S-1435 7SOE/3A 6/01/2014 Hymns: (O) #216; (S) #219; (C) #221
Texts: Acts 1:12-26; 1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11; John 17:1-11
Theme: “The Heart of Jesus!” (John 17:9)
Question: “How would you describe your heart?” Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen, indeed! Alleluia! The text is for the 7th Sunday of Easter is from the Gospel Lesson: “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 17:9).
Beloved, precious, beautiful and adored children of the heavenly Father, in 1997 a movie hit the big screen called the Titanic. The story is not only of the sinking of the ship but also the illicit love between two passengers. One of them wore a heart-shaped diamond necklace called “The Heart of the Ocean” which belonged to King Louis 16th and which he wore on the day of his execution in 1793. Though the diamond that was worn by Rose in the movie is fictional, yet after the success of the movie two London-based jewelers Asprey & Garrard created an authentic “Heart of the Ocean necklace” using the original design. The result was a platinum-set, 171-carat (34.2 g) heart-shaped Ceylonsapphire surrounded by 103 diamonds. The necklace was valued at $20 million.
However, today, what we have in the Gospel of St. John is not the fictional story of diamond- studded heart; but the faithful and true story of the heart of God’s only Son, Jesus the Christ. The story that John tells us this morning has a greater value than $20 million because it reveals the heart of Jesus and what He was willing to endure to liberate us from the prison of sin.
The saying is true: “The eyes are the window of the soul.” Today, through the words of John we get to see the heart of Jesus. All of Scripture reveals to us God’s heart. His heart demonstrates how much He cares for His people and reveals how much He loves us. His heart is one that gives us a glimpse into the inner chambers of His thoughts towards His creation—you and me.
In these words of prayer, Jesus reveals His true heart. This isn’t just Jesus being the emotional guy who wears His heart on His sleeve. No there is so much more going on! In these words Jesus reveals that His heart is set on two things: Glorifying the Father and Caring for those who follow Him.
It was the Heart of the Father that caused Jesus to be in a position to pray the prayer that is before us today. He was broken hearted at the prospect of losing you and me for eternity because of our sin. That would not do. So from the foundations of the world the Father was willing to send His very Heart, His One and only Son, into the world to do what we could never do, that is keep His Law perfectly, bear up under its burden, die and then rise. In this action of Jesus He shows us the true heart of God. PAUSE.
It is this heart of God that shows us what true glory really is. This is the glory that Jesus makes known to us. Glory is not about gleaming crowns and cushy thrones. Glory is not about having notoriety or fame. Real glory, the glory that our Lord treasures and exemplifies, is a self-less glory. Jesus knows what this glory costs. I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave Me to do. And now, Father, glorify Me in Your own presence with the glory that I had with You before the world existed. He selflessly lived, selflessly taught and was on His way to selflessly die for you and for me. There is no greater glory in all of creation than the glory that comes at the very moment when Jesus allowed His holy heart to stop beating on that day we call Good Friday. The cross is our Lord’s ultimate glory.
But that glory is for others. First it is in response to the Father. That is why this prayer starts the way it does. But there are others on our Lord Jesus’ heart as well as He prays these words. You are on His heart. A heart that could well be so heavy with the burden He was in the process of bearing on our behalf is made light because He is going to face it all for you! Only a heart full of love can be so consumed. This is the very heart of Jesus!
The heart of Jesus continues to be filled with this kind of love for you and for me. What Jesus prays for in this wonderful prayer is being answered for us even today! I Am praying for them. I Am not praying for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. All mine are Yours. PAUSE.
Here in this place, we, His 21st century disciples see and hear Jesus’ heart. Jesus’ conversation with the Father is especially compelling: It’s about us! Yes, you and me sitting in this place called Redeemer Lutheran Church of Armour, SD. And the heart of our Savior is that we know God. John invites us to pull up a chair and listen attentively not simply to words, but the Words from the Word made flesh.
As we eaves drop on the conversation of Jesus, we hear Him asking the Father to glorify the Son for the purpose of glorifying the Father. Jesus seeks no other glory than the glory of the Father! Everything that Jesus did was to bring glory and honor to the One who sent Him into the world to redeem the world. Every word spoken by Jesus was to draw the disciples the world over to see the love of God for His precious children—even you.
We desperately need to be here exposed to this heart of Jesus! Our human heart, so greatly corrupted with sin is so easily turned in on itself. Of ourselves, we could not ever pray that prayer that Jesus prayed for us. We don’t know how to be selfless. From our earliest days in this world it is clear that the human heart is about itself. Our heart desires what pleases us. We want what we want, when we want it. It is this sinful self-centeredness that severed our relationship with God in the Garden. That same self-centeredness still ruins relationships to this day. Centered on self, our heart cannot be at peace with God, our neighbors or creation. Even among us Christians this self-centeredness comes through loud and clear. We want to worship Jesus in a style that suits us.
We truly have a golden gem in these words of John because they show us the heart of Jesus. From His heart flow His desires for all of God’s creation. First, He wants the world to know the truth that He is the Only WAY to the Father. Second, He wants them to know that He will protect them from every enemy—especially the devil. And finally He has set them apart to tell the world of His great and unconditional Sacrifice on the cursed tree of the cross. PAUSE.
Saints in Christ, when the Titanic embarked on her maiden voyage in 1912, the world was filled with hope and awe. In just a few short days those emotions turned to horror and grief. However, when the Savior embarked on His journey almost 2000 years ago, He came to bring hope and joy to all of those who lived under the burden of grief and horror. And He gave them that hope as He permitted some to hang Him on the cross and cause His heart to stop beating. But that is not the end of the story. Three days later He rose from the grave and forty days later He ascended to heaven and promised to return to take us to be with Him.
Some of you know that this past week we held our VBS. The theme was based on Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Here lies the heart of God. He reveals it in His Son. Each child received a t-shirt with this message (show the shirt. It is blue with life line of white and center of a cross) “Jesus saves our souls” and He has and always will!
The VBS students along with their teachers put together this banner that talks about the heart of Jesus that teaches us the truth of our HOPE: “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19 NIV).
By the grace of God alone, we have seen the heart of Jesus, His love for us and His unconditional sacrifice in saving us from the punishment of hell. Thanks be to the One who reveals His heart to us now and always. Amen.
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA