John 17:18


The sense of apostleship must enter into all true Christian work. The Lord Jesus takes but the rank of an apostle - speaks to his Father as having made him an apostle into the world. He grows up to manhood, not as other lads in Nazareth, to choose an occupation and walk in life for himself, but to take a path divinely chosen. He both is sent and knows well who sent him. The highest good is only to be got out of the Lord Jesus by treating him according to his apostleship. Treating Jesus otherwise than as sent, we insult and slander him. He comes not with his own claim, but with the claim of the invisible Father.

I. THE APOSTLESHIP OF JESUS. "Thou didst send me into the world." That is the feeling of Jesus, and we must not dispute it. Not a discourse of Jesus, not a deed of Jesus, but has stamped across it, "Sent of the Father." Sent into the world:

1. For the world's need. None the less so because multitudes live and die, practically denying the need of Jesus. Everything depends on what is aimed at. A man may say reading and writing are not necessary because he has been able to carry bricks and mortar all his life without knowing how to read and write. But it is plain that Jesus Christ has become a necessity to many, for they have died rather than deny him. To say that we need him not only proves our own blindness and self-ignorance. God sends no causeless messengers. If human prophets, entirely of the lineage of humanity had been enough, Jesus would never have come.

2. For the glory of the Sender. He expressly says, "I have glorified thee on the earth." We are to judge of the Sender by the Messenger. Jesus was qualified to speak and act freely and largely, out of a heart that was in full harmony with the heart of God. He could adapt himself without the slightest hesitation or failure to the ever-varying wants of men. Many had come before him and walked and talked with men in the name of God, avowing that they were the mouthpieces of Jehovah, and beginning their addresses with, "Thus saith the Lord." But then the consciousness of an evil heart and an imperfect life was upon them all. Isaiah says, "Woe is me... I am a man of unclean lips!" But no one ever heard Jesus speak in this fashion. Those who have not yet beheld in Jesus the glory of the eternal God have yet to receive him in spirit and in truth.

II. THE CONSEQUENT APOSTLESHIP OF THE SERVANTS OF JESUS. Jesus was going from the world, and had to send others into the world to continue his work. They must be such as the world can take knowledge of. And Jesus sent them into the world as he himself was sent, for the world's great need and the increase of the glory of God. Then in due season, their apostleship being over, they were gathered into the invisible. But Jesus went on sending, and has gone on sending ever since. "Missionary" is only a more modest word for "apostle." All of us must have some apostleship in us, or we can do little for Jesus. And all manifest and special apostles we should ever observe and encourage, holding up their hands, and considering their appeals with understanding minds and sympathizing hearts. He who receives the apostle receives Jesus, and he who receives Jesus receives the Father who sent him. - Y.









As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I sent them into the world.
It is our privilege to enter at once, by the open door of this utterance, into the interior of our Lord's ideas. He speaks of missions and missionaries. Addressing His Father, He says, "Thou didst send into the world." It was a Divine mission, with reference to a most necessitous field of missionary operation. He says, "Thou didst send Me into the world." Other missionaries were and are required to carry on the great transformation movement inaugurated by the ideal Missionary. They were required to "fill up that which was behind" of His "labours of love," and His afflictions for the gospel's sake. Hence the institution of a new mission by the ideal Missionary, a mission modelled after that of His Father: "As Thou didst send Me into the world, even so sent I them into the world." The Saviour speaks as if He had already moved in person out of the present time into the future, and were looking back to the past. But these apostolic missionaries were not to be the last who would spread themselves out on the field of the world. The work that required to be done would not be finished when their labours were drawing to a close. The generation to which they belonged, having replaced a generation that went before, would itself pass on, and another would come in its room. On the heroes of that generation it would devolve to "fill up that which was behind" of the apostles' labours and sorrows. Hence the Lord Jesus said to His Father, "But not for these alone do I ask, but for them also who shall believe on Me through their word." His mind was looking forward to the living results of the labours of the apostles, and, in these living results, to the first of many successive relays of missionary workers. He prayed, giving earnest expression to an agony of desire, that nothing might impede the progressive subjugation to Himself of the whole world. "I ask, that they all may be one," &c. Our Lord saw from afar the danger of rivalry and dissension among His disciples. He saw that such dissensions would involve disunion in missionary operations at home and abroad; that such disunion meant reduced efficiency all along the straggling lines of the sacramental host; and that such reduced efficiency meant the reduction of the numbers of those who would believe in His mission, and come under the purifying influence of His own and His Father's love. It is but another aspect of this intense longing of our Lord, that, He says, "And for their sakes I sanctify Myself," or, "I consecrate Myself," i.e., "I am, all along the line of My mediatorial career, consecutively consecrating Myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth." It is a grand system of mutual co-operation that is needed; and when all Christian missionaries, in all mission-fields, at home and abroad, become thus co-operative, and hence consecrated after the model of our Lord's consecration, then the bells of heaven may at once be set ringing, in jubilant peals, over the triumph of Christianity.

