9 I ask concerning them, not concerning the world, but concerning those You have given Me, because they belong to You.
It may seem strange that Jesus should say that He is not praying for the world, but instead He prays for His disciples, whom God had given to Him.
At a first glance it might appear that Jesus is not concerned about the world, which is the whole of humanity. Yet we know that He is concerned for everyone. As we know He came into the world in order to save the world. We read of this in John 3.17:
For God did not send the Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
Since the Father and Jesus are One, love for the world is part of the Divine nature.
Every action of Jesus was a demonstration of His love and concern for the world. His healing of the centurion’s son demonstrated His love and concern for the Gentiles, and not just the Jews.
Therefore, when Jesus said that He was not asking about the world He was not saying that He did not care for the world. Instead, at that point, He was praying for those whom the Father had given Him to be the ones to carry His Good News into the world.
When I started work on the railways as a Junior Porter the Station Master told me how to treat passengers, and to understand that they were important, and to do all I could to assist them on the journey. When he was telling me this his concern was about me; his concern was also that I would have the correct attitude that would best demonstrate the railways care for its’ passengers.
In a similar way in His praying Jesus was concerning Himself with praying for those men whom the Father had given to Him, the men who were to demonstrate the love of the Father to the world.
Jesus was about to send them into the world with the most important task that there is, the task of proclaiming that Jesus is the only Name by which the world might be saved.
We are all sent by Jesus into the world to proclaim this same message, and He prays for us to be equipped and strengthened for the task.