I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. —John 17:15-16 ESV
We need not doubt that our Lord’s all-seeing eye detected in the hearts of His disciples an impatient desire to get away from this troubled world. Few in number and weak in strength, surrounded on every side by enemies and persecutors, they might well long to be released from the scene of conflict, and to go home. Even David had said in a certain place, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove, then would I flee away and be at rest!” (Psalm 55:6.) Seeing all this, our Lord has wisely placed on record this part of His prayer for the perpetual benefit of His Church. He has taught us the great lesson that He thinks it better for His people to remain in the world and be kept from its evil, than to be taken out of the world and removed from the presence of evil altogether.