I. THE AIM WITH WHICH THE MODEL MISSION WAS INWARDLY FORMED AND INSPIRED. It originated in the mind, or, to go further into the interior of things, in the heart of the Divine Father. God felt compassion for men. Hence, His determination to send a Missionary into our human world. It was a determination of pure benevolence. Therein was its goodness, grandeur, glory. Dwelling in His own immensity, as the infinitely happy God, afar from the children of men, and yet near, He beheld them in their misery. The world was full of woes, in consequence of the wickedness of men. Unless the Lord Himself should interpose, what can be expected from roots of bitterness found everywhere — what but the fruits of pessimism and despair? But God has interposed, finding His opportunity in man's extremity. "Thou," says Jesus, "hast sent into the world," that is, Thou hast instituted a mission in reference to this world, and it has resulted in the purest "labour of love." It is nothing less than to bring God's own holy happiness within the reach of His human creatures.

II. THE WAYS AND MEANS EMPLOYED BY THE GREAT IDEAL MISSIONARY TO CARRY OUT THE AIMS OF HIS FATHER

1. He entered intimately and entirely into the spirit of these aims (Psalm 40:7, 8).

2. By and by the grand ideal Missionary "came." His presence on the scene was indispensable. He came without loss of time — "in the fulness of the time." He "emptied Himself of all but love," and came.

3. After He came into our world, He did not take up His abode in some waste howling wilderness, and spend His days as a hermit, remote from the haunts of men. Nor did He take up His position on some conspicuous pillar like that of Simon Stylites, or on some "coign of 'vantage" in the architecture of society, and wave off the crowds that were surging around and jostling one another downwards. Far other was His plan. He mingled freely with the objects of His Father's solicitude. He was found ever radiating pure spiritual effluence, and radiant with pure spiritual influence, wherever men "did congregate."

4. It is noteworthy, besides, that while He did not avoid the society of the opulent and the cultured, yet He made His appearance among the humblest of those who were within the diocese of His missionary enterprise. In His sympathy with the poor, we have a pledge that the time is on the wing, though it may yet be remote, when all honest labour shall be equitably and generously rewarded, and when, in consequence, all the difficulties that beset the perplexing problem of right and righteous remuneration for work, shall, by the logic of love, be satisfactorily solved.

5. He ever went about "doing good," now preaching on the frequented shore, now praying on the solitary mountain slope, now teaching, or reasoning, or comforting, or feeding the hungry, or healing the sick, or enlightening the ignorant, or delivering those who, in their spirits or their bodies, were the unhappy victims of influences inhuman and malign.

6. Then He was "full," not merely of "grace," but of "truth"; and of "truth" not merely as the ethical excellency of absolutely veracious witnessing, not merely, in addition, as the sum of true ideas concerning both God and man, but likewise as the actual antitypical impersonation of the most significant shadows of former ages. He was the true Prophet; the true King; the only One whose authority may be unreservedly trusted even when absolute; the true Priest; the true Sacrifice for sins; the true Propitiator and Propitiation; the true Light that lighteneth the way upward for every man that entereth into the world; likewise the true illuminated Way to the house that is the Father's home.

