Lesson 99

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

17:18 As you sent me into the world, even so I sent them into the world. 17:19 For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. 17:20 Neither for these only do I pray, but for those also who believe in me through their word, 17:21 that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that you sent me. 17:22 The glory which you have given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, even as we are one; 17:23 I in them, and you in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that you sent me, and loved them, even as you loved me.

 Today's Lesson 

As Jesus continued His prayer, He speaks of His own relationship to His disciples. He returns to one of the common themes of this book, that He was sent from the Father. He says that just as the Father sent Him into the world, He is sending His disciples into that same world. He has already said that He did not pray that they be taken out of the world. They will be scorned and abused and the world will hate them, just as it hated Him.


Because He knows that His disciples will need Him, He asks God to sanctify Him for their sake. Here is our example of how we ought to pray in Christ name. Jesus asks that He be sanctified in order that He might serve His disciples. He said, "For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth." If we ask of God, let us ask so that others might benefit from the blessing that God is to give us. Let us receive from God so that others might be blessed of Him through us.


He is not just praying for these few disciples. Jesus knows that from this small seed, God will grow a great harvest. He also prays for all those who will believe His message through these men. In a real sense, even then He was praying for you and me. God's eyes are always on the horizon. He thinks in long terms. God plans for things that will happen thousands of years from now as though they were a certainty. He is eternal, and temporary things do not sway those whose minds are set on eternal things.


The goal of God's efforts is that His people might achieve unity. "That they might all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they may also be one in us." One day you and I may know this unity in its fullest fashion. For today, we must accept its reality by faith. We must work towards unity with God in our own lives and attempt to achieve that same unity with other believers as well. There will be moments of wonderful comprehension when we receive a glimpse of what this unity will accomplish and what it feels like. More often, we will fumble around with forms that we think will draw us closer to God, but which really tend to keep us further from Him.


How can we draw closer to the reality of unity that Christ would have us to be? We must first put away the notion that there is anything that we must do or achieve in order to experience the reality of God. Jesus said the Father was in Him and He was in the Father. In the same sense, if we are born anew in Christ, then He is in me and I am in Him. There is nothing that I must do in order to achieve this state, it is a part of my new nature. In fact, it is my new nature!


We are holy and sanctified before God because Christ is in us and we are in Christ. This indwelling life is our reality before God. I freely admit that there are many times in my life when I do not feel holy or sanctified and when the life of Christ is difficult for me to experience. But, I must learn to accept the world that God declares by faith. Christ has declared that all that are His are holy and set apart and that He dwells within their lives. The world may wish me for its own and my flesh may scream that it still lives, but my Lord and Savior has said that I am dead to these things. Who am I to believe? The father of lies or He that is full of grace and truth?


"I in them, and you in me, that they may be perfected into one." Do you believe that Christ is in you? Is Jesus of Nazareth the Lord of your life? If He is, then why do you still listen to those who stood opposed to Him?


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