“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.” (John 17:17-19)
God the Father’s will to send God the Son to the world mirrors God the Son’s, Jesus Christ, will to send His disciples into the same fallen and sinful world. The word “send” comes from the Greek word ἀπέστειλας (apesteilas). It is the word from which we derive our English word apostle. It means to send someone out with a message that must be communicated. The message that must be communicated is the Gospel.
Jesus also communicated that for the sake of His disciples, He consecrated Himself. To consecrate (ἁγιάζω; agiazo) means to dedicate oneself to a task which has been assigned. The task for which Jesus was consecrated to was His substitutionary death, burial and resurrection on behalf of all true believers.
Dr. John Walvoord writes, “For the benefit of the disciples, Jesus sanctified Himself. In what sense did Jesus need to sanctify Himself? Was He not already set apart to God and distinct from the world? Yes, but this sanctification refers to His being separated and dedicated to His death. And the purpose of His death was that they too may be truly sanctified. The words “truly sanctified” are literally “sanctified in truth.” This probably means that God’s truth is the means of sanctification (cf. comments on v. 17). The purpose of the death of Christ is to dedicate or separate believers to God and His program.”
Jesus’ consecration to the task God the Father gave Him is the same consecration that we are called to make. All true disciples of Jesus are called to consecrate, dedicate or sanctify, themselves to the task for which Jesus has given them. The task at hand is found in Matthew 18:19-20. It is known as the Great Commission.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
This is our mission: to our families, friends and those who God brings into our lives. The calling of Christ is the same calling given to each disciple. We are held to a commission and to God’s holy command.
John Calvin comments, “It is because He (Jesus) consecrated Himself to the Father that His holiness might come to us; for as the blessing of the first-fruits is spread over the whole harvest so the Spirit of God cleanses us by the holiness of Christ and makes us partakers of it.”
Are you daily consecrating yourself to personal holiness and faithful communication of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Refresh your commitment to God’s call in your life each day.
May God’s truth and grace reside here.
Soli deo Gloria!