7. He was, from the commencement of His missionary enterprise to its consummation, engaged in coming under the sins of all mankind without distinction or exception, so as to suffer by them and for them. Our sins became His sorrows and His sufferings, till His heart broke, and His self-sacrifice was complete.

III. For the very reason that the model mission culminated in the glorious propitiatory death of the ideal Missionary, its function as a mission became fulfilled, and room was made for the second great enterprise, with its peculiar complement of apostolic missionaries. They had, as far as was practicable, to take the Master's place on the mission-field, and to carry on the work He had inaugurated. We are thus launched into the third part of our missionary theme — the part that concerns THE RELATION OF THE APOSTOLIC AND ALL SUBSEQUENT MISSIONS AND RELAYS OF MISSIONARIES TO THE DIVINE IDEALS.

1. As it was our Lord Jesus who Himself was the Founder of the second great missionary enterprise, the aims inspiring that enterprise must have been in ecactest accord with the aims inspiring the original project of His Father — to save sinners from their sins, their inhumanities, their woes.

2. It has been within the reach of every Christian mission that has ever flourished, and it is within the reach of every Christian mission that now exists, to cultivate and cherish an exact accord with the aim which animated and informed the mission of our Lord. It was in the bosom of our humanity as well as of His own divinity that He framed and modelled His grand disinterested aim, so that we can get near Him in the ethical peculiarity of His project.

3. The "ways and means" of the great ideal Missionary may in part be imitated by all Christian missionaries. Like Him, they may be —

(1)sympathetic;

(2)ministrant;

(3)meek and lowly;

(4)habitually going about doing good;

(5)abounding in prayer.

4. Even when it is utterly impossible to do as Jesus did, as when in "solemn loneliness" He bore the sin of the world and made propitiation for it, still it is permitted to all Christian missionaries, from age to age, to take their stand by the side of the cross, and pointing aloft to the crucified One, to exclaim, "Look! the sight is glorious! Lo, the Lamb of God bearing, and bearing out of the way, the sin of the world! Look! and live."

5. It is a grand privilege to be linked on, as workers, to some disinterested missionary enterprise!

(James Morison, D. D.)

These words speak of a two-fold mission; Christ's mission from heaven to earth, and the Church's mission from Christ to the world. The former is at once the origin, model, and motive of the latter. The text suggests a correspondence between these two missions. They correspond —

I. IN THEIR AUTHORITY. Both are of Divine authority. God sent Christ into the world, and Christ sends the Church. Christians have a right to go into every part of the world to unfurl their banner on every shore, and fight the battles of the Lord. We want no licence from potentates to authorize us to preach the gospel, &c.

II. IN THEIR PRINCIPLE. What induced Christ to come into the world and inspired Him in working out His mission? All-embracing, disinterested, unconquerable love. The same must influence the Church, and no other feeling.

III. IN THEIR OBJECT. Why did He come? "To seek and to save the lost." "This is a faithful saying," &c. This is our work. We have to save from ignorance, carnality, worldliness, sin, the devil.

IV. IN THEIR MODE. Both are —

1. Spontaneous.

2. Self-denying.

3. Persevering.

4. Diligent.

5. Devout.

V. IN THEIR ENCOURAGEMENTS. Christ had —

1. The Divine presence; so has the Church.

2. The highest sympathy.

3. The assurance of success.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

Here are two impressive facts. One is that Jesus is holding converse with the Father about the conversion of the world, and the Christians whom He was to leave in it. The other is that Christ regards the mission of those Christians in the world as practically identical with His own. The two missions are identical.

