John 17: 4-19
We’ve established context, and we’ve talked about the first three verses of John 17. After asking to be glorified for doing the work His father gave Him, He turns his attention to the second main part of this prayer, that is focusing specifically on praying for His disciples.
Here Jesus affirms that these disciples:
- were given to Him by God the Father from the world
- have kept God’s word
- know that everything Jesus told them is from God
- have received His words
- know the truth that God sent Jesus, and know that He came from God
He asks on behalf of the disciples that God has given him, and then states that they belong to the Father. This sets up the next part of this passage where Jesus claims to be one with God the Father, boldly stating “what’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is mine”, then testifies that they (the disciples that God gave to Him from the world) have glorified Him, the Son.
Are you catching all the glorifying going on so far? The disciples have glorified Jesus, Jesus glorifies the Father, and asks that the Father glorify Him. That is a lot of glory being passed back and forth. As He reminds the Father again of the faithful work He has done with them so far, Jesus requests four specific things for His disciples:
- for their protection
- for their unity (or oneness)
- for His joy to be made complete in them
- for their sanctification
I wonder what would happen if we, the Body of Christ, began to faithfully pray Jesus’ prayer here, each for the other. I want to add this into my prayer book so that I can remember it. Can you imagine, if we prayed for protection and unity like we prayed for our health, or our finances? Or for our brothers and sisters to have God’s joy made complete in them? How about the big five-syllable word there? The million dollar word, sanctification. Nobody even talks like that anymore, maybe we should know what it means before we start putting it on our brothers and sisters in Christ…and ourselves!
Sanctify, according to Merriam Webster has four possible meanings, that all kind of go together, when we are talking about the process in our lives.
- to set apart to a sacred purpose or to religious use (consecrate).
- to free from sin (purify).
- a : to impart or impute sacredness, inviolability, or respect to b : to give moral or social sanction to
- to make productive of holiness or piety <observe the day of the sabbath, to sanctify it — Deuteronomy 5:12(Douay Version)
Sanctify them in your truth — I never realized how packed those five words were until tonight. I’m still letting them sink in.
To put legs on this phrase…Jesus was asking that His followers be set apart for a particular use (in context, I would say for the purpose of bringing Him glory), that we would be free from sin (made pure), and free from being violated, kept sacred and respected. Because we live in a fallen world, this is a process…every day, every hour, moment by moment, we have to be “sanctified” as we walk out our walk.
If this were a real ladies retreat, I would have placed at your tables a 1/2 pt. Mason jar filled with M&M’s to remind you of your need for His sanctifying power in your life “Moment by Moment” If you are so inclined, you can make one for yourself, tie a pretty bow or a piece of rafia around the lid, and never see a bag of M&M’s the same way again. 🙂
if I were to imitate the Lord’s prayer for His disciples, it might sound something like this:
Father in heaven, my brothers and sisters are in this world that misunderstands and hates us because of our love and devotion to You; guard and protect us as we strive to be in it without adopting its standards to our lives. Keep us free from sin and safe from the traps that the enemy sets for us, as we follow in your steps.
Help us to realize that we are here for one another, and bind us together in Your perfect love, so that we can all be one in Your Spirit, as you are one with the Father.
Lord, we know that this world is not our home, and we are trusting you to make your joy complete in us as we focus on our future hope with you in heaven. But while we are here, Lord, sanctify us. Cleanse us and make us pure. Set us apart, make us sacred, keep us from being violated, help us do the right thing, make us holy and ready to accomplish your perfect will in your truth. Your word is truth, hide it in our hearts, and keep us mindful of your truth and our purpose.
In the precious Name of Jesus, who set the example for us to follow, Amen.