The Gospel of John, The Period of Conference, Conference With the Father, Part LXVII, John 17:18-23 - Lesson 175
Read Verses John 17:15,16,17, for review: I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
John 17:18, As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
The Father had established the pattern of sending---and Jesus Christ in sending his own into the world was following that pattern.
If you are a believer you are a sent one in the same pattern that the Father established with his Son.
Even as the Lord Jesus Christ lived on earth to represent the Father, so we now live on earth to represent Christ.
Christ was sent to reveal the Father, to show forth his glory, and so believers are sent forth to show Christ's glory, which is the glory of the Father.
He was sent to seek and to save that which was lost.
We are to join in that effort by pointing the lost to Jesus Christ.
He seeks and he saves today through those whom he sought and saved.
Though his personal witness he saved the apostles and through their personal witness and the witness of those after them to this day all who are saved are saved.
He established the pattern.
He is indeed the head and those who have been born into his family through the new birth are his body.
They are his hands for helping, they are his feet for going, they are his mouth for preaching the Gospel.
Believers occupy His place.
Believers are to be witnesses for Truth as his body was a witness for truth.
As partakers of the heavenly calling we are now commissioned to represent him here below.
Being "sent ones" it is as if we are from heaven and are sent to this world in the same manner that the Father sent Jesus Christ.
Proof that believers are not of this world but simply pilgrims passing though on the way home to be with the head of the body.
John 17:19, And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
I sanctify myself. I will be obedient to the Father's will.
I will be obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
My obedience is not dependent upon my comfort, my obedience is even to the death of the cross.
That is true obedience.
I set myself apart, I dedicate myself, I consecrate myself, I separate myself for your sakes that you also may be set apart for the Father's will.
Jesus Christ gave his life that I may give my life for the Father.
Jesus Christ separated himself to do the Father's will that I may be separated to do the Father's will.
Without his separation, without his sanctification, without his death and shed blood I could not be sanctified through the truth.
Heb 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
How freely and voluntarily he laid down his life for the sake of his own!
And not only did he sanctify himself through the cross he is set apart on high as the glorified Man, the object of the believer's affections and his worship.
He is both sacrifice and Priest.
He entered into the Holy of Holies of the heavenly temple and sent forth his Holy Spirit who sanctifies through the truth those he saves.
This was only made possible because he sanctified himself through the cross.
Col 1:19,20 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
John 17:20,21 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Up to this point in the prayer of Jesus Christ it appears that he was only praying for his disciples.
But here in this portion and to the end of the High Priestly Prayer Jesus Christ links all believers to his disciples.
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ you can include yourself as one of the "them also."
... but for them also which shall believe on me through their word
He does not pray a different prayer for Christians who come later than he does for his disciples.
He did not forget believers of any age but prayed for all his own of every age.
He knows that the disciples word that they carry, will be effectual.
He prays for those which shall believe on him through their word.
What is the continuance chain from the disciples to every believer?
It is not the Baptist or Presbyterian or Lutheran or Methodist name, It is the word of God.
How does every believer join himself to John or Peter or Andrew?
Through the Word of God. That is the only constant, not some denominational name or grouping.
So He has prayed that the Father preserve them through his name.
He has prayed that they might have his joy fulfilled in them.
He has prayed that the Father keep them from evil.
He has prayed that He sanctify them, set them apart.
And He prays here that they be one, that they be unified in the same pattern that Jesus Christ and the Father are unified.
He is not here describing a physical or organizational union but a spiritual union of believers.
And that spiritual union is to be in accord with the word of God.
John 17:22, And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
This glory that Christ speaks of here is a glory that the Father had given him for his perfect work as the incarnate Son of God.
This is the glory of his perfect and sinless humanity as he revealed the Father to man.
This glory is the reward for his perfect work here on Earth.
Isaiah spoke of this glory when in Isa 53:12 he wrote: Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: ....
The writer of Hebrews in Heb 1:2,3 recalled the glory that the Father had given him for his work:
The father: Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Christ tells the Father that this glory he received for his work of redemption is to be shared with his own.
He verbalizes this to the Father so that you and I and the disciples will know that we are heirs to the glory that Christ received.
Paul in: Rom 8:17 amplifies this: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint‑heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
And again in Rom 8:30, Paul writes about this glorification of the believer: Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
"that they may be one, even as we are one:"
This oneness of the Father and Son and the believer will only be fully realized in the life to come.
It is begun at the new birth, encouraged and nurtured by the word of God through this life and realized when the believer is glorified in his new body.
This is no man-made unity, this is a God-made unity and only a unity of believers, a unity of the body of Christ.
John 17:23, I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
This is a prayer for the spiritual growth of the believer.
This is a prayer that God as the husbandman continue his work in those he has given to the Son, those that are the branches of the vine.
That they may be made perfect in one means that they may be conformed to the Son.
Perfect means complete or finished.
This is a prayer that the believer continue in the finishing school of the Father.
This is the school of God whose mission is to bring all in attendance to a conformance to Jesus Christ.
"That they may be one" is not about our standing with God, but about our state with God.
Our standing with God is assured in Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit of God, the headmaster of God's finishing school, continues the perfecting process or the finishing process and he will continue this process until we receive our new bodies, until we are glorified.
Our state is not yet equal to our standing with God.
But if you are a believer you are on the upward way and at the rapture, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye your state will be brought up to your standing instantly and eternally.
And the prayer "that they may be one" will be fully realized.
As Paul writes in Eph 4:13, Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
The stature of the fullness of Jesus Christ is the measuring stick by which all believers are judged.
The Husbandman will prune the branch till it fits the vine.