Sixth Sunday of Easter - Rogate
May 21, 2017
Text: John 16:23-33
Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Amen)
It is written, “23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
Thus far the text. Let us pray:
Creator Father, who has baptized us into the death of Jesus and place His name on us claiming us as Your own, listen to our prayers that we pray in Jesus’ name. Give us what we ask for so that our joy may be full. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. (Amen)
Today is Rogate Sunday meaning Prayer Sunday. Jesus is again teaching us to pray and prayer means to ask the Father for something in the name of Jesus.
Let me present to you what the Holy Spirit has written regarding how the Father’s baptized and believing children should pray. What makes Christian prayer such a blessing to you that your joy may be full? Let’s listen to our Lord.
First, prayer begins with the Lord because He has made many promises to you.
The disciples asked the Lord, teach us how to pray (Matt 6 & Luke 11) and Jesus said, “Say these words: Our Father who art in heaven…” Jesus did not give a theory about prayer. Jesus did not give a lecture. Jesus gave the disciples and you the very words to ask His Father. For those seven requests in the Lord’s prayer, someone must die. Jesus died for each petition so that you may have what is offered.
It is the Lord’s Prayer. The Father never tires of it. You might know it so well that you now pray it without even thinking about. Well, slow down and say it again. You might tire of concluding Bible studies with the Lord’s Prayer. Well, let us slow down and say it again after the next Bible study, too. Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, and true Man, born of the Virgin Mary, is Your Lord who ransomed You from sin, death, and the power of the devil so that the Father’s name would be hallowed among you; His kingdom come among you; His will be done among you and more. Slow down. If it takes a week to slowly pray one petition of the Lord’s Prayer - that is ok. The Father never tires of hearing it. The Father never tires of giving you what He promised in those petitions. Never. Why because it is the Lord’s Prayer.
Second, faith is required to receive the benefits of these promises. Faith receives the promise of the Father. Just as Christian prayer begins with the Father so also faith begins with Jesus.
A dispute arose among the disciples in John chapter 6. The disciples asked Jesus, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus’ response is so very important. “Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” Did you catch that? What is the work of God? God’s work is that you believe in Jesus! When the disciple ask, ‘what is the work we must do to do the works of God’ I would have expected Jesus to say something like, ‘This is the work that you must do….believe in Jesus.’ Belief is not your work. Belief or faith is the work of God for you. Jesus does the work of saving faith in His death and resurrection.
So, prayer begins with the Father’s promise and is receive by the faith of Jesus which He worked in You. But how is the prayer delivered to you?
Third, the Holy Spirit has had the promises of the Father written for you to hear and read. The promises of God are delivered to you by means of the Holy Spirit which are the Lord’s Word and Sacrament. It is in His Holy Scriptures that you know what the Father desires to give to you.
But this is only the first half of prayer. The Father makes a promise to you. Jesus does the work for you. The Holy Spirit delivers the benefits of that promise and work to you by Word and Sacrament. But what is the other half. What is that part that we specifically regard as Christian prayer.
You ask for what the Holy Spirit has written, in the name of Jesus, to the Father. Do you see that? Prayer begins with the Father working in Jesus to deliver His promises to you by means of the Holy Spirit. Then you, by means of the Holy Spirit ask the Father for what is promised in the name of Jesus. So, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to you. And then you, Holy Spirit, Jesus, to the Father.
So prayer begins with the Father and ends with the Father and you receive the benefit.
For example. It is written in Hosea 6:6, “For I, the Lord, have desired mercy not sacrifice.” The lepers cry in Luke 17:12-14 cry out for this mercy, saying “And as Jesus entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when Jesus saw them, He said to them, Go show yourselves to the priests. And it came to pass, that, as the lepers went, they were cleansed from all their leprosy.” The lepers prayed on the basis of the Father’s promised mercy. But only one, by means of the Holy Spirit returned to Jesus to give thanks to the Father.
Another example: In John chapter 2 at the Wedding Feast, “When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Jesus, “They have no wine.” Mary knows that “every good gift and every perfect gift comes from the Father” (James) so she makes a request in Jesus name. She doesn’t specify how or when the Lord should act but her prayer is answered, the wedding party does not run out of wine.
Another example: In Luke chapter 23:42, two criminals are crucified next to Jesus, one on His left and one on His right. One of the criminals prayed saying, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
A final example: After Jesus returned to His disciples after an early morning prayer, His disciples asked Jesus, Teach us how to prayer. And Jesus said, When you pray say these words. This morning, to conclude this sermon, let me pray those words for you. Slowly.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,
Give us this day our daily bread, and
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and Lead us, not into temptation, but
Deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory both now and forever more. (Amen)
The peace of God, which passes understanding, guard and keep your body and soul in Jesus Christ. (Amen)