May 8, 2016 – John 17:20-26 – “he Prays For You”

He Prays For You

 

 

In the name of Father and of the † Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

 

Dear brothers and sister in Christ,

 

 

Pray To The Father

 

Last week we heard Jesus tell his disciples to pray to the heavenly Father in his name. The heavenly Father listens to the prayers of those who believe in his Son. He listens to those who have faith in Jesus as their Savior from sin.

 

Last week we remembered that the heavenly Father has a treasure chest filled with blessings for us because Jesus has made us children of the heavenly Father. Because of Jesus, we have forgiveness, peace, and joy in the middle of a crazy mixed up world. We have these gifts even though our own lives may seem crazy and mixed up also.

 

Because of Jesus, we are people who see the world and our situations differently. Instead of seeing the world as a place that we have to conquer and a place where we have to beat out everyone else, as children of God, we see the world as a place where we can serve others.

 

As children of the heavenly Father, we see the world as a place that is full of people who need the same forgiveness, peace, and joy that we have in Christ. We see people in need and as God’s children; we are lead by the Holy Spirit to have mercy on them just as God has had mercy on us.

 

Instead of seeing ourselves as missing out on what others have, we give thanks for the blessings God has given us. As children of God, we do not concentrate on our sufferings such as illness or family discord. We take our concerns to our heavenly Father and ask for his comfort and strength in dealing with every aspect of our life.

 

 

 

 

Christ’s Accomplishment

 

We are children of the heavenly Father because he has had mercy on us. We are children of the heavenly Father because Jesus went forward with God’s plan to redeem us through his suffering and death. We can pray to the heavenly Father because Jesus tore down the wall of sin that kept us from being God’s children.

 

We must never forget how we became children of the heavenly Father and how the treasure chest of blessings was opened for us. Jesus purchased that treasure chest of God’s blessings for us by sacrificing his life for us, by being forsaken by his heavenly Father..

 

In our age, we have many ways to purchase goods and services – there’s the old fashioned way of paying with cash or check. We can purchase with credit cards or debit cards or gift cards. We can now purchase online with computers, I-pads, or smart phones.

 

None of these were used by Jesus when he paid the price to free us from sin and death. Saint Peter wrote that we were not redeemed with perishable things like gold or silver, but with the precious blood of Christ, the lamb that had no blemish or defect.

 

Jesus had no blemish or defect; he had no sin of his own. Paul wrote these words about Jesus in Second Corinthians, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor. 5:21 Isaiah the prophet wrote about the one who would come to save the world from their sins. In describing Jesus, Peter quoted these words from the prophet, “He committed no sin.” 1Ptr. 2:22

 

As He Prays

 

That’s who Jesus Christ was on the Thursday evening before his death. He was the spotless Lamb of God, the one who had committed no sin. He had told his disciples that they should pray to the heavenly Father. Minutes later, that’s exactly what Jesus did. He prayed to our heavenly Father. We hear part of his prayer in today’s gospel lesson.

 

Jesus prayed these words, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.” In these words, Jesus was praying for us. More than that, he was praying for you.

 

Moments before, he had prayed for his disciples. After his ascension, through the Holy Spirit, he would send them into the world as witnesses to testify about what they had heard and seen. They would be witnesses concerning Jesus; how he came to earth, how he lived a life free from sin, how he sacrificed himself on the cross, and how he rose from the dead. Next week on Pentecost Sunday we will hear how the disciples began to share what they had witnessed concerning Jesus.

 

Jesus prayed for them and then in today’s gospel lesson he prays, “I do not ask for these [disciples] only.” In addition to praying for the disciples, Jesus prayed for those who would hear the words of the disciples as they witnessed to the world. Jesus prayed that as people heard the testimony of the disciples that people would believe.

 

So Jesus was praying for you. You have heard the testimony of the disciples. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they wrote down what they heard and saw. You have a record of what they witnessed. It’s found in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

 

Jesus prayed that all who would hear the good news proclaimed by the disciples would be united in one faith;

 

  • A faith that believes that the Father sent Jesus into the world because of his love for the world
  • A faith that believes that the Father wants all to live with him and the Son for eternity

 

Jesus prayed that not only would all who hear the good news be united together in one faith, faith in him as their Redeemer, but that all would be united through that faith with him as brothers and sisters, and that all would join him as children of the heavenly Father.

 

Given To You

 

After Jesus prayed this prayer, he went to the Garden of Gethsemane. From there he was arrested, tried, convicted, sentenced, crucified, died, and is now risen from the dead and ascended. He did this to earn your salvation, to redeem you a lost and condemned sinner. He purchased with his own blood the gift of forgiveness, life, and salvation for you.

 

But if you had never heard what Jesus did for you it would be like never receiving the gift. That’s why Jesus prayed for you, so that you might hear what he did for you and in hearing might receive the gift that he wants you to have.

 

The prayer of Jesus has been answered; you have heard the testimony of the disciples, you have heard what they witnessed, what they heard and saw. The words and actions of Jesus are for you. His blood was shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins.

 

He sends his Holy Spirit to you so that you might believe and be one with him and with the Father. He unites you with those sitting around you today. By God’s grace, through faith in Jesus, you are united in Holy Communion with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and with one another.

 

 

 

 

His Promise

 

Jesus ends his prayer by promising his heavenly Father that he will continue to make known God’s love. He knew that you would live in a crazy mixed up world. Jesus knew that as God’s children you would be constantly under attack by the devil, the world, and your own sinful flesh. He knew that you would be tempted to stop believing in the good news that your sins are forgiven.

 

Therefore, Jesus promised that the good news would always be available to be heard. He has placed you in the hands of the church, the body of believers who together proclaim the testimony of the disciples. He has give you a pastor whose calling is to proclaim to you the good news, to announce to you God’s forgiveness of your sins, and to feed you Christ body and blood, given and shed for you.

 

When you are feeling assaulted, forsaken, like you don’t belong; Jesus has given you a place to come and be refreshed and renewed. He has given you a place, a people who share the same faith that you do. Jesus has given the church, you, and all believers his Word and Sacraments so that you know that the gift of forgiveness is yours.

 

The heavenly Father continues to answer the prayer of Jesus as the Holy Spirit works in our lives. It’s the Holy Spirit that enables us to be united with fellow Christians in love toward each other.

 

We get angry and irritated with our spouse, our parents, our children, our siblings.

But the Holy Spirit gives us the power of the gospel to forgive and love them.

 

We get frustrated and discouraged as members of our church family don’t agree with us or don’t think the way we think they should.

But the Holy Spirit gives us the power of the gospel to be united with them and love them.

 

The Holy Spirit gives us patience with one another, teaches us to talk instead of yell, and gives us the ability to respect and each other. The Holy Spirit reminds us that Jesus died for the sins of us all.

 

The Holy Spirit works among us Christians so that we can share with one another the gifts we have received from Christ; His love, His forgiveness, His compassion.

 

 

Go in peace and joy. Go knowing that you are one with all who believe. Go knowing that you are one with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Go knowing that Jesus continues to pray for you as he sits at the right hand of the heavenly Father. Go in peace and joy.

 

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

Soli Deo Gloria

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