Sunday, May 3, 2020

Easter 5 Series A

Easter 5  Series A

10 May 2020
Series A 

Acts 6:1–9; 7:2a, 51–60
1 Peter 2:2–10
John 14:1–14

The Lord Jesus Christ Is the Way, the Truth and the Life

The risen Lord Jesus alone is “the way, and the truth, and the life,” and we come “to the Father” only through Him (John 14:6). God is thus “glorified in the Son,” and those who believe in Him will do the works of Christ because He goes to the Father for us (John 14:12–14). Stephen, “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5) and “doing great wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8), did the works of Christ. When he was falsely accused and put to death, he “gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55). Fixing his hope there, he commended his spirit to the Lord Jesus and prayed for his murderers. In the same way, all the baptized are called to follow the example of Christ Jesus by faith. Though He was “rejected by men” in the sight of God, He is “chosen and precious” (1 Peter 2:4). He is the chief cornerstone of the Father’s “spiritual house,” and we are built upon Him as “living stones” (1 Peter 2:5).

Rev. Dr. Daniel J Brege

In My Name

If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:14).

Some contend that Jesus is indicating that our prayers must include the phrase, “In Jesus Name” (or, “In Your Name”).  It is then believed that this becomes a formula by which we can ask for anything, and because of Jesus’ promise along with our faith expect to receive such things. To add these words to a given prayer is certainly appropriate, but Jesus is not presenting a God-coercing formula when He invites, If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it?  A prayer may indeed be in Jesus’ name without using the above “formula”. A person’s name is linked to that person’s identity.  Thus to ask for something in Jesus’ name relates to at least three aspects of His identity.

First, to pray in Jesus’ name means our prayers must be consistent with His two natures.  Jesus is truly a man, born of the flesh and blood of the Blessed Virgin. When we pray in His name, we joyfully realize He is in heaven interceding as one of us!  In our Gospel reading Jesus also identifies himself as uniquely united with the Father.  He explains that to know Him is to know the Father, and even to see Jesus means to see God the Father. He further describes the unbreakable connection He has with the Father, for He explains that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him.  The Son of God is one with the Father, and as explained later in this chapter of John, there is a third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, with whom Jesus is also united (v. 17).  Though Jesus as the Son of God has a name separate from the Father and the Spirit (v. 26, “…the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name…”), yet the three are one, having one name, one essence. Nonetheless in the mystery of the Holy Trinity and in the Son’s incarnation, Jesus is separate from the Father for He is on His way to the Father (v. 12).  Thus the name of Jesus encompasses this mystery of the Holy Trinity—that God is one, and yet  in the Godhead there are three distinct persons, each fully God.  To pray in Jesus’ name means our prayer is consistent with each person of the Holy Trinity, consistent with the unity of the Trinity and consistent with the incarnation of the Son of God.  To pray in Jesus’ name is to align with these Bible-permeating realities.

Second, to pray in Jesus’ name means such prayer relates to the work of Jesus.  When Jesus informs us that He is preparing a place for us, He is not describing the use of his carpentry skills to make a structure of earthly or heavenly materials.  To prepare a place for us, Jesus had to go to the cross, and then rise from the grave.  This is how a place in the Father’s presence is prepared for us; this is how we can go to God’s eternal dwelling.  Thus our prayers in Jesus’ name will magnify this lofty lowly work of Jesus—His crucifixion.   When He says that He is the way, the truth and the life, the Lord Jesus is not only describing who He is but how He will give the way, the truth and the life to us—through His crucifixion and history-changing resurrection.  We are not given to pray as if God’s Son primarily came to be our great example and teacher.  To pray in Jesus’ name our prayers reflect and submit to His life, death and resurrection.

Third, to pray in Jesus’ name means to pray consistent with His will.  The Apostle John explains this clearly in his first epistle:  And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us (5:14).  To pray in Jesus name means that we cannot petition for anything that conflicts with the will of Jesus.  For example, we can neither pray that someone be damned nor pray that someone be saved apart from Jesus.  We can and should pray for the unsaved, that they come to the knowledge of the truth.  Many other petitions are also in line with Jesus’ will.

