The Sanctification of Christ
John 17:18-19
As you have sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.…


1. He devoted Himself by inward resolve. God His Father had devoted Him before. It only remained that this devotion should be completed by His own will. In that consisted His sanctification of Himself. This self-sanctification applies to the whole tone and history of His mind. He was for ever devoting Himself to work: but it applies peculiarly to certain special moments when some crisis came which called for an act of will.

(1) The first of these moments came when He was twelve years of age, "Wist ye not," &c. The Boy was sanctifying Himself for life and manhood's work.

(2) The next was in that preparation of the wilderness, the true meaning of which lies in this, that the Saviour was steeling His soul against the three-fold form in which temptation presented itself to Him in after life, to mar or neutralise His ministry.

(a) To convert the hard life of Duty into the comfort of this life: to use Divine powers only to procure bread of earth.

(b) To distrust God, and try impatiently some wild, sudden plan, instead of His meek and slow-appointed ways — to east Himself from the Temple, as we dash ourselves against our destiny.

(c) To do homage to the majesty of wrong: to worship evil for the sake of success: to make the world His own by force or by crooked policy, instead of by suffering. These were the temptations of His life, as they are of ours. Life thenceforward was only the meeting of that in fact which had been in resolve met already — a vanquished foe.

(3) He had sanctified Himself against every trial except the last — death: He had yet to nerve Himself to that. And hence the lofty sadness which characterizes His later ministry. The words as of a soul struggling to pierce through thick glooms of mystery, and doubt, and death, come more often from His lips: for instance, "Now is My soul troubled," &c.; "My soul is exceeding sorrowful"; and here in the text.

2. The sanctification of Christ was self-devotion to the truth. "Also" implies that what His consecration was, their's was. His death was not merely the world's atonement; it, with His life, was martyrdom to truth. He fell in fidelity to a cause — love to the human race. Let us see how His death was a martyrdom of witness to truth.

(1) He proclaimed the identity between religion and goodness. He distinguished religion from correct views, accurate religious observances, and even from devout feelings. He said that to be religious is to be good. "Blessed are the pure in heart, the merciful, the meek." Justice, mercy, truth — these He proclaimed as the real righteousness of God.

(2) He taught spiritual religion. God's temple was man's soul.

(3) He struck a deathblow at Jewish exclusiveness. For God loved the world, not a private few. Because of all this the Jewish nation were offended. By degrees — priests, Pharisees, rulers, rich and poor — He had roused them all against Him: and the Divine Martyr of the truth stood alone at last beside the cross, when the world's life was to be won, without a friend.

3. The self-sanctification of Christ was for the sake of others "For their sakes." He sanctified Himself that He might become a living, inspiring example, firing men's hearts by love to imitation. In Christ there is not given to as a faultless essay on the loveliness of self-consecration, to convince our reason how beautiful it is; but there is given to us a self-consecrated One — a life that was beautiful, a death that was divine — and all this in order that the spirit of that consecrated life and death, through love, and wonder and deep enthusiasm, may pass into us, and sanctify us also to the truth in life and death.

II. CHRIST'S SANCTIFICATION OF HIS PEOPLE. Those whom Christ sanctifies are separated from two things.

1. From the world's evil (ver. 15). The only evil — sin: revolt from God, disloyalty to conscience, tyranny of the passions, strife of our self-will in conflict with the loving will of God. This is our foe — our only foe that we have a right to hate with perfect hatred, meet it where we will, and under whatever form, in church or state, in false social maxims, or in our own hearts. By the blood of His anguish — by the strength of His unconquerable resolve — we are sworn against it — bound to be, in a world of evil, consecrated spirits, or else greatly sinning.

2. From the world's spirit. He is sanctified by the self-devotion of His Master from the world, who has a life in himself independent of the maxims and customs which sweep along with them other men. His true life is hid with Christ in God. His citizenship is in heaven.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

WEB: As you sent me into the world, even so I have sent them into the world.

The Nature of Sanctification
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