Whole and Holy

Read: John 17:6-17

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. (v. 17)

What is Jesus’s desire for the church? On his last night, he took time to pray for his band of disciples—the future fledgling church—that they’d be whole and holy.

Jesus prayed that his disciples would be whole, not broken and scattered. He also prayed that the Father would protect them so they’d be one (v. 11). In his prayer, Jesus clarifies that if we hold fast to God’s Word, we will experience hatred from the world (v. 14). He doesn’t want us removed from this situation but rather protected within it (v. 15). Jesus isn’t telling us to retreat from the world by creating a whole separate Christian subculture. Instead, he prays that the Father would protect us from the evil one so we can be one, as the Son and the Father are one (v. 11).

Jesus also prays that his disciples, who eventually would become the church, would be holy. God’s people don’t belong to the world, but we live in it. God’s truth—embodied in Jesus himself and his teachings, and revealed to us in the Scriptures—makes us holy (v. 17). It sets us apart to live in a different way. We don’t live like those who belong to the world, who follow its patterns, morals, and virtues. We follow God’s ways as disclosed in his Word.

Right now, the church doesn’t always look very whole or holy. But Jesus’s prayer will be finally answered. God promises that the church will one day be just what his Son prayed it will be.

As you pray, ask Jesus to make his church whole and holy.

About the Author

Stephen Shaffer is the pastor at Bethel Reformed Church in Brantford, Ontario.

This entry is part 21 of 31 in the series Looking to Jesus