S-1189 7SOE/3C Hymns 5/16/10, (O) #376; S # 394; (C) #52
Texts: Acts 1:12-26; Revelation 22:1-6, 16-20; John 17:20-26
Theme: “Did You Know…?” (John 17:20).
Question: “Have you ever said to someone, ‘Do you know?’”
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation is from the Gospel lesson: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word,” (John 17:20)
Introduction: In Nomine IESU
People of God, chosen and beloved, did you know as you walk up the steps to the building which houses the U.S Supreme Court you can see near the top of the building a row of the world's law givers and each one is facing one in the middle who is facing forward with a full frontal view... It is Moses and he is holding the Ten Commandments! As you enter the Supreme Court courtroom, the two huge oak doors have the Ten Commandments engraved on the lower portion of each door. As you sit inside the courtroom, on the right above where the Supreme Court Judges sit is a display of the Ten Commandments! Did you know? There are Bible verses etched in stone all over the Federal Buildings and Monuments in Washington, D.C. and every session of Congress begins with a prayer by a paid preacher, whose salary has been paid by the taxpayer since 1777?
Did you know that a person said “I would rather rule in hell than to serve in heaven?” Did you know that some parishioners are mad at me because I didn’t visit them in the hospital because I wasn’t informed? Did you know that others are upset with me because I stopped at a non-member’s house and prayed with them, but not at my own member’s home?
Did you know that I love you as God’s chosen and beloved people and love serving as your pastor? Did you know that I love to sing even though I can’t carry a tune? PAUSE.
Whether you know all of these tid-bits of information or not is not as important. But what is important is that you know what the Scriptures teach-namely what the Apostle John shares with us today in this portion of the Word. Listen please to John so that you may know the importance of this message: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word.”
God’s beloved people, for the past several weeks during this Easter season, our gospel readings have come from that section of John’s gospel known as the Final Discourse of Jesus. This last speech, if you will, that Jesus makes to His disciples concludes with these verses from the 17th chapter. It is really a prayer of Jesus to His Father in heaven and has often been called the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus. In a sense, it is Jesus’ last will and testament, His parting shot, His last effort to teach, to exhort, to encourage, and to empower His disciples. PAUSE.
Now let me put it this way, “Did you know that the Savior is praying for you?” Did you know that He was thinking of you before He went to the cross? Did you know that in John 17 Jesus prayed seven (7) times for the believers (you and I and all Christendom) that they might all be kept safe and united as one with Him and the Father? Did you know that He cared enough for you to make sure that His written Word was made available to you and me and for the generations to come?
What do you notice in this section of the Living Word? If you come close and eavesdrop on the conversation in the Upper Room, you will indeed behold His great Passion and Compassion, with the cross looming on the horizon with the morning’s dawn, the Savior of the world, takes time to pray also for those who would come to faith in the future, those who would be the recipients of the Gospel that was yet to be preached to them.
What does the Lord pray for? Two things: 1st His prayer is for you as an individual who would believe in Him through the message of the Apostles’ ministry as YOUR Savior. And 2nd that His truth, which He has already partially shared with His disciples—the many miracles, His teachings, preaching, and transfiguration would be shared with all people everywhere.
Did you know that you and I are blessed people indeed? Why you might ask? Consider what kind of caring and loving God you have. Your God prays for you! Your Savior thinks of you! Your Savior has made you part of the family by claiming you as His own in the waters of Baptism! Your Lord has continued to feed you His body and blood to strengthen you.
Did you know that even now He is still praying for you? Yes, He is. This past Thursday we celebrated the Ascension. The Ascension reminds us that the Savior has returned to His place of glory which belonged to Him before the foundation of the world. And in that crowning glory at the right hand of the Father, He intercedes for us.
What a blessing to know that we are prayed for. But why is that we have a hard time praying to the Lord or for those who needed? How many times have you said to someone, “I will pray for you?” But you didn’t and don’t. We may pray briefly and then stop. Or we just pray for ourselves: It reminds me of a prayer I heard sometimes back: “Lord, I pray for myself and my wife, my son John and his wife, us four and no more.”
Yes, we can’t, by ourselves, have the attitude of Christ or the love of Christ. We have the right motives and intentions but fail miserably because we are not attuned to the will of the Savior. We cannot see things as He does, we cannot see things through the lens of the Gospel... by ourselves. The old nature is that strong. Ah, but as we proclaimed on Easter, He is stronger than our nature, so only in Him and through Him do we love and give and forgive. Did you know...He is praying for you... and walking with you... and giving you the strength to love others with the love of Christ. PAUSE.
Yes, in the Upper Room Discourse we learn anew of God’s eternal love, which compelled Him to send His Son, as the Savior of the world. This love is from eternity to eternity and will not end. A love so pure and genuine, that the Son of God willfully and joyfully endures the shame, humiliation, suffering, beating and death on a cross to save us. This love which Jesus prays about gave Him the will to accomplish our salvation—and the world’s.
By the grace of God alone, the Holy Spirit has brought you here today to learn some very important things. Christ is a prayer warrior. He is praying for us and other believers. As such we should call upon Him to help us be like Him. As the Apostle Paul exhorts us “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). We are to be just like our Savior praying at all times so that His name might be known throughout the world and that no one will be lost but brought forth by the power of the Holy Spirit to believe in Him.
Did you know that this call to pray is a privilege? There are times we are guilty of taking the great gift for granted. But here is the best part. Our Lord’s is never rescinded. He is constantly there waiting to hear. He wants to hear you. He is waiting for you. In fact, while He is waiting, your name is on His lips as He pleads your case with the Father. “Father, I know he has wandered. But I still died for him. Be patient!” or again, “Father, I know my sister has her doubts, but I have shed my blood for her, give her more time!” As long as you have the breath of life in you, our Lord is even now interceding for you.
Did you know that you have friends in high places? You may have friends that are well connected in government. You may have friends that are well connected in the world of finance and investment. You may have talented friends, beautiful friends, important friends and influential friends. But you might not, at least in this world. But the baptized child of God knows that we have a friend in the HIGHEST place. This FRIEND is Jesus. And this is the friend that laid down His life for you. He then took it back up again. What your friend has, He has given to you. It is all yours!
Did you know... this Grace is yours... for you have been Baptized, made a Child of the King, a sibling of the Savior! Did you know that being His beloved Bride, having His gifts of the Word and the Sacraments; we can come to know Him better and better. Isn’t this Paul’s prayer for Himself in Philippians 3:10!
Did you know that the Ten Commandments are not the only thing written on your heart! He has called you His Holy Bride, a Child of the Heavenly Father. So now you can imitate Him. That means you can forgive others as He has forgiven you. You can show love and patience and peace. This is walking in His love. Did you know... you can do this! Yes you can, for what we celebrated seven weeks ago, with the stone rolled away; revealing that death and its darkness are the only contents of the grave that once held Jesus. He is alive, and He is continually interceding for you, enabling you to imitate Him, and in that mimicking, others who now are in darkness, they will come to know... He lives, and loves, and reigns, to pray for you, even now, ever always.
Faithful followers of the Savior, Do you know He is praying for you? YES HE IS! Hallelujah! Now you know and you also know that, ‘Christ is Risen, He is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!’ Amen!
Now the peace of God…