FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – MAY 3, 2015
TEXT: JOHN 16:5-15; JAMES 1:16-21; ISAIAH 12:1-6
IT IS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE THAT I GO AWAY…
BECAUSE I GO TO THE FATHER
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Dear hearers of the Word made flesh: As Jesus speaks, His suffering is at hand. In the upper room – after washing the disciples feet – He said, I do as the Father has commanded me (14:31). He also said to those with Him, whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God…because they have not known the Father or me (16:2, 3). In that context He continues, “Now I am going to him who sent me…I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.


Dear Christians, one way or another we are always on the lookout for our advantage. Whether looking for a sale or benefit in relationships or explaining and presenting ourselves to others - we desire to increase, not decrease. We want to move forward, not backward in this passing world and we want to do it our way.  


But doing things our way is the problem – quick to speak and slow to hear – quick to anger as if our anger could somehow make things right. Our way is to seek direction and delight from the voices of this world and our own inner logic rather than to receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save (our) souls.


If that were not the case – if we inherently understood our true and infinitely great advantage – Jesus’ words here would delight us day and night.  It is to your advantage that I go away…because I go to the Father. The beautiful, saving truth is that all of Jesus’ life leads to this - going to the Father. The words and deeds of His life flow together and the pull of the whole movement is - going to the Father - from whom the movement began. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…

FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – MAY 3, 2015
TEXT: JOHN 16:5-15; JAMES 1:16-21; ISAIAH 12:1-6
IT IS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE THAT I GO AWAY…
BECAUSE I GO TO THE FATHER
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Dear hearers of the Word made flesh: As Jesus speaks, His suffering is at hand. In the upper room – after washing the disciples feet – He said, I do as the Father has commanded me (14:31). He also said to those with Him, whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God…because they have not known the Father or me (16:2, 3). In that context He continues, “Now I am going to him who sent me…I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.


Dear Christians, one way or another we are always on the lookout for our advantage. Whether looking for a sale or benefit in relationships or explaining and presenting ourselves to others - we desire to increase, not decrease. We want to move forward, not backward in this passing world and we want to do it our way.  


But doing things our way is the problem – quick to speak and slow to hear – quick to anger as if our anger could somehow make things right. Our way is to seek direction and delight from the voices of this world and our own inner logic rather than to receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save (our) souls.


If that were not the case – if we inherently understood our true and infinitely great advantage – Jesus’ words here would delight us day and night.  It is to your advantage that I go away…because I go to the Father. The beautiful, saving truth is that all of Jesus’ life leads to this - going to the Father. The words and deeds of His life flow together and the pull of the whole movement is - going to the Father - from whom the movement began. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…


God’s good and perfect gift – came from the Father full of grace and truth (John 1:14) - in Mary’s virgin womb! At the age of 12 He was in His Father’s house of prayer (John 2:16). In public ministry He said that the Father had given all judgment to the Son (John 5:22) - set His seal on the Son (6:27) - bearing witness about the Son (8:18) - glorifying the Son (8:54). He said that He honored the Father (8:49) and spoke as the Father taught Him – doing nothing on His own authority (8:28). He taught that no one could come to Him unless the Father draws him (6:46). He also said, I and the Father are one (John 10:30). Great is the mystery of the will and the work of God the Father with God the Son. Great also is the wondrous love between them and their wondrous love for you! It is to your advantage that I go away…because I go to the Father.


The disciples had disconnected Jesus’ words about suffering and separation from the whole gift of Jesus’ life. In order for the Word made flesh to send us the implanted word – He must go to the Father and He must do so according to the Father’s will. In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them…For our sake God made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:19-21). Jesus must therefore go to the Father through bloody sweat, through denial, through naked shame, through suffering and death, and finally through resurrection and ascension. Now this is at hand. With His heart ready to drink the cup – ready to break in grief - Jesus saw the effect His words were producing in His disciples’ hearts. He speaks to their distress and names the future treasure they would receive when their physical sight of Him was interrupted.


Because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father…concerning judgment because the ruler of this world is judged.


The Holy Spirit cuts right to the heart from which the chief sin flows – the sin of unbelief. Were it not for this sin there would be no lawlessness, no lusting, no love of money, no lack of trust in God, no selfishly looking out for our own advantage. Unbelief is the original sin – the root and stem of all sin – still today – still in us! When he comes he will convict the world…concerning sin because they do not believe in me.

