Worship on May 28, 2017

Reverend Lindsey Williams

The Hour Has Come

John 17:1-11

 

Gospel Reading


After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

6”I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.

11And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.


Interpretation of the Word

 

This morning, on this last Sunday of Easter before Pentecost, we hear Jesus praying for his disciples.  He has over the previous chapters been teaching the disciples some last few lessons before Jesus heads to the cross.  This is not a prayer that Jesus says alone, off in the garden alone.  No, instead Jesus closes their time in prayer, right in the midst of his disciples.  After having taught them some final lessons, given them some final assurances, and prepared them for living life without his physical presence, he prays for them.   

 

So in his prayer, Jesus leaves us with LOTS to unpack, more than we can unpack in 10-20 minutes on a Sunday morning.  Because there IS so much to unpack in this passage, we are going to take a look at two of the things Jesus is praying about, because I see a link between them.  First we are going to take a look at “glorify” because it is mentioned five times in the first five verses.  It is the MAIN verb used by Jesus in these opening lines of the prayer.  Then we will look at the oneness to which Jesus is calling the disciples, as that will glorify God and all that Jesus has taught the disciples to be and do.  

 

So first off, Jesus is praying about glory, glorification, to glorify.  Jesus is praying the God will be glorified by the work Jesus has done in the teaching and leading of the disciples, he is also praying that the disciples will continue to glorify God in the work they will continue once Jesus leaves them.  Jesus uses a form of the verb that transcends time.  What do I mean by this, I mean it is not past, present or future, because it is all of them at the same time.  Jesus uses a verb that notates perpetual movement, while the glorifying has begun in the past, it is not left in the past, but is continued in the present and even the future.  So, Jesus is asking God to continue the glorification that began during the ministry of Jesus and to continue it through the work of the disciples, then and even now.  

 

What does “glorify” even mean?  To glorify means to praise and worship; to describe or represent as admirable; to make glorious by bestowing honor, praise or admiration.  The word stems from the Latin root, gloria, meaning to glory.  Some synonyms of ‘glorify’ are: praise, extol, exalt, to worship, to revere, to reverence to honor. 

 

Jesus is praying that the disciples will praise and worship God the Father and the Son with the way that they respond to all that they have been taught.  They have been taught to love one another, to lift one another up, to be in the world but not of it, to live in the truth of what Jesus has taught them, to no be afraid because they are not going to be alone.  But even more broadly, Jesus is praying that God will be praised and worshiped in all that the disciples do and say.  

 

So one way that we can understand what Jesus is talking about in his prayer, is that God began a work of being glorified in the life of Jesus Christ and his ministry and that that work, that praise and worship is to be continued in the life and ministries of the disciples that Jesus leaves behind and all of the disciples to come.  Even you and me, this is Jesus’ prayer for us.  He is praying that we will glorify God and Jesus through the teachings that we have received.  

One question we need to ask ourselves is: why would Jesus feel the need to pray about glorifying God the Father in front of the disciples, as the opening prayer to God about the disciples?  Maybe it is because we, as humans, get side-tracked.  We can tend to lose focus on what we’re doing.  

 

How true is that?  You’ve begun a task, it is going great, and then *BAM* life happens.  Something throws you off track, you are diverted, and you have to take up another task, forgetting, maybe not intentionally, but leaving the earlier task behind none the less.  We get side-tracked; real life takes a front seat, pushing that previous task into the backseat or even the truck, or maybe even kicking it out of the car all together.    Out of sight out of mind, and at some point we maybe forget about it all together.  This can be especially true when there is trauma and crisis in our lives.  

 

So Jesus here is praying that the disciples will keep their focus on glorifying God, because he knows that in the coming days and moments, his trial and death, the disciples are going to be distracted by the real-life events that are happening all around them.  The real life emotion that is very real and has them riddled with fear.  Jesus knows that trauma and crisis of faith the disciples are about to experience and he prays for God to strengthen them and give them the focus of glorifying God the Father and the Son.

 

This prayer is not just a prayer for the disciples heading into the face of the very real and near reality that Jesus is about to be killed and will leave them, but this is also a prayer for us.  For you and me.  We need for Jesus to pray for us to remember our focus and to keep us tuned into glorifying God the Father and the Son.  We are torn in so many different directions today, that it is easy, too easy, to be leave the very real task of glorifying God on the side of the road, tossed out for the other “more pressing” matters of life.  

 

We also hear the world around us sneakily telling us that we are to glorify things other than God too.  What in our culture do we glorify?  We don’t always glorify God the Father or the Son, do we?  The broken world around us encourages us to glorify things other than God.  I am not attempting to pass blame or convict anyone, but if we honestly ask ourselves what or who do we glorify in our daily activities.  We might not necessarily come up with God.  Instead, we might glorify money, or politics, or football, or baseball, or a perfect image, or our constant state of busy-ness.  Believe me, folks, I’m guilty.  We all are.  This is not about confession time, but instead that there is grace and that Jesus is praying for us.  He is praying that we will gain, or regain, our focus on glorifying God with every single action in our lives.   

 

How do the disciples glorify God with every single action?  It is living in the truth that has been made known to them in the life of Jesus Christ.  It is in keeping the Word.  It is knowing, not just in a theoretical way, but knowing in our hearts, truly believing, the teachings Jesus has given to us.  It is the teachings Jesus not only gave, but demonstrated to the disciples, to live in the truth that they have been taught, and that they would not be divided by the things in the world that will attempt to divide them.  

 

How do we do that?  What does our life look like after Easter?   Jesus prays for the disciples, because he is leaving them and knows that they will need some extra support.  Jesus  reminds us, “I am no longer in the world, but You are in the world.”  Which leaves us the disciples and US with the very real question of:  “So how are You going to live?”  

 

 

What does our post-Easter life look like? Jesus is needs for us to be united.  A house divided cannot stand.  Let’s be honest, this house, this church universal is under threat of being divided, if it hasn’t already been divided, over and over again.  And why?  Why has it been divided over and over again, because we’re human, and we let the things of the world influence us, influence the way that we understand and live out the teachings given to us in the WORD, by the Word Made Flesh, by Jesus, who prayed that we would not be divided but instead that we would be united.  Because this passage is ultimately about relationship, unity and oneness.  This passage, this prayer, is about relationship.  If they, the disciples, can’t care for one another, if they can’t witness and love one another, then there is no way that anyone else is going to come to believe or understand the love that God has for the whole world.  

 

Folks, the hour has come, to ask, how are we going to live in this post-Easter life.  How are we going to come together?  How are we going to love one another, within our community, so that those outside of it see just what a good thing we have going on here?  I want for people to ask, Hey, what have you got that is SO great?  I have the love of God, and the support and love of those also praise and worship right along side of me.  Putting aside our differences in the world, so that we might be united by the love of God, and share it with one another each and every day.  


June 28, 2017
SUNDAY WORSHIP

 

Worship Service 11:00AM

Adult Bible Study   9:45AM

Children's Class  11:00AM 

   

SERMON ON SUNDAY: July 2, 2017  "Welcome"

 

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