Maundy Thursday – The Spread of Glory
As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified (John 17: 18-19).
The form of these two verses is striking. Jesus compares and equates his coming into this world to our going out into our world. Jesus was sent by his Father for a mission, a purpose, a holy calling. He left his heavenly home to venture into the far country in order to proclaim the coming of the kingdom of God. He came to reveal the heart of the Father, to bring salvation for sinners, to give sight to the blind and to set the captives free. In Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, he acknowledges before his Father that just as he was sent, so he sends us. You and me. He sends us into the world that is foreign to us (remember from yesterday that this is the world that hates us because we are not one of them). And just as Jesus came with his message and calling, so we are sent to proclaim God’s kingdom, call people to repentance, demonstrate the love of God, heal the sick and proclaim freedom to all who would call upon his name.
For this special work, Jesus was sanctified, which means being set apart, consecrated for a holy work. It is a preparation as the High Priest would do before entering the Holy of Holies. As the priest prepared to bring a sacrifice to the altar, Jesus prepares to be the sacrifice on the cross. For this work of sacrificial love, Jesus was set apart, sanctified.
And so are we. On this Maundy Thursday, when Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, he set himself apart through the bread and wine. Paul reminds us, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). By eating this bread and drinking this cup, we accept our commissioning. We are set apart or sanctified, in order to be sent out. And as we go, we spread the name of Jesus and the glory of God throughout the world, starting in our own neighborhood.
How then shall we live if we have been sanctified, set apart and sent out just as Jesus was?
Encouragement for the Day
There is one more word in this text we must not miss. We are sent out in truth. That is, wherever we go, we go in the name of Jesus, the one who came full of grace and truth (John 1:14), the one who proclaimed that he was the truth (John 14:6), and it is this truth that sets us free (John 8:32). Live in that confidence and freedom as you journey to the cross.
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your son into this world for me. Dearest Jesus, thank you for being willing to be set aside, sanctified as an offering for my sins. Holy Spirit, thank you for filling me and sending me out to proclaim this good news to the world. I pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit I may live my life sanctified unto God – walking in spirit and truth and living my life in total dependence upon You, to Your praise and glory. In Jesus name. Amen.