John 17:6-19 Jesus Sanctifies His Own

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 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. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

Jesus Sanctifies His Own

With Jesus there is an in group and an out group which is problematic.  People today struggle with the idea of exclusion.  However, justice and relationship demand boundaries and boundaries speak of inclusion and exclusion.  I set boundaries to know those who are on the inside and those who are on the outside.  If someone commits a crime, we exclude them from society for the safety of those who are left.  If someone chooses not to be our friend, we do not force them to consider themselves as a friend to us.  Inclusion and exclusion are a fact of a healthy life.  This is only true, though, if the reasons for inclusion and exclusion are sound.

In Jesus’ prayer he indicates an in group and an out group.  He shows in other passages of John that he is concerned for the broader community, however, in his prayer he shows that he is devoted to his disciples in a deeper way.  In any relationship, it can only go as deep as both parties will let it.  Those who do not pursue Jesus do not get the rewards that relationship with Jesus brings.  Relationship with Jesus brings unity with the Father.  There is a Trinitarian air to Jesus’ words in John.  One finds oneself in the Father, in the Son and in The Spirit all at once.

Because we are chosen by Jesus and are His, we are not the same as the world outside that does not choose Jesus.  We are to let that difference be seen.  We do not need to fight to assimilate our values and our morals.  Contextualizing the gospel is just an outside change.  We might change how we present ourselves to men or women or Dutch or Jewish people.  However, the essential nature of the gospel is the same.  Jesus sets himself apart for the service of God and we are set apart.  We find ourselves in a relationship with Jesus and we work at it.  However, it is imperative that we keep our eyes focused on Jesus and our relationship with him and not primarily focused on the work.  The work is a byproduct of the relationship.  The relationship is not produced by the work.


Jesus, you prayed for us and now I pray to you.  Let me know what it means to be unified with the Father.

Father, through your Son let me know what it is to grow in relationship with you.  This mystery is too deep for me to fathom.


  1. Why does Jesus pray in front of his disciples?
  2. Why isn’t everyone included in Jesus’ prayer?
  3. What might a sanctified disciple look like?
  4. How does this prayer apply to you?
  5. Are you okay being part of an exclusive Jesus club?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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20 Responses to John 17:6-19 Jesus Sanctifies His Own

  1. Jenna says:

    1. He wants them to know Who He is and how much He loves them.
    2. Because not everyone is Jesus’ disciples; Jesus is praying specifically for those who believe in Him.
    3. Jesus describes them as being “one” – with each other and with Himself, like in John 15 – abiding in Christ, obeying Him, and loving one another.
    4. Because I believe in Jesus, Jesus prays that I would be one with the Body of Christ, as the Father and the Son are one.
    5. Yes! I am so grateful that I have been chosen by God!

  2. Janice says:

    1. Jesus prays in front of His disciples because He wants them to understand His will for them to be in relationship with the Father.
    2. Not everyone is included in Jesus’ prayer because not everyone follows Him and is in relationship with Him.
    3. A sanctified disciple is one with God and with one another.
    4. This prayer applies to me because Jesus has drawn me into relationship with Him and the Father and His Spirit is conforming me into His image and conforming my will to God’s will.
    5. Yes, I am grateful to be adopted into God’s family. Enjoying relationship with Him causes me to share His love with others urging them to join in and experience His perfect love.

  3. Ed says:

    I’m great being saved through Christ. My next thought is to save lives by planting seeds.
    ” We Glorify God “

  4. Beth Coale says:

    1. just to say something different… maybe hearing Him pray for them brought them peace and courage
    2. because they are the ones that need specific help for their circumstances and what they are being called to do
    3. devoted (above everything else) and dwelling in Christ
    4. because I am also a follower of Jesus, I am also His!
    5. I don’t like the idea of being exclusive, but it’s something we can welcome others into. I love to think that I am His and that I belong to the greater body of the church.

  5. Rachel says:

    Jesus’ club is different in that its goal is to include. Jesus prays to show his disciples that he is relying on his Father and to show the unity of God. His prayer applies to me because I am a member of the body who is included in Christ. I can be a part of this exclusive club because he has included me and he will use me to include others in himself.

  6. Mary says:

    I happened upon this devotional (I am always dabbling in different things, and am so glad, because it made me think deeply—that darn John Piper, he is known for his deep thinking and feeling, and provoking others to do the same—I should’ve known this wouldn’t be an easygoing read).

    Title: Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent (Introduction)

    Thesis: What Jesus wants most for Christmas is that his elect be gathered in and then get what they want most— to see his glory and then savor it with the very savoring of the Father for the Son.
    (John Piper’s interpretation/application of John 17:24)

    My reflection:
    I think it is obvious why God sent Jesus to save us, we say it over and over again: to restore our broken relationship with Him. But, do we ever stop to think why he created us in the first place? This question in turn provoked me to ask an even more basic question…who is God? Just when I think I am about to move on to what appears to be an in-depth aspect of doctrinal truth, I find myself moving right back to the foundation…So here we go.

