Sunday, May 17, 2020

Easter 7 Series A

Easter 7  Series  A 

(24 May 2020)
Series A  

Acts 1:12–26
1 Peter 4:12–19; 5:6–11
John 17:1–11

Our Lord Jesus Is with Us in the Upper Room of His Church on Earth

On the night when He was betrayed, our Lord Jesus prayed for His apostles and His Church on earth. “The hour” had come when the Father would glorify His Son by the cross (John 17:1). Through the shedding of His blood, He would bring forgiveness for the sins of the world, and in His resurrection and ascension He would unite all Christians with the Father “that they may be one” with God (John 17:11). He manifested His name to the apostles and gave them the words of the Father to speak in His name. The apostolic witness of His cross and resurrection (Acts 1:21–22) gathers disciples together “with one accord” into the one Body of Christ (Acts 1:14). “Devoting themselves to prayer,” they wait upon the Lord in “the upper room” (Acts 1:13–14), the place of His Holy Supper. Strengthened by the Gospel, Christians bear the cross of Christ in patience and peace, rejoicing to share in His suffering, in order that they “may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13).

Ask 25 people what it means to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus, and you’ll get a wide range of answers, most of them-I’d guess-centering around some form of prayer, the attempt at keeping the Commandments, and living a “good” life. 

The one word you won’t hear is “persecution,” because “persecution” means personal suffering, unpopularity, and no doubt being “un-friended” on social media, which I suppose is the modern-day equivalent of beheading.

No Christian wants to be persecuted, yet all Christians make the claim inherent in what they call themselves, to be followers of Jesus, and it is Jesus who makes no bones about telling his disciples, that is those who truly follow him, that persecution is a given. You see it in Sunday's Gospel and Epistle lessons: you’ll be out of the synagogue, people will kill you believing they are offering God a sacrifice. 

In 1 Peter 4, we read that suffering as a Christian is something to be cherished, moreover, that in his/her suffering, he should glorify God! Earlier on in John’s Gospel he tells his disciples that the world hates you, because it hated Christ; it will persecute you, because it persecuted Christ. Expect to be crucified, because your master was crucified and a servant is not greater than his/her master.

You’ll notice that this Sunday doesn’t have the same musical/liturgical bounce in its step as other Sundays have had. There was hardly a trace of pain in the Sundays leading up to this day, there were no tears shed as Christ ascended into heaven, in fact we rejoiced that our human nature too ascended with him! 

On Easter 7 "Exaudy Sunday" there’s no “Christ is risen” high-fiving going on, in fact if you look at the introit, verse and collect, in addition to the readings, you’ll see the voices raised  are pleas for God “to listen,” exaudio, the Latin name that lends its name to this Sunday.

Persecution? Not among us, save for what we do to each other. None of this, not a single thing, bears even the slightest resemblance to anything scriptural, let alone St. Peter’s words in today’s Epistle, whose call to be “self-controlled and sober-minded” is met with drooping eyelids, a yawn, and the notion that surely St. Peter meant the person sitting beside you.

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.  (John 17:17).
Rev. Dr. Daniel J. Brege

The seventeenth chapter of John’s Gospel is a unique and lofty locus of Holy Scripture.  It is often called Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer.  In this powerful prayer the Savior petitions the Father both as His eternal Son and as the great high priest interceding between God and man.  He uniquely prays about sanctification. To be sanctified is to be set apart to do holy work. Who then is sanctified?  In summary, Jesus is sanctified; the Apostles are sanctified; and those believing through the Apostles are sanctified.

First, Jesus is sanctified.  When the Father sent His Son into the world He was sanctifying—setting apart—His Son to perform the holiest of works.  As Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, this third person of the Holy Trinity sanctified—set apart—this miracle baby to be the ultimate prophet, priest, king and sacrifice.  Now, as recorded in His High Priestly Prayer, the Son of God sanctifies—sets apart—Himself:  And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth (V 19, NKJ).

“Glorification” often describes how God’s greatness and power is made visible.  Glorification also summarizes what the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit sanctified—set apart—Jesus to do.  Of this glorification John 12:23 records Jesus predicting, The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.  He then explains this glorification by describing how a grain of wheat must “die” and after it is buried the glorified seed rises to produce much fruit. Appropriately Jesus begins His High Priestly Prayer—offered up the evening before His death—by speaking of this sublime glorification:  Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You…  Strange to the ears of the world, this glorification of God’s Son happens in His crucifixion and is verified in His resurrection.  At the cross God’s glory—the greatness and the power of God—is made visible such as it had not been since the foundation of the world!  Christ is thus sanctified to be seen as mankind’s great and powerful Savior.

Christ prays that the Father would sanctify the Apostles through the Word.  Jesus not only speaks the Word to the Apostles but as the incarnate Word He shouts volumes by every action He performs.  His primary word is His death for man’s salvation.  The crucified Savior is the heart of this word of truth, and Jesus petitions the Father to sanctify the Apostles through this Word:  Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth (V 17).  The Apostles of Jesus would thus be sanctified—set apart—to be foundational to Christ’s Church.  Much of the New Testament points to this foundational nature of the Apostolic proclamation.  For example Paul wrote to the Ephesians:  [The Church is] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone (2:20).  From the sanctified Apostles Jesus foresees members of His Church being sanctified by faith in their word:  I do not ask for these [Apostles] only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word (V 20).

