Sanctified in the Truth
“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (Jesus’ prayer for His disciples; John 17:17)
Before we leave this topic, I wanted to focus upon these words that Jesus prayed over His disciples. Jesus is just about to go through the whole ordeal of suffering and death upon the cross. He had just said and done everything that He wanted to do and say to His disciples (John 13 – 16). Now, His last order of business was to talk to the Father, about them. Not only does this say something about the importance of prayer (and prayer for those with whom we share our lives) – Jesus’ prayer reveals the things that He thought were essential for His disciples. I encourage you to read all of John 17 – mindful that His prayer actually applies to YOU.
The climactic moment of Jesus’ prayer is found in verse 17. Everything is building up to the moment where Jesus asks the Father to “sanctify them in the truth.”
What does this mean?? And why does it matter for our lives?
The word “sanctify” is really a word we only use in our churches – it doesn’t really mean much to us, outside of the context of church, or the Bible. The word, in the original language, means: “to purify, to make holy, to set apart for a special or noble purpose.” Around our house, we bring out the fine china for special guests or special occasions. The fine china is ONLY used during those times. Now, we could feed the dogs off the fine china, if we wanted to do so – but we never do… because the fine china is set apart for special purposes.
Jesus’ prayer over His disciples, asks the Father to effectively “set them apart for a special and holy purpose.” He is seeking the Father’s intervention in bringing them out of the mundane monotony of everyday life – and elevating them to the status of a special divine purpose.
Before His prayer, they were just men who hung out with God. After His prayer, they were men who would be inhabited by God. (Oh, and by the way, Jesus’ prayer extends to every disciple, through every generation of disciples on the earth! 17:20)
Jesus goes one step further, and tells us HOW disciples would be “set apart.” They would be sanctified “in the truth.” This refers to everything we have been talking about in the past few days. Jesus, the Source of all truth, would not only open the door for all mankind, to enter the fullness of relationship with God – He would be there on the other side of that door, to bring the fullness of God’s Kingdom into our daily lives. Jesus’ actions produced the opportunity for real and true transformation for our lives.
Once again, we come to our part in all this. Jesus prayer is a prayer for EACH of us. And when we fully surrender our hearts to Him, His prayer to make us “set apart for a special purpose” becomes powerful and effective in our lives.
The new you is about embracing the truth of what Jesus has done, and said, for us…
Prayer focus: God, I thankfully receive what Jesus prayed for me!