John17:15 The prayer of Jesus was not for God to send something like “rescue planes” to evacuate the disciples from their hostile setting in the world. Such a plan would destroy God’s mission through them. Nor was it to wrap them in some plastic, danger-free safety casing where they would never encounter evil. But the prayer of Jesus was to protect them from succumbing to the onslaught of evil or the evil one.
The Greek ek tou pon?rou can be translated as “from evil” in the abstract sense of a force in the world, but probably here it should be rendered “from the evil one” as a reference to the devil (John 8:34; John13:2), Satan (John13:27), or the prince of the world (John12:31; John14:30; John16:11), who stands behind the evil activities of humans. To understand the hostility of the world from the perspective of a personal power set against God, the work of Jesus, and the mission of Christians is both sobering and yet much closer to the view of Jesus and the early disciples than contemporary ideas that demythologize evil into some vague natural set of counter forces in the world. The devil was not some medieval imp dressed in red or black with a pitchfork and tail. The devil in the New Testament is a powerful force like a roaring lion (1 Pet 5:8) bent on destroying both God’s work and God’s people.
 Borchert, G. L. (2003). Vol. 25B: John 12-21 (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (200–201). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
Published on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 @ 7:25 AM CDT