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ANY LAST REQUEST? SANCTIFY THEM! - John 17:6-19

April 22, 2018

 

What would your final request be?

If you were being confronted by your looming death, what would your final request be?

I know, a morbid thought.

 

I wonder how many of you remember this ad?

“Any last request? A Pixie Caramel? Pixie Caramel the longer lasting chew.”

 

The final request for this guy was to set it up so he could escape from his looming death by requesting a chewing caramel bar that took so long to eat, that the guards feel asleep and he was able to escape.

 

What would be your final request?

If you were being confronted by your looming death, what would your final request be?

 

In John 17 we see what Jesus’ final request is as he faces his looming death. We get to be privy to Jesus praying to the Father.

 

A prayer that reflects all that he has been teaching the disciples and those who had ears to hear.

 

A prayer, a final request that begins, as Darrin shared last week, with his desire that the Father would be glorified, revealed in all his greatness, by the completion of his eternal plan. A plan that was centred around the person and work of Jesus, his work through the cross and the empty grave. Jesus came into this world to reveal truth. To teach us about who he is and in turn reveal the Father. Why, to bring glory to the Father and in turn the Father glorifies the Son. We see a oneness, a unity within the Godhead. One mind, one plan, one purpose. A complete harmony, complete unity.

 

Jesus final request - Father be glorified, that I maybe glorified, that you may be glorified.

 

And Jesus continues to pray, speaking his final requests before the Father.

 

Jesus final request – Father give my apostles your divine authority, your divine protection, sanctify them so you will continue to be made known in this world.

 

Read John 17:6-19

 

Why did Jesus pray for his apostles? Why did he pray for the small group of men who he had chosen and taught? Because of his deep love for them.

I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. John 17:11

 

Protect them! Keep them!

 

Why did Jesus pray for his apostles? What did he request of the Father?

To confirm his apostles…

Divine authority

A divine authority as people chosen by God the Father, they belong to Father.

“…those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me…” John 17:6

 

“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.” John 17:9

The apostles were owned by God as their creator and as the one has chosen them.

 

A divine authority because they have had God revealed to them by Jesus.

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world.” John 17:6

 

“Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.”

John 17:7–8

Jesus revealed God fully to the apostles. They had in turn responded to truth that Jesus had presented. They believed.

 

Jesus’ disciples had divine authority.

Why is this so important?

  • They were to be the group who would continue Jesus’ ministry on earth after his ascension.

  • These were the first leaders in the establishment of the church.

  • These were the writers of our New Testament.

 

These were people of God who required divine authority because of the establishing role they had that would influence the church and the world in the centuries to come.

 

We stand on the work of the apostles, who stand on the work of Jesus who stands on the purposes and plans of the Father.

 

Why did Jesus pray for his apostles? What did he request of the Father?

To confirm his apostles’ divine authority but to also…

To request for his apostles….

Divine protection

The apostles will need divine protection because they are…

“…in the world…” John 17:11

 

Jesus, in the Gospel of John, has not held back with his honest evaluation of this world and how it will treat those who he chooses and believe. And this passage is no different.

“…and the world has hated them because they are not of the world…” John 17:14

 

While Jesus was on earth he had been protecting them. Protecting them from the hate of the world.
While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. John 17:12

 

Jesus was the good shepherd and looked after the flock, but now that he was leaving, Jesus asks the Father for Divine protection from the hate of the world.

I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. John 17:11

 

Keep them. Protect them. How can a name protect them? The name of God is reflection of the nature and being of God. Protect them in your nature and being. All powerful, holy God. In the same power that Jesus protected them.

 

Not a protection by removal.

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. John 17:15

 

A protection that comes through sanctification.

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 17:17–19

Jesus asks the Father to continue the process of sanctification, setting apart, being made more holy, being made more like Jesus.

 

And how was this sanctification to happen, through the Word.

As Jesus’ words are heard, believed, and understood, the disciples’ hearts, lives and minds were changed. God’s message, through Jesus, as revealed by the Spirit, set the apostles apart from the world so that they would do His will.

 

But this transformation also happens through Jesus sanctification. Jesus being set apart to his work on the cross and the empty grave. The purpose of Jesus death, burial and resurrection is to set apart, sanctify people to God and His plans and purposes. The apostles were being transformed because of what Jesus did in his death, burial and resurrection.

 

Jesus sets himself apart for the work of the cross so we can grow in godliness.

Why? Jesus is asking that the apostles experience his joy as they become more and more like Him.

…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. John 17:13

A joy that is found as we grow, see and experience more and more the glory of God. The greatness and completeness of God.

 

A divine protection that is not just defensive but proactive. He is not just defending the apostles against the world but also growing them to have an influence and effect on the world.

 

At the very heart of this divine authority and this divine protection for the apostles’ is…

  • The purposes and plans of the Father.

  • As spoken by the Son.

  • As revealed by the Holy Spirit.

 

And we have this, through the apostles. The very heart and mind of God. His Word.

 

Why did Jesus pray for his apostles? What did he request of the Father?

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17

Sanctify them. The divine process whereby God moulds us according to God’s nature and character. It is the very heart and mind of God influencing our heart and minds to the point that we think and live differently. And it is done most powerfully through the Word of God. A word that would come from the Jesus, through the disciples to us, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

So what are we do with a prayer that was for the apostles’? Next week Chris will share the rest of Jesus’ prayer which is specifically about us. But for today. Truths that we have read should assure us of the importance and divine nature of the Word of God.

 

It should also influence how we pray. We can be…

  • Thankful for the divine authority Jesus gives to those who he chooses and who believe.

 

We can be…

  • Thankful for the divine protection available from the Father through Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. A divine protection that is not just defensive but proactive.

 

We can be…

  • Thankful for the sanctifying/transforming power of God’s Word and desire to know and grow in and through the Word more and more.

We can be…

  • Thankful for the person and work of Jesus Christ that sees us able to be part of the purposes and plans of God in this world for the glory of God!

 

Jesus final request – Father give my apostles your divine authority, your divine protection, sanctify them so you will continue to be made known in this world.

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