Summary: What does sanctify really mean?
JOHN 17:9 "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You.
14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
Who was Jesus praying for here? The disciples! It’s a great prayer that He left them with.....Jesus said that He had given them God’s Word.....and because of this the world hates them. You think the world hates Christians these days? Jesus also affirms that they/we are not of this world either.
Notice that Jesus said in vs 9 that He wasn’t praying for the world....just for those that God had given Him. Remember the scripture we used last week....no one comes to the Son lest he is drawn by the Father? (John 6:44) It’s not that Jesus didn’t care for the people of the world....He loves everybody....but He is responsible for those that the Father has given Him.
And He was worried about them. Here He was about to leave them, and He knew what a terrible time they were about to have. Let’s don’t forget that Jesus not only loved these men with the agape love of God, but He also literally lived with them for about 3 yrs. He not only had a strong spiritual bond, but a strong bond with them in His fleshly body. Jesus knew that all these disciples except for John would die horrible deaths and be martyred for His names sake.
But Jesus didn’t pray that they be spared their fates...He simply prayed that God would keep them from the evil one. Keep them from the sin that is in the world. Let them stand strong whenever their souls were being tested. Isn’t it nice to know that Jesus prays intercession prayer for you too?
Vs 16 says that we are not of this world....we’re only passing through...In Hebrews 11 (faith chapter) the Bible talks about great men of faith....Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and even Sara (a woman of faith). Vs 13 of that chapter says "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." They realized they were "strangers" on this earth.
Let me show you some more of that in Hebrews 11:14For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
If they had been mindful of the world, they may have returned it says. But they desired a better country, a heavenly one. One that God has prepared for them...and us...praise God! But I want to get to my point here....Jesus says we’re not of this world..then He says "sanctify them by your truth" and we know it goes on to say "thy Word is truth". But when I was reading this, I caught something that I hadn’t caught before. Look at vs 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
Now Jesus, the man who knew no sin, was saying that He was sanctifying Himself for their sakes. I had always thought that sanctification was the act of freeing yourself from sin and purifying your life. But Jesus had no sin....so I had to go study on this!
The first thing that we need is a proper meaning of the word "sanctify". We talk about it a lot in church, don’t we? We need to know it’s meaning! Here’s what Merriam-Webster dictionary says about the word "sanctify": 1: to set apart to a sacred purpose or to religious use : consecrate 2: to free from sin : purify 3 a: to impart or impute sacredness, inviolability, or respect to b: to give moral or social sanction 4: to make productive of holiness or piety