John 17:1-11/1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11/Acts 1:12-26
SEE HOW JESUS PRAYS FOR HIMSELF AND FOR YOU
WITH NAMES AND WORDS AND GLORY
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

Dear fellow redeemed, dear Temish and Katerina on the day of your confirmation!  SEE HOW JESUS PRAYS FOR HIMSELF AND FOR YOU!

This is the one Sunday in the church year between the Ascension of our Lord and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The appointed Gospel takes us back before Christ ascended to God’s right hand – that position that is everywhere with authority over everything. The Gospel reveals Jesus praying in the upper room on the night of the Last Supper just before His betrayal.
 
The context begins this way: When Jesus had spoken these words – words about preparing a place in heaven for us – words claiming to be the way the truth and the life – words acknowledging the hatred of the world – words stating that it was to our advantage that He go away send the Holy Spirit – words ending this way – I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.


John 17:1-11/1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11/Acts 1:12-26
SEE HOW JESUS PRAYS FOR HIMSELF AND FOR YOU
WITH NAMES AND WORDS AND GLORY
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

Dear fellow redeemed, dear Temish and Katerina on the day of your confirmation!  SEE HOW JESUS PRAYS FOR HIMSELF AND FOR YOU!

This is the one Sunday in the church year between the Ascension of our Lord and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The appointed Gospel takes us back before Christ ascended to God’s right hand – that position that is everywhere with authority over everything. The Gospel reveals Jesus praying in the upper room on the night of the Last Supper just before His betrayal.
 
The context begins this way: When Jesus had spoken these words – words about preparing a place in heaven for us – words claiming to be the way the truth and the life – words acknowledging the hatred of the world – words stating that it was to our advantage that He go away send the Holy Spirit – words ending this way – I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven – that is the posture of prayer – the posture for all that follows – eyes to heaven!  SEE HOW JESUS PRAYS FOR HIMSELF AND FOR YOU!  He lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh…

Jesus isn’t praying for His glory the way the world sees glory. He is not asking for earthly splendor or reward. He is not asking for stylistic or statistical glory. Jesus isn’t seeking the glory of Title Town or of political bosses or of idolized celebrities. One of the greatest temptations we face is to find our worth and our satisfaction in one kind of earthly glory or another. We are all by nature addicts to the world’s glory – to be thought of approvingly – to be held in esteem – to ride high here on earth.

BUT SEE HOW JESUS PRAYS FOR HIMSELF AND FOR YOU!  The glory He requests is the glory of honoring the Father’s Name and fulfilling the Father’s Word and serving us according to the Father’s will. 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 I had with you before the world existed. Then His prayer centers on God’s Name and God’s Word.

Temish and Katerina and all who are using the Small Catechism as a prayer book and a handbook for life; - do you see the treasure God led Martin Luther to write. What you have learned by heart is filled with the Name and the Words of God.

Recall how the meaning of every commandment includes the fear and love of God – We should fear and love God …so that. He is named as the reason for everything we do. Recall how the articles of Apostles’ Creed and their meanings confess and cherish the name and the work of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Recall how the very first thing Jesus bids us to pray aloud for every day in the Lord’s Prayer is for His name to be kept holy (on earth as it is in heaven). The meaning Luther confesses for that petition is a rich reflection of the words Jesus prays here in the Upper Room. Luther taught God’s name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity and we, as the children of God lead holy lives according to it. The coming of God’s kingdom (on earth as it is in heaven) – the second petition - likewise has to do with believing God’s holy Word. The will of God done on earth as it is in heaven – the third petition - likewise has to do with hallowing God’s name and the coming of His kingdom through His Word.

And you know how richly the meanings of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion and Absolution confess the name of God and Christ and how intimately they are joined with God’s word. Certainly not just water, but the word of God in and with the water does these things, along with the faith which trust this word of God in the water. Certainly not just eating and drinking do these things, but the words written here: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”  These words, along with the bodily eating and drinking are the main thing in the Sacrament. And in the Absolution – I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

You see, it’s all about “these words” – a phrase Luther uses again and again – these words of God. And it’s all about the name of God – the recurring source and center of Scripture’s witness and the catechism’s confession. Martin Luther teaches you to pray for yourself and the world from the catechism – saturated with the name and the words of God. This is not His invention!  SEE HOW JESUS PRAYS FOR HIMSELF AND FOR YOU from our text - saturated with the name and the words of God. These two are beautifully and intimately related.

