The hour of Christ’s departure had come. In this hectic, tragic moment the disciples may well have wished to find some escape from their fears and tensions. It was all over for them, their dreams of glory were ended. But Jesus did not ask for this kind of escape. “I do not ask that you take them out of this world,” he prayed. He expected his disciples to remain in the world, not only because he had work for them to do but because remaining in the world would help them reach maturity in their own personal sanctification. In a limited way, the disciples were to take up where Christ left off—spreading the word of salvation in the world. This world is to be saturated by the Word of God. As it is, the world offers lies and darkness. The Word is light and truth. Armed with God’s Word, they would stand distinct from the world and because of this distinction, be pursued by the world’s inevitable hatred. That is our position, too. As followers of Christ we cannot remove ourselves from the world. Rather, we are to be “in the world” but not “of it,” as Jesus said. His goal all along, had been in nurturing them for the time when they would be sent out into the world, mature in their relationship to God, and thereby be equipped to minister to others. And so he prays. For them. For us. Not that we might spiritualize ourselves out of this world and out of our responsibilities of discipleship in this world, but that we might be enabled to immerse ourselves in those daily concerns of life in this world, even as Jesus did. At this important and challenging moment of discipleship, we are invited to join with our Lord in prayer and trusting that, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:15).