Upon hearing the Word of the Apostles, believers in Jesus are sanctified—set apart—as God’s forgiven children. Established in their baptism as saints, such holy people are empowered to do holy works. These sanctified people—the Apostles and those who believe through their word—are given by Jesus to do works of glory: The glory that you have given me I have given to them (V 22).  What is this glory?  Once again glory identifies with a cross.  God’s people are sanctified by Christ’s glorious cross to be cross-bearers as they fulfill their God-ordained vocations.  Will it be easy to be a godly church member, godly citizen, godly worker, godly family member?  By no means!  Those set apart to do the holy work of father, mother, child, carpenter, lawyer, factory worker, Apostle, pastor—and every other godly calling—will be given glory, that is they will be called to bear their cross and follow Jesus, and people will then see their good works and glorify their Father in heaven.  For this we have been sanctified.

John 17:1-11
The High Priestly Prayer

John 17:1
Ταῦτα ἐλάλησεν Ἰησοῦς, καὶ ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εἶπεν• Πάτερ, ἐλήλυθεν ἡ ὥρα• δόξασόν σου τὸν υἱόν,  ἵνα ὁ υἱὸς δοξάσῃ σέ
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 

καθὼς ἔδωκας αὐτῷ ἐξουσίαν πάσης σαρκός, ἵνα πᾶν ὃ δέδωκας αὐτῷ [e]δώσῃ αὐτοῖς ζωὴν αἰώνιον.
since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 

John 17:3 
αὕτη δέ ἐστιν ἡ αἰώνιος ζωὴ ἵνα γινώσκωσι σὲ τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεὸν καὶ ὃν ἀπέστειλας Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν.
And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.  

John 17:4 
ἐγώ σε ἐδόξασα ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, τὸ ἔργον τελειώσας ὃ δέδωκάς μοι ἵνα ποιήσω• I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 

John 17:5 
καὶ νῦν δόξασόν με σύ, πάτερ, παρὰ σεαυτῷ τῇ δόξῃ ᾗ εἶχον πρὸ τοῦ τὸν κόσμον εἶναι παρὰ σοί.
And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

John 17:6
Ἐφανέρωσά σου τὸ ὄνομα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις οὓς ἔδωκάς μοι ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου. σοὶ ἦσαν κἀμοὶ αὐτοὺς ἔδωκας, καὶ τὸν λόγον σου τετήρηκαν.
I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.

John 17:7
νῦν ἔγνωκαν ὅτι πάντα ὅσα δέδωκάς μοι παρὰ σοῦ εἰσιν
Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 

John 17:8 
ὅτι τὰ ῥήματα ἃ ἔδωκάς μοι δέδωκα αὐτοῖς, καὶ αὐτοὶ ἔλαβον καὶ ἔγνωσαν ἀληθῶς ὅτι παρὰ σοῦ ἐξῆλθον, καὶ ἐπίστευσαν ὅτι σύ με ἀπέστειλας.
For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 

John 17:9 
ἐγὼ περὶ αὐτῶν ἐρωτῶ• οὐ περὶ τοῦ κόσμου ἐρωτῶ ἀλλὰ περὶ ὧν δέδωκάς μοι, ὅτι σοί εἰσιν,
I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 

John 17:10 
καὶ τὰ ἐμὰ πάντα σά ἐστιν καὶ τὰ σὰ ἐμά, καὶ δεδόξασμαι ἐν αὐτοῖς.
All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.  

John 17:11 
καὶ οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ εἰσίν, κἀγὼ πρὸς σὲ ἔρχομαι. πάτερ ἅγιε, τήρησον αὐτοὺς ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου ᾧ δέδωκάς μοι, ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν καθὼς ἡμεῖς.
And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

> Looking forward to the book of Romans in the non-festival calendar of the Church-year.
1:1-7 Gospel greeting
1:8-15 Thanksgiving
1:16-17 Paul's theme "The righteous person shall live by faith"
1:18-32 The unrighteous will die

Grothe -
1:1-7 prescription
1:8-17 Exordium
1:18-21 wrath on all, without excuse

Passages of note
Romans 1:26-17 - Theme or Thesis of Romans Romans 1:19-20 - natural knowledge of God will not save; these attributes are not comforting. 
Romans 1:26-27 - current debate concerning homosexuality. A repeat continuation of the OT, there is an argument from nature, the biological components fit. Notice the law component "God gave them up"  spoken three times in this section. 

Details of the text 

:9  - oath and the "all"
        "at every time of prayer" rather than "unceasingly" Paul was praying for them at a specific time (prayer office) of day. Corporate prayer in the Divine Service not individual devotional time. Not a new found "individual time" with Jesus. 

:10 - "if somehow" - "uncertainty and submissiveness to the Divine will" (Grothe, pg.30)
         "Succeed in coming to you" (ESV) Note word for "road"
Note the passive
Note Paul's desire to visit Rome recorded in Acts 19:21

:11 - "spiritual gift" No particular gift is mentioned. Only place in the NT where these two words appear together. Note list in 12:6-8

:12 - "This is" result rather than purpose. "Through the faith of one another" - not necessarily referring to "saving faith in the Gospel" 

:13 - Paul's intention to visit in the middle voice. "Harvest" or "fruit" - as new covenant or growth of believers? (Grothe argues new converts.) 

:14 - "sociological"  rather than "ethnic"  - differences class, education, status. Note obligation to connection to 1:2 "slave"

:15 - "So" as "consequence" resulting from his charge as an apostle. "According to me" is this Paul's version of the gospel, or Paul's eagerness. 

:16 - "Not Ashamed"  counter to those who might think Paul hasn't come out of shame. "Gospel" refer to as "news of victory". 
- Jew and Greek equality and priority. 

:17 - "from faith for faith" "faith from start to finish" (Grothe pg. 33) "from the faithfulness of God" and into faith as the faith of the believer. (Grothe pg.34)

"Righteous by faith will live" or "righteous will live by faith."

-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 House, St. Louis

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