 

What a great and blessed benefit you have received and are receiving through the ministry of the Spirit! You confess what you have done and left undone – and the weight of that is tremendous before God’s holiness! You say you have not loved God with your whole heart – and yet He demands that you love Him with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength! If you keep on wanting things your way – then that’s what you will receive. But your way ends in death and punishment that is eternal. Such conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is His doing that you are not cocky and self-assured – in your level of performance – in the strength of your service – in your meekness to hear the implanted word - in your hold on God. The Holy Spirit ministers to you by cutting off all your excuses and at times giving you sorrow and heaviness of heart that is not self-chosen. That heartache, that longing of repentance, to be rid of sin, to get it right, to trust fully - is good – not bad! Yet the Spirit’s ministry of convicting, or reproving, of correcting does not stop there!


He will convict the world concerning righteousness…because I go to the Father and you will see me no longer. This is a singular, unusual righteousness. It is Christ Himself, going to the Father! In His return blood is shed that cleanses you from all sin! In His return debt is cancelled – God’s anger is turned away – life is given! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for Him. Sing to the Lord a new song, alleluia, for he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. For 40 days the risen Christ revealed it visibly in the flesh. Now the Holy Spirit declares it to you!


When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. What a great and blessed benefit you have received and are receiving through the ministry of the Spirit! You rightly confess – “I believe that I cannot by my one reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him. But the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.”   By the Spirit’s call you have been baptized into the death of Christ – His going to the Father. In that exchange you were given rebirth. Of his own will he brought you forth by the word of truth. See how strong is His bond of love for you!


In that love, the Spirit’s ministry of convicting continues even beyond the new life of this day. He will convict the world…concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. Truth is more than a trait. Jesus is the truth and the Spirit of truth is the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9/Galatians 4:6). What the Spirit of Christ convicts of concerning judgment is marvelously freeing and fortifying!  Who would have thought such was possible for us sinners? It seems opposite of what we should hear. As He convicts of our sin we rightly see that we deserve judgment. But as He convicts of the righteousness that is ours in Christ – He lengthens it all the way to judgment! There is now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. The Holy Spirit calls you by the Gospel to know that your judgment has been served in full – for all the filthiness – all the wickedness - all the anger – all the seeking of advantage – it is finished! Satan stands judged – not you! He has been thrown down. He can offer not one accusation against you before the Father’s throne. Interposed between God’s holy judgment and you is your intercessor who by going to the Father has redeemed you. By a single offering He perfected for all time those who are being sanctified (Heb. 10:14). He entered once for all into the holy places…by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12).


Beloved that’s why the preaching of Christ is so foreign to the dreams of this fleeting life and to the way this world works. The convicting work of the Holy Spirit is a far greater gift than the most advantageous position in this world. The faith to which He has called you regarding sin and righteousness and judgment has altered the whole pattern of your life. Look where you are at today. With all your doubts and struggles and weaknesses, you do know the Father and the Son because the Holy Spirit is convicting you. He declares Jesus to you. Your advantage is always more of Jesus and His words alive with the Spirit.


The advantage the Holy Spirit brings to you is of such weighty consequence that by Jesus’ going to the Father your little death up ahead just a bit is also now your own going to the Father. As Jesus said, the Holy Spirit does not speak this to you on His own authority. Whatever he hears he will speak, and will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. See how fully you are the goal of the Holy Trinity’s unified work! It is all for you – for your going to the Father. “Dear Christians one and all rejoice!”


Shout and sing for joy…for great in your midst is the holy one of Israel. The body and the blood of Jesus the Spirit now declares to you as Jesus gives you what is His! The forgiveness of sins Jesus purchased with His body and blood the Spirit declares to you – a gift from the Father! Reconciliation with God – restored communion with Him and all the company of heaven the Spirit declares to you. Beloved – by His calling through the Gospel you are not just meandering through life. You are going to the Father – where true joys are found.


That frees you to go with Jesus to your heavenly Father in daily prayer – Our Father who art in heaven. You cannot ask too much of Him for it is His will to give you His name and His kingdom and deliver you from all evil. You are going to the Father and that frees you to go to your neighbor in love – quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. You are going to the Father and that frees you to go to your place of work and your summer duties with thankful contentment and trust. God is looking out for you advantage and - Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of lights.  In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a