    The most basic level of who God is, I think, is his relational quality: God is holy trinity, Father, Son, and Spirit, equally and eternally in perfect fellowship and unity. His speaking and acting are an overflow of who he is, and out of his primary relational being, perfect love comes forth (or as Dr. Clark likes to say: “love begets love”); thus creation is born. He is the originator, initiator, and exact standard of love, and creation is an overflow of who He is, a product of His being. With his love he fashioned us in His own image.

    So who are we are why are we here? Because we are personal beings, we are only who we are in relation to God and to one another, and we only understand who we are as we understand who He is, as He makes Himself known to us, and makes ourselves known to us. Grudem says that our purpose in life is to glorify God and to enjoy Him (Isa. 43:7; 62:5; Zeph. 3:17-18; Jn. 10:10). I would agree that we have a God-ordained function to fulfill, which comes out of who we are as His children, but I am not altogether sure the full meaning of the word “glory”, which is why we were created, according to Isaiah 43:7. I do agree that our purpose is to worship and enjoy God, but that is only our function, which I do not think describes who we are and why we He created us to begin with.

    Like our Father, we are relational and spiritual beings. As such, we long for relational and spiritual fulfillment. Material things cannot satisfy these intrinsic needs, for they were created to meet our physical needs only. It is God alone who satisfies this deepest longing of ours (Psa. 16:10; 73:25-26; 84:1-2, 10). Unfortunately, fallen humanity tries to fill the void with the material, especially at this time of year, when we should be celebrating the first Advent of Christ and looking forward to the second Advent, when our image will be fully restored and that longing completely and eternally thereafter satisfied.

    Ok, so my conclusions after going in circles: We are an outflow of God’s perfect love and fellowship, designed to be in love and perfect fellowship with Him. NOT created to perform or fulfill a function, though there is order and submission of roles, even so within the Trinity. I humbly decline the notion that we were created to worship Him, as God does not need us; however, our love, praise, and adoration is an overflow of who we are in Him and the joy and satisfaction we receive from being in relationship with Him, and thus we rejoice in each other.

    Lord – I pray that we grow in intimate experiential knowledge of your love this Advent season, and that it causes us to overflow in love, praise, and adoration of the One who created us, redeemed us, and is sanctifying us. I love these words that the CMA holds to, which portray what you have done for us and are yet doing today in the lives of your sons and daughters: Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King. Help us not get ensnared by materialism this Advent season, but keep our focus on you, and help us proclaim you boldly in word in deed to the lost around us. Amen.

  7. zacbodine says:

    Verses 11 and 12 stick out to me most of this whole passage. It is just really crazy to think that we are workers of Christ for Christ. There is also a moment of what seems to be a reference to Judas. I always wonder about Judas. Anyway…I like that Jesus prays in front of the disciples to teach them and to exemplify what prayer is. The “Jesus club” thing, I do not know. I am happy to be in relationship with Jesus and incorporated into his body, the church. But right now I’m thinking of this “modern” parable someone once told me.

    A man dies and goes to heaven. At the gates he sees Saint Peter as he walks closer to the gate he sees his friends some atheists, some God-knows-what. He goes to the gates and is about to go inside when he says to Saint Peter, “What about them?” Saint Peter responds, “Well, you know the rules.” So the man with one foot in heaven and one foot out thinks about his reference point “Jesus the outsider, the drunkard…the friend of sinners, the one who would always stay with those who are oppressed” He says “I think I’ll stay out here” Saint Peter then smiles and says “Finally you understand.”

    So, in one aspect I am okay with being in this group but my heart always has sympathy for the outsider. It is when our group stops caring for the outside that we fail. We become like the vain queen in all those fairy tales look at her reflection and destroying all who do not find her beautiful. I am dealing with this now.

  8. sjcavitt says:

    1) Jesus prays in front of his disciples to show His relationship with His Father and with the Spirit. His prayer is an example of how the disciples can also pray.
    2) Not everyone is included in His prayer because He is praying for those who are in relationship with Him.
    3) A sanctified disciple is someone who is set apart from those who are not in relationship with Jesus.
    4) This prayer shows how Jesus is in relationship with His Father, so I can also be in relationship with Him.
    5) Honestly, part of me seems a bit uncomfortable with the “exclusive” label, because it sounds like a clique or club. When thinking about it further, I know I am set apart because of my relationship with Jesus. For that, I am thankful!

  9. Amy McCashen says:

    I think Jesus prays in front of his disciples as an example for them. Not only does he want them to hear what he is asking God for and the power and authority God has given him, but I think there is also a benefit in listening to a godly man pray. I remember when I had just graduated high school I went on a missions trip to Israel on a discipleship team. My leader prayed out loud and even let us sit in on his quiet times occasionally as he would read the Bible/pray out loud. It was very beneficial to see and learn how a wiser older follower of Jesus prayed and worshiped God in his personal time. I want to know Jesus as deeply and intimately as that man did.

  10. What might a sanctified disciple look like?
    A “set apart” one to do the will of the Father. One who is sanctified through being saved and who is ln the process of being sanctified through living in Christ as a new creation.

