"For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified." (John 17:19)

Jesus is continuing his open prayer to the Supreme Being. But what does this mean?

Remember that "them" is referring to Jesus' students and disciples who have been following him. But why would Jesus need to be sanctified so that they too will be sanctified?

The word "sanctified" is being translated from the Greek word ἁγιάζω (hagiazō), which can mean, according to the lexicon, to be "purified" or "cleansed" - but this is only a shadow of the full meaning of this word as Jesus is using it.

And this element - to "sanctify" or "purify" - is misunderstood by ecclesiastic sectarian institutions and their teachers, slanting the entire message of Jesus.

You see, ecclesiastic sectarian institutions have completely missed the meaning of purification or sanctification that is being taught by Jesus. Because their primary goals are related to gaining followers - they have slanted the translations of Jesus' teachings to the extent possible to be about the self-centered desire of becoming "saved."

This of course is connected with the threat of "going to hell" - which is the trap that has been set for innocent people to be compelled to join their institutions and become their followers. They have made the case that we will go to hell if we do not become their followers and join their institutions. Thus we follow them while paying for their lavish salaries, living quarters and pope mobiles.

This is the attraction of being "saved" - the prospect of becoming saved from going to hell just by accepting that Jesus died for my sins. Wow - so easy.

And this brings us to the deeper meaning of Jesus' use of the word "sanctify" - coming from the Greek word ἁγιάζω (hagiazō).

Besides the element of purification, the lexicon states that ἁγιάζω (hagiazō) means:

"- to render or acknowledge, or to be venerable or hallow
- to separate from profane things and dedicate to God
- consecrate things to God
- dedicate people to God"

So here we get a glimpse of the deeper meaning of Jesus' statement in his prayer. He is talking about the purification that comes from dedicating oneself to God - and it is this dedication that produced the ability for Jesus to then bring his students to the point where they too could dedicate themselves to the Supreme Being.

What Jesus is really discussing is a change of heart - which in turn purifies ones consciousness. It is the changing of ones purpose and objectives in life from being self-centered to being God-centered.

Jesus wants to change the hearts of his students and disciples - thereby purifying their consciousness. But he knows that he can only do that if he himself is purified. And he doesn't assume that he is pure (even though most certainly he is) because Jesus is humbling himself before the Supreme Being.

Let's say that a wealthy business owner becomes the benefactor of a poor young man and gives him a great job and gives him a big salary and the supervision over many others. Now let's say the young man is in the owner's office and he is talking about himself and those he supervises. Will the young man proudly say how great he is and deserving of his big salary and big job? No. Because he knows all he has is a result of the kindness of the business owner, he will be respectful, reminding himself and his boss that his big job and salary are only the result of the kindness of the owner.

In the same way - but even moreso - Jesus humbly submits himself to the Supreme Being in this prayer. His approach to God is not one of being proud of his purity. He is stating that his purification is a result of the Supreme Being's mercy.

Ecclesiastic sectarian institutions made a big mistake about Jesus. They tried to build him up to be the Supreme Being, or at least some sort of "God became man" or something.

Yet Jesus is not the Supreme Being - evidenced here in this prayer to God. Would Jesus be praying to himself?

No. Jesus isn't the Supreme Being. He is God's loving servant and God's representative.

And this is the reason that Jesus himself admits that he needs to dedicate himself to the Supreme Being and his position is the result of God's mercy. He doesn't come off with a statement of pride - like he is so great that he can help purify others by himself. No. He admits that his ability to raise the consciousness of his students (purifying them) comes from the Supreme Being.

This is confirmed by many other statements by Jesus, including:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free..." (Luke 4:18)
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work." (John 4:34)
"For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken." (John 12:49)
So it is clear that Jesus is representing the Supreme Being. He is God's messenger.

So what about Jesus' saving people? Can he do this? Yes, but not in the way ecclesiastic sectarian institutions have been teaching. Consider Jesus' clear statement:
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24)
Does this say anything about Jesus' needing to die on the cross to save anyone? Absolutely not, because Jesus never taught this.

It is clear from Jesus' teachings that what will save a person is hearing and applying Jesus' teachings ("hears my word" - "word" is translated from the Greek word λόγος (logos) which is better translated to "teachings") - and "believes Him who sent me."

Jesus is not saying that all people have to do is believe in God and they are saved. That would be way too easy. That would make even the most demoniac person - who might believe God exists but still rejects Him - saved.

So what does "believes Him who sent me" mean? Actually "believes" is not a good translation here. The word "believes" is being translated from the Greek word πιστεύω (pisteuō), which means, according to the lexicon, to "place confidence in" or to "trust."

Jesus is talking about trusting in the Supreme Being. Relying upon the Supreme Being. To rely upon a person also includes depending upon that person. Jesus is talking about not only trusting in the Supreme Being, but surrendering our lives to the Supreme Being - and having confidence that He will take care of us. This is what the word πιστεύω (pisteuō) indicates within the context of that statement.

This also ties perfectly with Jesus statement in his prayer, where "sanctify" is being used. The fact that Jesus is talking about dedicating himself to God is clear. But we also find that Jesus' motivation is not for himself. He is not interested in his own purification. He says clearly:
"For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified."
"For them" means that Jesus is dedicating himself to God for their benefit. This is equivalent to an offering. Jesus is offering himself to God - not for his own benefit, but for the benefit of his students. He doesn't care about his own spiritual life - or about being "saved." He only wants them to be purified - and thus receive the benefits of Jesus' teachings.

And what is that benefit? That they become lovers of God. That they renew their loving relationship with this Supreme Being - and thus dedicate their lives to God.

And we must also engage part of the meaning of ἁγιάζω (hagiazō) here within the context of Jesus' teachings:
"to be venerable or hallow." Yes, Jesus wants us to "hallow" the Supreme Being. To "hallow" means to praise Him and glorify Him and His Holy Name. Jesus confirms this in this instruction:
“This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name...." (Matt. 6:9)
To "hallow" God's Holy Name means to repeat and praise God's Name. It means to glorify God's Holy Name.

Jesus wants them - and all of us - to be happy. And this is only accomplished when we dedicate ourselves to the Supreme Being - venerating Him, glorifying Him, serving Him.

Why? Because the Supreme Being is our Best Friend. He is the person we are looking for as we look for someone to share our lives with. He is the person we are looking for as we look for that special someone to fall in love with and spend our lives with.

This is why Jesus' most important teaching (λόγος (logos))- is:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)



(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Gospel of John without sectarian influence, see the Gospels of Jesus  - translated from the original Greek texts.)