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John 17:6-19 May 17, 2015

Posted by Ventura Dreamer in Blogroll.
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Jesus prayed to God before his arrest and crucifixion, thanking God for the people he was given to be his disciples. He speaks of past and future – of returning to God’s presence as before the world existed, of protecting these disciples who were God’s before meeting Jesus.

Having been taught by Jesus, he declares his disciples “do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.”

They will no longer do as much of society does, they will take the higher road and do and say what is right and just. For this, they (and all of us who follow)  will not be liked by many. In many cases, they will be hated and mistreated.  Jesus protected his disciples while he was with them. Now he asks our Father to protect and guide his followers; to sanctify them in the truth, as they are sent into the world to continue the work Jesus started.

Tricia Nowacki, this week’s Upper Room Disciplines devotion writer, notes that sanctification in various religious traditions generally sets the sanctified person apart for holiness. Closeness to God inevitably separates a person from worldly things.

Nowacki notes that this doesn’t mean we are to abandon the world. She reminds us that God lovingly created “the world” and so loved it that God chose to enter it and live as a human being. Not being of this world doesn’t mean to dislike or abandon the people, vegetation or creatures God created. The world’s “false idols” of great wealth and power, the concepts and ways of life that allow greed and violence and self-preservation above all else – these are the parts of “the world” that should be rejected.

Jesus indicates that the truth, God’s word, sanctifies – sets the believers apart from the world in service. They do not leave the world but receive divine protection as they operate in the world. We too are sanctified in God’s word – set apart – to do God’s work in the world.

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