Sermon for Easter 6 – 5.22.22

+ 6th Sunday of Easter – May 22nd, 2022 +

Series C: Acts 16:9-15; Revelation 21:9-14, 21-27; John 16:23-33

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA

 

“Praying in Jesus’ Name”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Growing up I always enjoyed looking through those big books of cutaway illustrations. The kind of book where the illustrator takes an airplane, submarine, or castle, and draws a cutaway picture, so you can see how the thing works, the inner workings, and so on.

 

And while this isn’t a perfect analogy, something like that is going on in John 16 today. As Jesus is teaching his disciples in the upper room before his crucifixion on Good Friday, he spends a good amount of time on his relationship with the Father. Again, not a perfect analogy but Jesus’ words give us a kind of cutaway into the inner workings of the Trinity; a glimpse into the relationship of God the Father and God the Son, and how God relates to us through His Son, Jesus.

 

Throughout this section of John, Jesus teaches us who God is, as Father; who we are, as his children; and how we live, by his grace, and how we approach the Father through faith in Jesus’ dying and rising for you.

 

And in that day, Jesus says, you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

 

To what day is Jesus referring? The day mentioned in last week’s reading from the earlier part of John 16. The day where his disciples would not see him a little while and then after a little while they would see him again. That’s the “little while” of Jesus’ death and resurrection. That’s the day that brings joy in fullness for his disciples and for you.

 

It’s also the day when the relationship with God the Father, broken the fall of sin, and our sin, is restored. The day of Jesus’ death and the day of his resurrection is the day of our restoration, rescue, redemption, and reconciliation. As St. Paul says in 2 Corinthians, God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting our trespasses against us.

 

That all seems pretty clear and easy to understand. But not all of Jesus’ words here in John 16 are so clear and easy. Like when Jesus says to his disciples, “You will ask me nothing.” And yet in the very next sentence he tells them, “Truly, truly I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.”

 

What does that mean? What’s going on here? I thought the disciples ask Jesus for things all the time. True. They do. They just haven’t called upon God as Father yet, but Jesus is teaching them to do so. Remember, the Lord’s Prayer. What Jesus is revealing here, is that through His death and resurrection and ascension, through him, in faith and trust in his name, his disciples – and you – will address God as Father. Now in Jesus’ dying, rising, and ascending, you have access to God the Father.

 

Before Jesus’ dying and rising, in the Old Testament, access to God came by way of the Tabernacle and Temple. By way of the blood of the sacrifices. Now, in the New Testament, in Jesus the Tabernacle and Temple, and Priest and Sacrifice all rolled into one. Now the disciples, and you, come before the Father washed in the blood of the Lamb, made clean and clothed in Christ.

 

And so here, our Lord Jesus, teaches us something profound about God and our relationship to Him. God is our Father. Through Jesus we have the honor of calling upon him as Father. And this is no small thing. Jesus’ words reveal that God is Father, that we approach him as Father. Or as Luther says in the Small Catechism, when we pray “Our Father,” we are praying that, “God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that we may ask Him confidently with all assurance, as dear children ask their dear father.”

 

This only happens because God has come to be our Father in Christ. Only because Christ has taken our sins upon himself and wiped them out by his victorious death we can stand before God, forgiven, His children in Christ. Only as we are bound to Christ can we come before God as His children, for the God sees us in Christ, wearing the garments of Christ’s righteousness. This is the key to who we are in relationship with God the Father. All contact and prayer with the Father is in Jesus, in Jesus’ name, that is in faith in him. Prayer only arises from faith in Christ. And apart from Christ and His atoning, redeeming work, God is no one’s Father.

 

And so Jesus’ words teach us a great deal about who we are as well. We come before God as children. Beggars. Entirely, utterly, completely dependent upon His grace and mercy in Jesus. Jesus teaches his disciples, and us, that faith in Him also means a rejection of ourselves. Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling. Not I, but Christ. We come as beggars before God and have no right to ask anything. For we are neither worthy of the things for which we pray, nor have we deserved them, but we ask that God would give them all to us by grace. But that is precisely who God is, Jesus reveals. God is a gracious Father who sent His only Son to die for you. To bring you home. To make you his children by washing you in the blood of the Lamb. To reconcile you back to Him through His Son.

 

Jesus is also teaching us, and his disciples, to do here, what he taught earlier. How  to live as God’s children, that we live every breath, every minute, every hour, every day by God’s grace to us in Christ. So we pray, Our Father, as we do in the Lord’s Prayer. We pray in Jesus’ name. Everything goes through Jesus. Our redemption and reconciliation, and our prayers.

 

To pray in the Name of Jesus, then, isn’t some kind of magic formula or incantation. As in, dear Lord I really want a fully loaded 4×4 Jeep…in Jesus’ Name, and I expect to get it. No. To pray in the Name of Jesus is to pray in faith in Jesus. To pray “God’s will be done, not mine.” To pray with all the totality of who Jesus is and what he has done for us. To pray in Jesus’ name is to ask the Father on the basis of everything Jesus has done in his life, death, and resurrection. It is to pray to the Father, through the Son, and by the Holy Spirit.

 

It is in Jesus’ Name that you are saved. It is in Jesus’ Name that you are reconciled to God and call him Father. It is in Jesus’ Name and death and resurrection that your joy is full. It is in Jesus’ name that you pray with all boldness and confidence as dear children asking their heavenly Father – in view of everything he is and does for us. And it is in Jesus’ Name that you live each day by God’s grace.

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977