Saturday, May 11, 2013

Easter 7

Thank you Pr. Ken Kelly and Michelle Van Loon for the introductory thoughts on Mother’s Day!

John 17:20-26
"Jesus' prayer for you"

Today is Mother’s Day.

I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the loving God, who was born of the promise to a virgin named Mary.

I believe in the love Mary gave her son. A love that caused her to follow Him in His ministry and stand by His cross as He died.

I believe in the love of all mothers, and its importance in the lives of the children, they bear. It is stronger than steel, softer than down, and more resilient than a green sapling on the hillside. It closes wounds, melts disappointments, and enables the weakest child to stand tall and straight in the fields of adversity.

I believe that this love, even at its best, is only a shadow of the love of God, a dark reflection of all that we can expect of Him, both in this life and the next.

And I believe that one of the most beautiful sights in the world is a mother who lets this greater love flow through her to her child, blessing the world with the tenderness of her touch and the tears of her joy.
And yet, for some, this day is a mixture grief and sadness. They are lonely. There are those who've suffered the loss of parent, or a child.  There are those who have had to deal with infertility. So this day is especially difficult.  

Mother’s day is hard, awkward and cruel. They yearn for a brighter tomorrow. But this day is not one of them.  That’s why we a duty bound to pray for them and for others. Especially today. According to their needs. Zion Friedheim - be a house of prayer!

Become a place where we don’t simply talk to God. But a place where take our burdens, our joys, our worries and our cares to the throne room of grace. And be thankful as the Savior answers each petition.[1]

So then, how should we pray?  Especially, when we come to our Lord in the midst of our sorrow and our weaknesses?     

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin.  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:25-16

Today is Easter 7.

The last Sunday in the season of Easter. The Savior goes to the Father to pray - for you! Jesus prays: "My prayer is not for the disciples alone…I pray for those who will believe through their message…"

So what is Jesus' request for you? Consider His prayer on your behalf. Yes, Jesus. Your Jesus, has said a prayer for you…

I. Is a request for unity and faith. Jesus prays to the Father: "may they be brought to complete unity to let the world know You sent me and have loved them"

A.     He prays: "May they be brought to complete unity…"
1.      Unity comes with a common faith. There is in Christ "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all"
2.      Because there are differences of doctrine in our world today the question must be raised: "can there be true unity?"  As long as there are differences, there will be matters of doctrine. May we pray for a perfect unity, which comes in a complete unity of faith.

B.     The Savior continues to pray: "To let the world know You sent Me and have loved them"
1.     The true united doctrine is the doctrine of Christ. When we are one in Christ, we have a complete understanding of not only who Jesus is but what He has done for us.
a. And what has he done? He offers Himself. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Corinthians 5:15
b.            That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
2.      By this we know of the Father's love. When we know Jesus, we know of the Father's great love for us. When we know of Jesus, we have a complete and perfect unity of faith.

II. Jesus’ prayer for you is a request for us to be with Jesus in glory. Jesus prays to the Father: "I want those you've given to me to be with me where I am and see my glory"

A.     His desire is for us to be where He is.
1.      Our goal is to be with Christ in glory. To leave this veil of tears to our home with Christ in glory.
2.      Remember the hymn verse "I'm but a stranger here, heaven is my home" A question; "how strange is the world to us?" Are we familiar with this world, or do we look for another home? A more perfect and complete home? Where we will be with Christ in glory?

B.     Jesus has a desire to receive believers in glory.
1.      This was Jesus' ultimate mission to come to draw sinners to Himself. He drew you in your baptism and continues through Word and Sacrament to draw you to Himself, so that where He is you shall be also.
2.      Just over a month after he took over as Prime Minister of England Winston Churchill delivered a speech to the House of Commons after the French had sought an armistice. This was, he said, our finest hour. What will be your finest hour?  Your "finest hour" is the hour of our death. When we close our eyes in death, we leave this world only to enter into that world which has no end. When our eyes close in death we take a walk - from one end of the kingdom to the other…we cross over from the kingdom of grace into the kingdom of glory.

III. Jesus' prayer for you is a request to know God's love. Jesus prays to the Father: "I will make You known to them and continue to make you known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I Myself may be in them"

A.     Jesus will continue to make the Father known to us.
1.      Through the message of the Gospel - that we may grow in Christ. That's why we are always connected to His Word and Sacraments; that we may grow in grace.
2.      As we grow in Christ we know more and more about Jesus. Remember the salute of faith; … ascent, confession, trust… the mind, the lips, the heart.

B.     So that the love the Father has may be in us.
1.      God the Father loves you. That's why He sent Christ in the first place! To know and understand God and His great love for you.
2.      Having experienced this love it is now a part of us. It is now ours not only to experience but also to live each day in a daring and confident manner and to express it with those with whom we meet.

In the midst of His busy ministry; His healing, preaching, teaching and serving Jesu took the time to pray - for you!  His prayer is answered in your hearing of His Word this day!  May you continue to draw close to Christ as you grow in unity of faith, in knowing God, in being received into His glory!

[1] These thoughts and sentiments came from Pr. Ken Kelly and Michelle Van Loon. 

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