  11. ashleypdye says:

    1. Jesus prays in front of the disciples so that they know that the father hears him.
    2. Not everyone is included in Jesus’ prayer because not everyone is included into a relationship with him.
    3. A sanctified disciple might look like one who is growing “further up and further in” to Jesus…
    4. This prayer is of infinite comfort to me. I belong to God.
    5. Yes, I am thankful to be in it. I just wish everyone could be a part of it.

  12. Nick says:

    He prays in front of them as an example of his relationship to God. Not everyone is included because he is praying for those that are in relationship with him and not everyone was in a relationship with him. A sanctified disciple looks like someone that is in relationship with God and not in the world.

  13. Dylan says:

    1. When someone is going through difficult times and admits they needs God’s help, we often pray ‘over’ them, in their presence. Jesus knows all, he knows the disciples need to know his love for them so he prays over them.
    2. Jesus excludes the ones who have and will ultimately reject him from his prayer. Love does not force and love is just.
    3. A sanctified disciple consistently shows resistance to worldy ways. Though they may stumble, they repent of their sins and are open to counseling from other believers. They are good to those who hate them not just the ones who return kindness gladly. They are willing to die for the sake of the gospel.
    4. To be unified with the father through Christ is complete joy and to be living in truth.
    5. I am glad to be part of the Jesus club. However, when I remember that Jesus said the world will hate me I become a little uneasy. Sometimes I see my friends and others drawn to the ways of Jesus that I display. I wonder then, if I tell them the reason why I do this, will they hate me? Am I doing this all for the wrong reasons? I never deny Jesus but I also realize to know good and not to do it is sin. I want to be joyful in persecution for my beliefs. Perhaps God does not think I am ready for this. I feel I haven’t experienced much of this. Yet, perhaps I have and God has carried me through it so as I haven’t even noticed.

  14. karas says:

    I think Jesus prays to set an example but also so they can overhear His prayer and know what He is asking for them. Jesus prays specifically for His own. I feel so incredibly privileged to be one of His, and this prayer shows me that I am being sanctified. I am being brought into truth and refined by it, or by experiencing Jesus, who is the Truth.

  15. Bethany says:

    1) Jesus wants his disciples to understand how badly he wants them to be in relationship with the Father.
    5) I am so happy to be in “Jesus Club”. Usually when I think of exclusive clubs I think of a clique in a high school, but that kind of inclusive attitude is too make everyone else feel uninvited and unwelcome. The purpose of Jesus Club is to seek and include those who have a serious desire to be new members.

  16. Kathleen says:

    Are you okay being part of an exclusive Jesus club?
    When I hear “exclusive Jesus club”, I tense up at first. For me the word “exclusive” has a slightly negative connotation. I think of fancy elite clubs where rich people go and flaunt their wealth. Obviously this is not what Jesus is talking about in his prayer. I am thankful for being apart. I wish that all people were in the club.

  17. Jessica says:

    Are you okay being part of an exclusive Jesus club?
    I am. I feel safety in this club. I know that Jesus loves me and there is absolutely nothing I did to enter the club and absolutely nothing I can do to lose my “membership.” I am His forever and he loves me!

  18. nataliaria says:

    I do not know if an explicit answer to this question is provided anywhere in Scripture, but I believe that Jesus prays in front of the disciples in order to model for them how to interact with God (as in the Lord’s prayer) as well as that they might be a witness to the prayers that He prays, and the ways God answers.

    The “exclusive” aspect of this prayer reflects the fact that there is a group of people who Jesus considers as belonging to Him, which individuals Jesus views as different than those of the world. I suppose another answer could be that this prayer reflects the aspect of God’s sovereignty wherein He elects from amongst all humanity those who will turn and respond to His voice, becoming His.

    A believe a sanctified disciple can be identified in one way. First, that they are sanctified indicates that they are set apart from the world, and do not look completely like the world, and nor do they allow the world to draw them away from the Lord. Secondly, they are a disciple in that they are consistently following the Lord, and are growing in depth of relationship with Him.

    I think partially because of living in such a “tolerant” culture, as well as growing up in a family where exclusion was not tolerated, I am a little uncomfortable with the idea of being a part of an exclusive group to which others are not invited. However, I know that to say that smacks not of humility but of ingratitude for what Christ has done in allowing me to become a part of Himself and a part of the Trinity, which is a unity to which I certainly have no right to belong- and yet am brought into. As such, this prayer applies to me quite personally because Jesus us speaking about those who are His, of which I am one.

  19. Sarah Deurbrouck says:

    1. Why does Jesus pray in front of his disciples?
    That they may know the truth and intimacy between Christ and the Father.
    2. Why isn’t everyone included in Jesus’ prayer?
    Because they do not belong to Christ.
    3. What might a sanctified disciple look like?
    Jesus Christ.
    4. How does this prayer apply to you?
    We are called to pray without ceasing, presenting our requests to God. Just earlier, Jesus said that we can ask for anything and God will give it to us. I must continue to pray, communicating with my Father.
    5. Are you okay being part of an exclusive Jesus club?
    Haha, yes, very much. Without being in such a club, there is no eternal life.

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