Through the Bible in One Year

Day 168

John 17:13-19

Yesterday, we saw Jesus pray to be glorified and the first part of his prayer for his disciples.  And today we are going to see the conclusion of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples, with the focus being on their sanctification.  And tomorrow we are going to see Jesus’ prayer for all his future disciples and that they be united as one with one mission and one purpose.

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.—17:13-19

Jesus prayed that the disciples would have a full measure of joy despite conflict.  Even though this world is spiritual battleground, Jesus’ followers can know joy.  Jesus gave the disciples the Father’s word, yet the world would give them conflict and persecution.  The disciples were not under the dominion of the world any more than Jesus was under the dominion of the world.  Jesus’ followers are not of this world—that is, they are not characterized by it or under its control.  Jesus prayed again for their protection from the evil one, the devil.  The devil hates the church because he hates God.  He will attack the church because it is the only way he can attack God.  Yet the devil has always been under God’s sovereign control.  Believers do not need to fear the devil, because they are in Christ, and Christ defeated the devil.  Finally, Jesus prayed for the disciples to be set apart for a worldwide mission.  As the Father sent the Son into a hostile world, so Jesus sends his followers into it.  Christ’s mission it to be embraced by his followers.  The church is to be committed to a worldwide mission extolling the name of Christ among the nations.  Jesus had made this point earlier to his followers, and he would do so again after the resurrection.  Just as Jesus consecrated himself to be used by the Father for the Father’s glory, so he prayed that the Father would sanctify his disciples in the truth.  He desired that they also be set apart for God and his purposes.

“Sanctify” means to make holy and to separate or set apart (for God’s purposes).  The evening before his death, Jesus prays that his disciples will be holy people.  He prays for them to be separated from evil in the world for the purpose of worshipping and serving God and fulfilling his purposes on earth.  They must be set apart in order to be in a close relationship with a holy God, to live for him and to be like him.  The Holy Spirit accomplishes this process of sanctification as Jesus’ followers devote themselves to living by the truth revealed to them by the Spirit.  And the truth is both the living Word of God (Jesus) and the written Word of God as revealed in the Bible.  And we will pick up from here tomorrow as we see Jesus’ prayer for his future disciples and for our unity.

Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:

1 Kings 22, Acts 13:16-41, Psalm 138:1-8 and Proverbs 17:17-18

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