“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” (Jn 17:18-19).
Jesus continues His prayer to the Father for the future welfare of His disciples. He reveals here a “sending out” of His followers that is still to come following His death and resurrection. And the mission they will be sent on is a continuation of the mission Christ has been on; a mission initiated by the Father when He sent Jesus into the world. “As You have sent Me, I am sending them” (vs 18).
I like the phrase “sent into the world”. Our relationship with the world has been a common theme in Jesus’s prayer. As you recall, the disciples were given to Christ “out of the world” (vs 6). They no longer “belong to the world” (vs 14, 16). They remain “in the world” (vs 11), and are not immediately “taken out of the world” (vs 15). And they remain here with a purpose, “sent into the world” (vs 18). The disciples were not left behind with no purpose, but remain “in the world” as Christ’s messengers.
Just as Christ was “set apart” for His ultimate mission, so the disciples are “sanctified” for their mission. “I consecrate Myself” (vs 19) can be thought of as Christ saying, “I offer Myself as the sacrifice.” He did this for us (“for their sake”). Christ consecrated Himself, was set apart, to be the sacrifice for us. He died in our place, our substitute, for our sins and the sins of the world.
We have been “set apart” to continue Christ’s mission by proclaiming Christ’s message. In this world, we are Christ’s physical presence. We are His body. And we continue His mission when we share this truth that life – abundant, true, and eternal life – is found only in the name of Jesus Christ.
To repeat from last time, we are sanctified by God’s truth. We are set apart in God’s truth. We are standing on a firm foundation of God’s truth. Be confident. Your faith is in the true God and His true Son, Jesus Christ. And no one can take that away.