“And for their sakes I sanctify myself.”—John 17:19
Let thy morning thoughts, my soul, be directed to this sweet view of thy Saviour. Behold thy Jesus presenting himself as the surety of his people before God and the Father. Having now received the call and authority of God the Father, and being fitted with a body suited to the service of a Redeemer, here see him entering upon the vast work; and in those blessed words, declaring the cause of it – “I sanctify myself.” Did Jesus mean that he made himself more holy for the purpose? No, surely: for that was impossible. But by Jesus sanctifying himself, must be understood (as the Nazarite from the womb, consecrated, set apart, dedicated to the service to which the Father had called him), a voluntary offering-an holy unblemished sacririce. And observe for whom: “for their sakes;” not for himself; for he needed it not. The priests under the law made their offerings, first for themselves, and then for the people. “But such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; and who needed not daily, as those high priests, so to offer. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the Son is consecrated for evermore. “My soul, pause over this view of thy Jesus; and when thou hast duly pondered it, go to the mercy-seat, under the Spirit’s leadings and influences, and there, by faith, behold thy Jesus, in his vesture dipped in blood, there sanctified, and there appearing in the presence of God for thee. There plead the dedication of Jesus; for it is of the Father’s own appointment. There tell thy God and Father, (for it is the Father’s glory, when a poor sinner glorifies his dear Son in him) that He, that Holy One, whom the Father consecrated, and with an oath confirmed in his high priestly office for ever, appeareth there for thee. Tell God that thy High Priest’s holiness and sacrifice was altogether holy, pure, without a spot; and both his Person, and his nature, and offering, clean as God’s own righteous law. Tell, my soul, tell thy God and Father these sacred, solemn truths. And while thou art thus coming to the mercy-seat, under the leadings of the Spirit, and wholly in the name and office-work of thy God and Saviour, look unto Jesus, and call to mind those sweet words, for whose sake that Holy One sanctified himself; and then drop a petition more before thou comest from the heavenly court: beg, and pray, and wrestle with the bountiful Lord for suited strength and grace, that as, for thy sake, among the other poor sinners of his redemption-love, Jesus sanctified himself, so thou mayest be able to be separated from every thing but Jesus; and as thy happiness was Christ’s end, so his glory may be thy first and greatest object. Yes, dearest Jesus, methinks I hear thee say, – Thou shalt be for me, and not for another: so will I be for thee. Oh! thou condescending, loving God, “make me thine; that whether I live, I may live unto the Lord; or whether I die, I may die unto the Lord; so that living or dying, I may be thine.”
Robert Hawker (1753-1827) was an Anglican (High-Calvinist) preacher who served as Vicar of Charles Church, Plymouth. John Hazelton wrote of him:
“The prominent features…in Robert Hawker's testimony…was the Person of Christ….Dr. Hawker delighted to speak of his Lord as "My most glorious Christ.” What anxious heart but finds at times in the perusal of the doctor's writings a measure of relief, a softening, and a mellowing? an almost imperceptible yet secret and constraining power in leading out of self and off from the misery and bondage of the flesh into a contemplation of the Person and preciousness of Christ as "the chiefest among ten thousand and the altogether lovely." Christ and Him crucified was emphatically the burden of his song and the keynote of his ministry. He preached his last sermon in Charles Church on March 18th, 1827, and on April 6th he died, after being six years curate and forty-three years vicar of the parish. On the last day of his life he repeated a part of Ephesians 1, from the 6th to the 12th verses, and as he proceeded he enlarged on the verses, but dwelt more fully on these words: "To the praise of His glory Who first trusted in Christ." He paused and asked, "Who first trusted in Christ?" And then made this answer: "It was God the Father Who first trusted in Christ."