I. IN THEIR PURPOSE AND MOTIVE-POWER. Christ's mission originated in the bosom of God, in view of an infinite calamity which had fallen on man. The race was hastening to a wrecked immortality. There was but one power that could arrest its fatal progress — Love. God was Love. Christ came to establish an empire of love, and to change the moral drift of the perishing race, The apostles caught this sublime thought. "If God so loved us, we ought to love one another." The scope of the Divine mission was universal, and hence, "All the world" became the watchword of the Christian ages. Hence, when Christ gathered a little band of followers, He pushed them out into the great world of want and woe and hate, along the line of His own career — "As Thou hast sent Me, so have I sent them."

II. IN THEIR METHODS.

1. He ignored "superior races" and civilizations, and pushed His truth out to the weakest and the lowest. With a "sublime radicalism" He goes after the most needy.

2. He recognized the essential slowness of the cause, and hence, taught and wrought with Divine patience, believing in the immortality of truth, and looking down through a long vista of years for results.

3. He ignored the principle of demand and supply, as utterly defective for the lifting of humanity. That principle aims to merely meet existing desires. Christ ignored desires and acted in view of needs. His method was to come where there was no demand for Him, but where there was an immeasurable need; and for love's sake, man's sake, God's sake, to thrust Himself upon the attention of men, when they wanted something else; thus creating a demand for spiritual life where none existed. Our mission is to proceed on the same principle. The apostles so acted. They went where there was no demand for them. The Macedonian cry which came to Paul was not the cry of the men of Macedonia, but the cry of the Spirit of God for Macedonia. These three principles should characterize our Christian methods.

III. IN THEIR REQUIREMENT OF THE SAME QUALIFICATIONS. The most impressive aspect of Christ's mission is its divine heroism — the total abandonment of Himself to the cause of the lost. This, too, must be true of the Christian disciple. To the man who really enters upon the Christian mission, every land is his fatherland, because man identified with Christ is greater than the world on which he works, and his final home is above.

IV. IN THEIR SOURCES OF HOPE, THEIR ASSURANCE OF SUCCESS. We are not to carry to the sin-sick world a doubtful remedy. We go to lost men as messengers of hope. The Christian's message is not simply a new law — that men have now; not a new philosophy — that has failed already; not merely a sense of guilt — there is no hope in that. What the world needs is a gospel of Hope. The story of the cross is such a gospel. The supreme theory of the Christian, then, is to grasp the Divine conception of his mission — to get Christ's view of the ideal man. The Greek ideal man was an elegant thinker; the Roman, a great ruler; the modern, a king of commerce. Christ's ideal man is he who, identified with God, heroically commits his consecrated powers to the service of God's suffering poor.

(J. Brand.)

Christ expects that His Church will be in the world as He was in these senses —

I. THAT THE MIND THAT WAS IN HIM SHALL BE IN HER. He has not overlooked the force of evil, so He expects —

1. Penitence to have its perfect work not ceasing until it grows in humility, and cleanses the spirit from viler tastes and sordid vices.

2. Faith that will perpetually fill the nature and lay claim to the gift of the Holy Spirit, using it in the development of grandest virtue.

3. That love will thrive in the heart, turning the tyranny of passion into a glow of piety.

4. That His Cross will charm the eye, and protect from destructive allurements.

5. That however lofty her effort she will not fail in it.

6. That she will look on men with the eye of pity, and spare not herself in the work of their redemption.

II. THAT THE CHURCH WILL ENGAGE IN THE SAME WORK AS OCCUPIED HIM. This naturally follows. There cannot be identity of spirit without identity of purpose and employment. It is not that the Church sets before herself some outward action as exactly reproducing that of Christ, but, looking with eyes like His through the agate windows of charity upon the needs of men, she sees wants which others overlook, and feels within herself some power to meet them; and using the power she has it grows until it flows out into the variety of usefulness which is the image of Him who went about doing good.

1. Are there children about her? She will feed the lambs and carry them in her bosom.

2. Do others neglect the old? She ministers to the solitude and decay of age.

3. Does the false world tread down the fallen? She lifts them to self-respect by the love and energy with which she reclaims them.