I have manifested your name to the people you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.

What does this mean?  Only when God gives us His Name can we know Him and call upon Him and honor Him. Only when God gives us His Name can we keep it holy – that is set it apart – use it in a way that is separate in kind from all other names. Temish and Katerina, God gave you His Name in the waters of Holy Baptism – the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Dear Christians – He did the same for you in your baptism. Confirmation is a precious church rite that emphasizes how vital it is to remain in God’s Name – to live in your baptism.

SEE HOW JESUS PRAYS FOR HIMELF AND FOR YOU!  Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. To be kept in the sphere of the Father’s Name is to be kept in the sphere of the Father’s love. And God’s love comes to us specifically in the flesh of His Son, Jesus.

Jesus’ statement I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me – shows that Jesus does not pray for the world in the way He does in this context. That is, Jesus cannot pray for them to be kept in God’s Name because they are not in God’s Name. The world is in opposition to Christ. With all of its natural resources and philosophical pride and academic activity the world has no resources to bring itself into the sphere of God. To pray for the world to get better – to draw closer to God somehow – to be more religious or more spiritual someway - will not help the world.

Only Jesus can help the world spiritually and Jesus does love the world – For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son…  And while Jesus does not pray for the world in its opposition to God He does pray that the world may believe through the Word of His Apostles. Jesus’ words – that the world may believe that you have sent me (John 17:20-21). To pray for the world to continue on – in its pagan pride – in its hatred of Christ - in its profaning of His Name – is not a Christ-like thing. To pray for the world to repent and believe in Christ through the apostolic word is a Christ-like thing.

Jesus knows that His crucifixion is just hours away. He knows that after his resurrection and ascension He will be in the world through His Church – by teaching and feeding and forgiving her – by leading her in the truth. Through His Church alone, the Gospel will be in the world, offering life and salvation to a world sitting in the darkness of death. He knows that Satan will seek to devour them. He knows that they will be insulted for the Name of Christ and go through fiery trials. Therefore, for their sake and for the sake of the world, He prays for them whom the Father has given Him. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.

Three times in these eleven verses Jesus speaks of believers – of His followers - as those the Father has given to Him. He prays - To give eternal life to all whom you have given me. He prays I have manifested my name to the people you gave me out of the world. He prays I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.

SEE HOW JESUS PRAYS FOR HIMSELF AND FOR YOU!  You are to see yourself as a gift from God the Father to God the Son!  That is profound!  We have learned beautiful words by heart that confess part of this wonder…I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to Him but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel…  From Scripture you know that faith in Jesus Christ is a gift – not due to your choosing or your decision or your act of acceptance. You know that you come to the Father only through the blood of the Son by the life-giving work of the Holy Spirit.

But beloved of God, you must never think of God the Father as a step removed from all this. Your conscience must not think of Him as somehow hovering off in the distance waiting to bring the hammer down on you in death. No, no, no – this is not God’s Name!  Death has lost its sting for the Lord is good; and His steadfast love endures forever. God the Father is rather like the Father at the wedding between Christ and His Bride the Church. When the question is asked, “who gives this woman to be married to this man” the heavenly Father answers, “I do.”  You have been given by the Father to Jesus. The Father is still fully behind and active in what Christ serves you today.

On the day of your confirmation you were absolutely correct to confess the gifts God gave you in baptism!  You were absolutely correct, by the grace of God, to promise your intent to hear the Word of God and receive the Lord’s Supper faithfully. We are to pray for and encourage those who are not. You were absolutely correct, by the grace of God, to promise to remain true to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, even to death.

The Name of the Father is the one who gives you Jesus but also the one who gives you to Jesus. The Name of Jesus is the Name by which you are saved – the Name above every name. The Name of the Holy Spirit is the one who through God’s Word brings and keeps Jesus before you as the way to the Father. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

SEE HOW JESUS PRAYS FOR HIMSELF AND FOR YOU!  With eyes lifted to heaven He prepares to meet the glory of His sacrificial death. In effect the Father is saying here is Your Bride!  In effect Jesus is saying, “with this cross I thee wed.”  He is going to the Father through His cross and resurrection and mighty ascension. He who had glory with the Father before the world existed does all this for you.

Here is the footing to resist Satan’s schemes standing firm in the faith. Here is hope in the midst of suffering – suffering that is not a stranger in the life of a Christian. Here is reason to humble yourself and cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

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