He loved Jacob and hated Esau. 

I don't think God likes everyone. I believe he loves many, like if I had many kids, I'd love them. 
But if my one kid was super disobedient and a jerk, I'd hate what he's doing. I'd hate his actions, and would not like him one bit. I'd love him still, but dislike him. 

God loved the whole world. Gave himself for the whole world. But he dislikes so many. 
The disobedient ones. There is weeping and gnashing of teeth for them! You think he likes them then? 

Obey, and he will save you. Disobey, and he will judge you. He hates the work of them that turn aside. That means he hates your works. 

Again the cop out is, no works. 
But Christ says, if you love me, PHYSICALLY keep and do what I've commanded. That's action! Faith! Belief in work! Faith! 

So He doesn't like everyone. Even the Bible names ones he doesn't like or love. 

Just a though! 
In Jesus name....

June 14 2013 10 responses Vote Up Share Report

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