4. She checks Pharisaism by the glow of her real charity.

5. She cries to the multitudes, "Behold your God."

6. She engages in the absorbing effort to save the one sinner at the well. Her path may be obscure, but consecrating what she has she makes many rich. I do not ask has the Church realized all this; but is she aiming at it? Had she done so long ago, nations now lying in darkness would have been basking in the light of love.

III. THAT THE CHURCH WILL ENDURE THE SAME SACRIFICES AS HE ACCEPTED. Of course there is one part of the sacrifice which we cannot aspire to. But it is evident that no one can have the mind of Christ or do His work without being involved in sacrifices identical to the spirit in which they are accepted and the pain they involve with His. St. Paul speaks of the conflicts of Christ in his body, of being crucified with Christ, of being conformed to His death, &c. Sanctity will never be without its sorrows. You will be misunderstood and misrepresented.

IV. THAT THE CHURCH WILL BE SUFFICIENTLY EQUIPPED IN ALL SHE HAS TO DO AND BEAR. "My grace is sufficient for thee." Let that grow and it will conquer.

(R. Glover.)

I. THE MISSION OF THE DISCIPLES. "As Thou hast sent Me," &c. They were sent forth —

1. By the same authority as their Master. This language could not be used by any mere man, and is in harmony with "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." When a man knows what he can do, and has to do, he is in the fittest condition for doing it. Jesus knew that He was sent into the world, and for what; and He was equal to it. Whatever authority belonged to the Father in sending the Son into the world, belonged to the Son in sending forth His disciples.

2. For a kindred purpose. Christ was the Light of the world, but His radiance was to shine through them, so that they too were lights of the world. The mission of the Son of God was personal and peculiar, and could neither have extension nor repetition (Hebrews 9:26). To proclaim the power and purpose of His death was the mission of the disciples (connect John 18:37 with 2 Corinthians 4:2). The mission of the Master and that of the disciples coincide in that both were for the glory of God and the salvation of men.

3. To a similar experience. As the world treated the Master, so it treated the servants (John 15:29; Matthew 16:24). And as in the case of the Master, so in the case of His disciples now, "No cross, no crown."

II. THE CONSECRATION OF THE MASTER — "For their sakes," &c.

1. By Christ's sanctifying Himself we are to understand His devotement to the will of the Father, the surrender of Himself as a sacrifice for sin, the climax of which was at hand in the Cross "I sanctify Myself" is the language of One who had perfect control over His own course anal action; who was under no obligation to place Himself in the position of having to utter them. "He came not to be ministered unto," &c. Accordingly, His consecration was sacrificial (2 Corinthians 5:21). In the profoundest sense He consecrated Himself for man; our cause He undertook, our interests He had in view.

2. But how could this consecration be for the sanctification of His disciples? It had what may be called a legal power, making their consecration possible. The sacrifice which the Son of God presented was the ransom price of redemption. If Christ had not become a curse for us, the curse could not have passed from us, and man could not have been sanctified for God. What mere authority could not do, God effected through His only begotten Son. Truth in all its purifying and transforming power reached them through the consecration of their Lord; for thus they saw the things of God as they had never been unfolded before. Truth is —(1) The element of sanctification, the sphere in which it is realized and enjoyed. It is only when we are in the truth, when we know it, and are in Him that is true, that we can be sanctified.(2) The instrument. Through its influence within, wielded by the Divine Spirit, the soul becomes weaned from the world, separated from sin, and conformed to the image of God. It is not an outward service, an imposing ritual, an exciting ceremony, which can sanctify, but the truth of God, received into the heart, and applied by the Holy Spirit. "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." The entrance of the Divine Word gives light, and light is always for holiness.(3) The end, so that holiness shall become triumphant in the heart and the history. What is sanctification in every case but the reign of "truth in the inward parts"? To be true men, true to God, true to ourselves, and true to our fellow-creatures — so true in thought and feeling, in word and action, as to clearly reflect the image of our Father, is the highest ambition which as moral creatures we can cherish.

(J. Spence, D. D.)

