To be sanctified means to be set apart, consecrated, and made holy for the Master’s use.
As the eleven men chosen by Jesus gathered around, Jesus prayed for their sanctification. This was a tender moment. He had taken them on an up-and-down journey in His attempt to prepare them for the events to follow. It was exhausting. No longer instructing them, He was praying for them. This was a privilege beyond measure. So many times, Jesus had stolen away from them to be alone with the Father, out of earshot and not to be disturbed. Now, He prayed for them while they listened to Him. The Holy Spirit imprinted the words of His prayer indelibly on each man’s heart. His words would come back to them at crucial times throughout their lives.
A Job Finished
These men had lived normal lives until Jesus walked into them. He saw something in each of them and He called each one to follow Him. It was a simple process; He called them and they obeyed. They traveled with Him, listening to His words, participating in His miracles, and being changed from the inside out in the process. In the beginning there had been twelve and now there were eleven. There was sorrow in that accounting but the plan of God was moving forward. Jesus had laid the groundwork for their lives, lives that would change the world. They were ready now to witness the end of the Old Covenant and the beginning of the New Covenant to be written in His blood.
“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world.
They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.”
Jesus’ Prayer for the Disciples
The content of Jesus’ prayer is rich.
- He prayed for them to have a vital relationship with the Father. This was the basis of their faith as expressed in the Prayer He gave them to pray.
- He prayed that they would see the glory of the Lord. As Isaiah prophesied, they would walk in light when the world around them walked in darkness, a continuing supply of the glory of the Lord.
- He prayed for their unity, that they “may be one as We are.” This was the most complete standard of unity imaginable. As the Father, Son, and Spirit are one, so must followers of Christ be one. Division is never the work of the Spirit; it is the work of the devil.
- He prayed for them to have joy. They could never reach the world with long faces and depressing testimonies. The world had enough of that. They were to be joyful men with a joyful message.
- He prayed for safety from the evil one. All of hell’s forces would be arrayed against the followers of Jesus. He prayed for a keeping power from God to protect them.
- He prayed that they would be sanctified, set apart, and made holy by the transforming truth of His story.
Hear His prayer for them:
“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.”
Jesus knew they were part of a higher world, a greater one than the sad and desperate one they must reach with the Gospel.
“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 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. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
Lord Jesus, I long for that sanctification, too. My heart’s desire is to be set apart for Your work, for the fellowship of Your suffering and the joy of Your victory, to be fit for Your use. O, Holy Spirit, do this work in me! Make me holy as Jesus is holy—pure in motivation, faithful in prayer, and moving in compassion. May I never cause division or strife in the church but be one who unifies around You and Your calling on our lives. May each day of my life advance Your Holy Kingdom. Amen
For Sanctifying Power, We Come Today
Words: Eliza E. Hewitt; Music: J. Lincoln Hall
1. For sanctifying power, We come today;
The fullness of the blessing, O send us, we pray.
Holiness, through the blood; Keep us under the flow;
In Calv’ry’s cleansing fountain, O make us whiter than snow;
Filled with Thy Spirit, Be Thy grace outpoured;
Sanctify, sanctify, All Thy people, Lord.
2. As consecrated vessels, O may we be,
To bear Thy name to others; To glorify Thee.
3. From sin’s dominions, save us This very hour;
That lives made pure and holy, May show forth Thy pow’r.
4. Conformed to Thine own image, Lord, may we be,
Till waking in Thy likeness, Thy glory we see.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.