“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17, ESV).
When Jesus spoke this high priestly prayer just prior to His arrest and crucifixion, He sought to comfort His disciples in a number of ways. First, He comforted them with the fact that He would return to take them to where He would be: heaven (John 14:1-3). He continued to comfort them with His Holy Spirit who would serve as Helper (John 15:26, 16:7), Truthbearer (John 16:12-13), Paraclete, and many other functions.
But in John 17:17, Jesus comforts them with Basic Theological Principle #1: His Word is truth. And here, Jesus longs to sanctify them in this truth. They were to be set apart for holy use by His Word, the Word of Truth. Whatever else we discuss on theological matters, if we miss out on the trustworthiness of the Holy Writ, all other matters will be mere conjecture and speculation.
As a preacher and pastor, I could never enter the pulpit before my people with any sense of confidence and rest unless I have understood the nature of the Book from which I preach. This is not merely a great piece of literature; this is not some philosophical work by Immanuel Kant or Rene Descartes; this is not a great scientific work by Stephen Hawking. This is God’s Holy Word. And the truth contained in this makes all other literature, philosophy, or science look, as John Piper once said, like a first grade reader.
We hold the truth in our hands — and this Book springboards us intoall other theological matters, for this is how God has chosen to reveal Himself to His people and to the world.
Let us be beavers for the Book, dear friends.