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August 9, 2017, 12:00 AM

Sanctify Them

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).

On the eve of the Crucifixion, as Jesus entered into His sufferings, the deepest desire of the Savior was for the sanctification of His disciples.

In those last precious hours in the Upper Room before Gethsemane, He talked to them about many things: of humility, of the betrayer, of His going away, of their fruit bearing, and of the opposition to be faced. But throughout that hallowed evening the Lord kept returning to one topic over and over again. “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever” (John 14:16). “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). “But I tell you the truth: It is for you good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7).

Late in the evening the conversation was finished. There were no more words of instruction to be given. Our Lord ceased talking to men about God and began to talk to God about men.

Under the shadows of Gethsemane and of Calvary, in the hushed stillness of the night, while His drowsy inner circle slept nearby, Jesus poured out His heart’s desire to the Father. “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” (John 17:15-17). In the shadow of the cross, our Lord’s chief concern was that His disciples might be empowered by the gift of the Holy Spirit. But His concern was not for them alone. It was also for you and me.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message” (John 17:20). In that sacred hour the Son of God prayed for you and I that that we might be sanctified holy; He prayed, and prays still, for all who need this blessing of the Holy Spirit. Can we carelessly pass by the deepest concern of Him who died to save us from all sin? We who have had our sins forgiven need this blessing. We who love God must press on until our love is made perfect. Every man and woman who has turned their face toward God is called to remain in prayer until the very image of the holy Creator is renewed in them. As A. F. Harper declared, “We who have come to Christ at Calvary must continue with Him to Pentecost.” We need the powerful infilling of the Spirit of God.

Let us pray: O my Savior, I desire Your full will for my life more than anything else in this world. May Your prayer for the disciples be answered in me. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens

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