Undivided: We Go Together


A Sanctifying Truth

By Danny Saavedra 

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 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. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” John 17:13–19 (NIV)

One of the greatest things anyone can do for you is to pray for you, and in today’s passage, that’s exactly what Jesus is doing before God on behalf of His disciples. What a picture! The King of the universe, the perfect and sinless Savior of the world, just mere hours before being arrested, beaten, humiliated, and crucified, is lifting up His disciples in prayer. Why? So “they may have the full measure of joy within them.”

Notice how Jesus prays not that they’d be taken out of this world, but that they’d be protected from their adversary, Satan. He doesn’t say protected from the ups and downs of life, or blessed with material wealth and health. It doesn’t say protected from pain, suffering, or struggle. Jesus specifically prays they’d be protected from the evil one. Matthew Henry put it this way: “Christ does not pray that they might be rich and great in the world, but that they might be kept from sin, strengthened for their duty, and brought safe to heaven. . . . He did not pray that his disciples should be removed out of the world, that they might escape the rage of men, for they had a great work to do for the glory of God, and the benefit of mankind. But he prayed that the Father would keep them from the evil, from being corrupted by the world, the remains of sin in their hearts, and from the power and craft of Satan.”

Our Savior prays over us what’s most important for us. Not that we’d have everything we want, which would undoubtedly lead us into temptation, sin, corruption, and death, but that we’d be sanctified to walk in the purposes and plans He has for us—in the abundant and full and overflowing life He died to give us! 

As He’s about to finish His earthly work and send out His disciples into the world to spread the good news of salvation and redemption, He prays they’d be protected from sin through sanctification, and then He tells shares exactly how that happens: “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” 

Now, as we wrap up, I want you to consider that Jesus wasn’t just praying this over Peter, John, James, and the disciples. He was praying this over you and me as well. Therefore, we have this very same sanctifying truth available to us. As His children, we simply need to abide in Him (John 15:1–11) and His Spirit will lead us into all truth (John 16:13)! 

PAUSE: Why does Jesus pray this specific prayer over His disciples? Why doesn’t He pray for us to have everything we want? 

PRACTICE: Today, as Jesus modeled for us, intercede on behalf of a group of brothers and sisters in our common faith!

PRAY: Father, I thank You and praise You for Jesus’ sacrifice for my life on the cross and for the sanctifying presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. I thank You and praise You for Your Word, which is truth. I ask, Lord God, that You would daily wash me in Your Word and draw me deeper into Your truth so I may live it out and carry the gospel to the places You’ve positioned me to influence and impact. And I pray You would continue to protect me from the perils of sins in my life, that Your Spirit would give me the strength and perseverance to overcome and flee from wickedness. Amen.