Here are remarkable parallels, comparisons, connections: — "As — so," "Thou — Me," "I — them." "I sanctify Myself that they might be sanctified." The main thought of the text will come out under three words —

I. COMMISSION — "As Thou hast sent Me," &c. This is a style of speech which we find often in the lips of Christ; it indicates His unique personality. He says, for instance, in John 5., "As the Father raiseth up the dead," &c. He assumes and asserts prerogatives which belong to God. He does so here. This is the grandest act of God. All that we know of God seems to be consecrated in this act: "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." God, the Holy, saw with intense repugnance the pollution of men; God, the Creator, saw with grief the obliteration of His image in man. But the God of salvation had the thought of salvation. "God sent not His Son into the world to condemn," &c. What a wonderful parallel — "Thou didst send Me, and I send Thee!"

1. Take all the missionaries, preachers, teachers, devoted servants of God, all together, they do not equal the one Jesus. No; the parallel cannot be traced strictly in regard to the person sent, nor in regard to the special purpose of the sending. The specific purpose for which Christ came was to redeem men by His own precious blood. He trod the wine-press alone. Our blood, the blood of our martyrs, does not mingle with His atoning blood. But when we have said that we may say that there is a very close parallel between the Father's sending of Christ and of Christ sending of His apostles; for just as the great Father sees the world Christ sees it. And He has the Father's love; for does not He give Himself? Furthermore, He is with men, just as the great Father was always with His Son. And so Christ says: "I am with you always. Go, teach all nations."

2. Then, although we have a distinction between the persons, they are living men whom Christ sends, not books, messages, letters. We may print the gospel in all the languages of the world, and send them to all the world; but it will not save the world. Christ said: "I will send you." You must go out, living men and women, sinners saved, hearts through whom the great love has passed — you must be able to say: "This is a faithful saying," &c.

3. The sphere is the same. It is very interesting that though Christ confines His movements to a very small spot, yet He says, "I am come into the world." If the Prince of Wales had landed in Ireland, just visited Dublin, and then come home again, he might truly have been said to visit Ireland; and Christ comes to Palestine and says, "I have come into the world." He annexed the world by that act — linked it on to Himself. But it is needful that in a more literal sense the great Christ should visit the world; and so He chooses these men and says: "I send you into the world. Go into all the world," &c.

4. And He sends them with the same purpose, "Go to save." This is a very ennobling parallel. It is not a mere political or military mission, or a scientific undertaking; it is like that great act of God in sending down His Son — it is, indeed, an expansion of that act.

II. CONSECRATION.

1. Whenever an honest man accepts an office his next thought will be, "How can I best prepare for it?" The high priest must be born of the tribe of Levi — he must be without blemish personally; and after that there must be special ceremonies; and then he is consecrated, and may go within the veil. But is there anything so sublime as this the Son of God saying: "I sanctify Myself"? And do you notice He used the present tense — "I am sanctifying Myself"? Although the life of our Lord on earth was brief, He retained His connection with the human race. So we regard that thirty years, especially the last three, as a period of consecration on the part of the great Saviour. He was sanctified by His daily obedience, prayerfulness, self-denial; by His fierce, but always resisted, temptations; by His Gethsemane agony; by the Cross.

2. It is a solemn thought that we are to consecrate ourselves after the manner of Christ. We do not know much about it. We sing hymns of consecration, and there are some few consecrated people among us; but the average Christian is not a consecrated person. No; his religion is rather a matter of convenience — it is not allowed to interfere with his ordinary human life; but we are to make it, by the grace of God, like Christ's — a consecrated life. Now, that means we must set apart a life that gathers about one idea; it means, not the waters which are spread vaguely over a level surface, but the waters that are confined within deep banks and flow straight on; it means, not lines that are drawn in all directions, but radical lines that converge towards a centre. It means, therefore, that just as Christ fixed His thought upon the saving of the world, we should have our thoughts fixed on the saving of the world. As He regarded Himself as being here for no other purpose, we should regard ourselves as being here for no other purpose.

