May 20, 2021

MESSAGE – 7th Sunday of Easter – 16 May 2021

MESSAGE – 7th Sunday of Easter – 16 May 2021

Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed!

THEMES: Unity and Community

The heart of Jesus: “That they all may be one”

 Sure enough this is good timing for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – better together!
As the Easter season draws to a close, the final challenge of this part of the Lectionary, before turning to Pentecost, is for us to commit to Christlike holiness – which, as it turns out, is also a call to unity and community.
For this task, we will certainly need the empowerment of God’s Spirit that next week promises

We are encouraged to connect ourselves, to take the risk of reaching out to others and welcoming them into our circle –continue Christ’s work effectively, as the apostles did with Matthias in the Acts reading.
What is the testimony – those who believe in the Son have the testimony in their hearts.
“The testimony within,” is revealed in living as Jesus lived, and loving as Jesus loved.
Whoever has the Son has life!

Does the testimony I tell with my own life attest to the loving, liberating, life-giving work of God?
How do the voices I surround myself with shape my Christian identity?

Ironically, it is through this obsession with connection rather than division that we cease to be “of” the world.
We live in the world, but we are oriented toward God’s unifying love and life, rather than toward the divisiveness which characterises so much of the agendas of those who ignore God’s life.
Jesus reassures us that he abides with us until the end of the time.
What can we make about what Jesus valued by the way he spent his final days?
Believing in Jesus as the one who brings life connects us with God and in Jesus’ prayer in John 17, Jesus prays for the unity of the disciples with one another even as he is one with God.

High Priestly Prayer
Farewell speech – after dinner, foot washing and new commandments- Jesus is praying to God
Jesus is the mediator between humanity and God
Focus on the connection of Jesus, his followers and God
Some scholars call this the “The Others Lord’s Prayer”
In one prayer Jesus teaches us how to pray
In this prayer Jesus is actually praying for us

Jesus making petitions to God for those he is going to be leaving – and for us.

    • Prayer for protection
      • “They are to be protected so that they may love as they have been commanded to love in a way that not only draws them into union with the divine love but also shows that love to the world into which they are being sent as Jesus has been sent; the previous sending of Jesus and current sending of Jesus’ own is another important theme in the prayer. So Jesus’ own are to be protected not only for their own sakes but also in order to fulfill the mission of love in the world.”
    • Prayer for protection against the evil one
    • Prayer to be sanctified in the truth
      • The Word is the glue between the Father and the Son. Jesus is the Word made flesh. So his Word is his life enfleshed – not just his spoken words, but his life, teaching, and ministry. To be of the Word is to be in the world as Jesus was.
    • Disciples have been called, set apart and then sent into the world
      • “If the broken world isn’t the one that is so beloved, then the lifting up of the Son makes no sense. Jesus need not die if he is only in the world for the sake of the people who like him. And Jesus’ own will not be in danger if they are to bear fruit in happy isolation.”
  • Called- Jesus made God known to the disciples through specific revelation
    • set apart- in knowing God the disciples see what it is to true live and live eternally (as in fuly not as in forever)
      • placing others before self
      • love before power
      • Forgiveness over control
      • sacrifice over sustainability
    • Sent into the world – see this true nature of the in breaking kingdom of God, the disciples are sent out to transform the world by proclaiming the good news in word and deed.
      • We are not called out of the world but into the world
      • In Jesus God meets us where we are- so we are called to meet others where they are to bring the Good news to them- not to demand that they come to us
  • Not to be taken out of the world but to be protected (v. 15-16) How does God protect us? How do we protect each other?
    • The world that here seems to be in opposition to Jesus, is the same world that “For God so loved…” in 3:16.
  • Sovereignty of God
    • God is not one who controls everything, but gives us everything: disciples, words, God’s name, word
    • Prayer is not that God use God’s almighty and controlling power, but that God help us care for the gifts we have been given.