Sermon for Easter 7 – 5.29.22

+ 7th Sunday of Easter – May 29th, 2022 +

Series C: Acts 1:12-26; Revelation 22:1-20; John 17:20-26

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA

 

“A Trinitarian Soliloquy”

 

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

 

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

 

The famous Bard of Avalon, the playwright, William Shakespeare, introduced theater goers to the soliloquy. It was the part of his play where a character reveals their inner thoughts and feelings; a revealing inner dialogue made public. Like when Hamlet speaks his famous line, “To be or not to be.”

 

Long before Shakespeare came on the stage in the 16th century, John recorded a much greater, soliloquy of sorts here in John 17. Jesus’ High Priestly prayer, however, isn’t an inner dialogue where Jesus was talking to himself or thinking out loud. No. It’s a Trinitarian soliloquy. When Jesus prays he prays to the Father. And along the way, especially here in John 17, he reveals a great deal about the inner dialogue and relationship of God the Father and God the Son.

 

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.

 

This is where today’s reading begins. When we hear these words we’re walking into a holy conversation between God the Father and God the Son. Like all conversations, Jesus’ prayer in John 17 has a context. In verses 1-5, Jesus prays for himself. Verses 6-19, Jesus prays for his disciples; his apostles. Here in verses, 20-26, Jesus prays for the Church. For you.

 

The wider context of Jesus prayer is important too. Jesus’ relationship and communion with the Father is a huge part of John’s gospel. Jesus is the way to the Father. To see and hear Jesus is to see and hear the Father. Jesus reveals and makes known the Father’s love. Jesus also reminds us that, beyond John’s gospel, this prayer is a glimpse into an eternal conversation and relationship that he shares with the Father from all eternity, from before the foundation of the world.

 

And yet, here’s what’s remarkable about Jesus’ prayer. Jesus is both the eternal Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, as we confess in the Creed, and yet, he is also deeply personal. Jesus the Great High Priest, the crucified, risen, ascended and reigning king of creation prays for you.

 

I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.

 

Jesus prays for you to believe in Him through their message. Who’s message? The apostles’ message, word, teaching. Logos. And the apostles’ word came from Jesus who is the Word made flesh. When you hear the word of Jesus the Word made flesh you are hearing the Father’s very voice of compassion, grace, and mercy.

 

It is Jesus’ word, he says in this prayer, that holds us together with him. Like the center hub of a wheel, Jesus’ word is the center around which our life, faith, church, and everything we have revolves. Christian unity is in Christ’s word, and only in his word, not in politics, preferences, or personal opinions. Only in the word, teaching, and life of Jesus. That’s why as Lutherans we pay such close attention to what God’s word says and teaches us.

 

Jesus goes on to pray. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.

 

Glory is another important word in John’s gospel. The word “glory,” in Jesus’ teaching in John’s gospel is the opposite of what we think; not power, fame, might – but his crucifixion. That’s where and when the Son is glorified, dying on the cross to save you. That is where the Son also glorifies the Father by laying down his life to save you. His selfless, self-giving love for you glorifies the Father.

 

And it is this glory – Jesus’ innocent suffering for us the guilty, his sacrificial death to cover our sin – this is what brings unity, brings us to be one with the Father. No accident that when Jesus says “It is finished” on the cross, he’s using the same word he uses here in 17:23. His crucifixion is what brings us perfect fulfillment and completion. One in Christ crucified for you.

 

Like the Shakespearian soliloquy, Jesus’ prayer reveals God’s inner desires and thoughts. His passion, zeal, and inner most desire is to save you, and to save the world by grace in the dying and rising of His Son. Or as Jesus says, that the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

 

This is why Jesus was sent. “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 

 

Jesus is the Father’s Sent One for you. Sent in his incarnation in the womb of the Virgin Mary to become flesh for you. Sent to Bethlehem in the manger to be born for you. Sent to the Jordan River and throughout Judea to live for you. Sent to the cross and into the grave and out again for you. Sent to teach you and reveal God’s love to you, and yes, to pray for you. In Jesus you know the Father. And through Jesus, the Father knows you. In Jesus the love the Father has for him is also for you.

I have made you known to them, and will 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.”

Jesus’ language of unity, oneness, here in John 17 echoes much of the Old Testament, especially God’s promise through Ezekiel, that God himself would be the shepherd of His people. So there would be one flock, one shepherd. So that we who were lost and scattered and wandering in our sin would be found, gathered, and returned to the Father through Jesus’ dying and rising. One in Christ. One with the Father through Christ.

This is the kind of unity we get a glimpse of in another one of John’s writings, Revelation 22. In this final chapter of John’s Revelation, we see a preview of what Jesus was praying for in John 17.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lambdown the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

 

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

 

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.

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

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Milton, WA 98354
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