III. CONNECTION.

1. Christ consecrated Himself; He could do that. Can you or I have that strength to take this heavy, dull, carnalized humanity of ours and consecrate it? No; it mocks our endeavour, and we seem to lie a heavy carnal mass still. But see what Christ says: "I do this for their sakes." So we share in His own consecration. Thus He was a typical man, in whom, in a certain sense, humanity is contained; and His consecration is potentially the consecration of men.

2. His consecration is our complete atonement, the removal of all our guilt. Oh, what a blessed step that is towards consecration to know that your sins are forgiven!

3. And this consecration of Christ brings all heavenly blessing down; it wins the Spirit for us, and is the substance of Divine truth; so that through the truth, getting these thoughts of God's into our minds, and these great facts, and these holy influences, we become sanctified through the truth.

(S. Hebditch.)

For their sakes I sanctify Myself.
I. CHRIST'S SANCTIFICATION OF HIMSELF.

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.)

It is religion shining; the candle lighted, not hid under a bushel, but illuminating the house. It is the religious principle put into motion. It is the love of God sent forth into circulation, on the feet and with the hands of love to man. It is faith gone to work. It is charity coined into actions, and devotion breathing benedictions on human suffering, while it goes up in intercessions to the Father of all piety.

(Bp. Huntington.)

This devotion to God is in a sense imperfect, At the end of every day we acknowledge that we have failed to work out fully into all the details of the day the one purpose which has, by the grace of God, been the mainspring of our action; and that we have often chosen unsuitable means. But each day we learn better what will, and what will not, advance the purposes of God; and each day our one great purpose permeates more fully our entire thoughts, and more fully directs our entire activity. Moreover, each day brings to us fresh proofs of the faithfulness, power, and love of God, and thus increases the strength of the faith with which we lay hold of all the benefits promised in His Word. This daily submission to the guidance of the Spirit brings us more completely under His holy influence, and, since our entire Christian life takes the form of devotion to God; all spiritual progress may be spoken of as growth in holiness.

(Prof. Beet.)

As the external man perishes, so the inward is renewed day by day. As in the process of petrification, for every particle of wood washed away by the dropping well, another particle of stone is deposited in its place; so our sanctification goes on by a minute molecular change of the heart from stone to flesh, a process of depetrification. Little by little the flesh gives way to the Spirit, and more and more the spirit becomes accustomed to claim and enforce obedience.

(J. B. Heard, M. A.)

It is wonderful to see how the little events of our daily life tend to our sanctification, though we know it not at the time. Every week seems so like the other! But you know when the sculptor begins his work, he strikes great pieces off the block. Every stroke tells visibly. But, when the statue is nearly finished, he takes the fine chisel, and strikes off but a little dust at a time. You scarcely see the effects of the blow; yet then it is directed with most art and skill, — then the work is nearly done.

(Doing and Suffering.)

To gauge our process we must employ a measure of sufficient capacity. If we confine our attention to a few days or weeks, it is likely we shall be disappointed, being unable to perceive any advance. You must rather take in months and years. You shall stand by the seashore and be unable first to discover whether the tide ebbs or flows. It is only after diligent watching for an appreciable period that you decide that the sea is slowly but certainly advancing.

Look upon a holy man in his calling, and you shall find him holy: look upon him in the use of the creatures, and you shall find him holy: look upon him in his recreations and you shall find him holy. The habitual frame and bent of his heart is to be holy in every earthly thing that he puts his hand unto.

(T. Brooks.)

A holy life is made up of a number of small things. Little words, not eloquent speeches or sermons; little deeds, not miracles, nor battles, nor one great heroic act or mighty martyrdom made up the true Christian life. The little constant sunbeam, not the lightning, the waters of Siloam "that go softly" in the meek mission of refreshment, not the "waters of the river, great and many," rushing down in torrents, noise and force, are the true symbols of a holy life. The avoidance of little evils, little sins, inconsistencies, weaknesses, follies, indiscretions, imprudences, foibles, indulgencies of self and of the flesh; the avoidance of such little things as these goes far to make up, at least, the negative beauty of a holy life.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

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