Set Apart for God
On the night before his crucifixion, at the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples, “Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me” (John 14:19). What an interesting statement for Jesus to make. One of them asked, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” (14:22).
Of course, Jesus had a lesson in mind. He answered, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. ... Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. ... And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father” (14:23, 27, 29-31).
Jesus’ response here brings into focus a theme he is driving at throughout this passage — separation. In these few verses, Christ makes three clear distinctions between his kingdom and the world:
- “The world will see me no more, but you will see me” (14:19).
- “My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you” (14:27).
- “The ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me” (14:30).
Until the past few years, separation was a defining characteristic of Christ’s church. Being set apart was a clear command from God’s Word and a part of every Christian’s calling. Today, however, there seems to be very little distinction between the church and the world. Let us remember that we are set apart for his kingdom purposes, to be instruments of change.