We can indeed petition God for any heavenly or earthly blessing.  But we pray in Jesus’ name, thus aligning our prayers with His two natures, His saving work and His holy will.

John 14:1–14
I am the way, the truth, and the life

14:1 Μὴ ταρασσέσθω ὑμῶν ἡ καρδία• πιστεύετε εἰς τὸν θεόν, καὶ εἰς ἐμὲ πιστεύετε.
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me.  

14:2 ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ τοῦ πατρός μου μοναὶ πολλαί εἰσιν• εἰ δὲ μή, εἶπον ἂν ὑμῖν ὅτι πορεύομαι ἑτοιμάσαι τόπον ὑμῖν
In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  

14:3 καὶ ἐὰν πορευθῶ καὶ ἑτοιμάσω τόπον ὑμῖν, πάλιν ἔρχομαι καὶ παραλήμψομαι ὑμᾶς πρὸς ἐμαυτόν, ἵνα ὅπου εἰμὶ ἐγὼ καὶ ὑμεῖς ἦτε.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

14:4 καὶ ὅπου ἐγὼ ὑπάγω οἴδατε τὴν ὁδόν.
And you know the way to where I am going.” 

14:5 λέγει αὐτῷ Θωμᾶς• Κύριε, οὐκ οἴδαμεν ποῦ ὑπάγεις• πῶς δυνάμεθα τὴν ὁδὸν εἰδέναι;
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”  

14:6 λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς• Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια καὶ ἡ ζωή• οὐδεὶς ἔρχεται πρὸς τὸν πατέρα εἰ μὴ δι’ ἐμοῦ.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  

14:7 εἰ ἐγνώκειτέ με, καὶ τὸν πατέρα μου ἂν ᾔδειτε• ἀπ’ ἄρτι γινώσκετε αὐτὸν καὶ ἑωράκατε αὐτόν.
If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.[d] From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

14:8 Λέγει αὐτῷ Φίλιππος• Κύριε, δεῖξον ἡμῖν τὸν πατέρα, καὶ ἀρκεῖ ἡμῖν
 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

14:9 λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς• Τοσούτῳ χρόνῳ μεθ’ ὑμῶν εἰμι καὶ οὐκ ἔγνωκάς με, Φίλιππε; ὁ ἑωρακὼς ἐμὲ ἑώρακεν τὸν πατέρα• πῶς σὺ λέγεις• Δεῖξον ἡμῖν τὸν πατέρα;
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 

14:10 οὐ πιστεύεις ὅτι ἐγὼ ἐν τῷ πατρὶ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοί ἐστιν; τὰ ῥήματα ἃ ἐγὼ λέγω ὑμῖν ἀπ’ ἐμαυτοῦ οὐ λαλῶ, ὁ δὲ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοὶ μένων ποιεῖ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 

14:11 πιστεύετέ μοι ὅτι ἐγὼ ἐν τῷ πατρὶ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοί• εἰ δὲ μή, διὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτὰ πιστεύετε.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. 

14:12 ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμὲ τὰ ἔργα ἃ ἐγὼ ποιῶ κἀκεῖνος ποιήσει, καὶ μείζονα τούτων ποιήσει, ὅτι ἐγὼ πρὸς τὸν πατέρα πορεύομαι• 
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 

14:13 καὶ ὅ τι ἂν αἰτήσητε ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου τοῦτο ποιήσω, ἵνα δοξασθῇ ὁ πατὴρ ἐν τῷ υἱῷ
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  

14:14 ἐάν τι αἰτήσητέ με ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου γὼ ποιήσω.
 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

-The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software
-ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
-Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts, ‘The Resurrection of our Lord’© WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
-LCMS Lectionary notes © 2018 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
-Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing, St. Louis

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