Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sermon for Easter 7: "Kept in the Name"

+ 7th Sunday of Easter – May 28th, 2017 +
Redeemer Lutheran, HB
Series A: Acts 1:12-26; 1 Peter 4:12-19, 5:6-11; John 17:1-11

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Names are important. Huntington Beach is known around the world as Surf City, USA. Parents choose their children’s names with meaning, family history, or the way a name sounds: Zoe is the Greek word for life in the New Testament; Jonah is Hebrew for dove and Jesus names Jonah when he gives the sign of Jonah predicting his own resurrection. We name our instruments, cars, boats, and airplanes, as our own Steve Snyder has written about. Names are important in everyday life.

And even more so in Scripture. Adam means earth for he was created from the dust. 
Abraham means father of many nations, for from his offspring comes one who will bless all nations. Even God has a name he gives his people to call upon: YHWH, the Lord, Jesus (which means YHWH saves), and many more.

As we pray in the confession every Sunday: Our help is in the Name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Along with Jesus’ many names, he has many titles. He is prophet, fulfilling and proclaiming God’s Word as the Word made flesh. He is King, who rules and reigns in his death, resurrection, and ascension for us.

And in today’s Gospel reading we hear Jesus in his priestly role, praying to the Father, praying for his disciples, praying for you, that you would be kept in the name of the Lord. In his high priestly prayer in John 17, Jesus prays:

Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

This is the Name God revealed to Moses in the burning bush in Exodus 3. I am who I am.” “Say this to the people of Israel: I am has sent me to you.’”

YHWH. I AM WHO I AM. This is God’s personal name. The Name of YHWH was a reminder that this God, and he alone, was their God, their redeemer and savior. With the Name of YHWH came his power and authority. Later in Exodus when YHWH instructs Moses to build a tabernacle for the sacrifices for sin, he declares:

In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you.

Wherever YHWH’s name is, there is his peace, presence, and blessing. Miriam and the host of Israel sang of God’s salvation by the shores of the Red Sea: “I will sing unto YHWH (the Lord), for he has triumphed gloriously, the horse and rider he has thrown in to the sea.” God kept Israel safe and saved them by his name.

The Psalms are full of similar songs of praise, such as Psalm 100: YHWH is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. God promises to keep us in his steadfast love by his name.

Many centuries later, the prophet Isaiah declared that YHWH would also be known by another name…

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Immanuel, God with us. Through the prophets, and down through the centuries, God kept his promise by his name and revealed his name in yet another way. No longer would the Name of the Lord be seen in the burning bush. No longer would the tabernacle and temple be the place of God’s dwelling. Now YHWH’s glory, peace, presence, promise, salvation, blessing, and his Name, would be made known to you in the God-man Jesus.

As the angel told Joseph concerning Mary, She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

That’s what the name of Jesus means: YHWH Saves.

This is what the Father sent His Son to do, save you, me, and the world by his name. It’s good that Jesus gives us an example of prayer, as he does in the Lord’s prayer. We pray hallowed be Thy name. But even the best examples God gives us still reveal our sin. Because even though it’s true that God’s name is holy in itself, we don’t always keep God’s name holy among us. We curse, swear, or deceive by his name. We fail to call upon his name in every trouble, pray, praise, or give thanks to him. We live contrary to God’s name and the name he baptized us into in our thoughts, words, and deeds.

Jesus prays that we would be one, and yet we quarrel and bicker with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, we sow discord and despair with our words to others. We see the church in this country and around the world plagued by false teaching that profanes the name of the Lord in the church and among the unbelieving world.

As St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6, And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

This is why Jesus prays for his disciples and for you. That you would be kept in the Father’s Name. It’s good that Jesus gives us an example of prayer in the Lord’s Prayer. But it’s also good that Jesus prays for us, to keep us in the name of the Lord.

That’s Jesus’ work as our great high priest; he is constantly praying for us, intereceding on our behalf, showing the Father his wounds that cover our sin, pleading with the Father to look, not at the filth of our sin, but at the blood of his cross. Jesus is enthroned forever as God and man, your advocate, so that you hear in this place that your sins are forgiven in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Holy Father, keep them in your name…

This Lord who keeps you in his name also calls you by name, writes your name in the Lamb’s book of life.

Jesus reveals God’s name for you, YHWH saves. Jesus saves you.

Jesus gives you faith in his Word, that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20:19-20).

Jesus joins you to his own death and resurrection; he keeps you in the ark of his church in Baptism where you are washed with water and word in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus promises that wherever two or three of us are gathered in his name, he is with us in the water, word, body and blood where he promises to dwell with us and for us.

As we come to the Lord’s table to receive his body and blood for our forgiveness we sing, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 

We come into God’s presence in Divine Service in his name, and we are sent out again into the world, into our vocations in his name at the end in the benediction as well.

Jesus sends his church into the world to teach his Word and baptize in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, promising to be with us always, to keep us in his name.

Jesus calls us in our Baptism to honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.

As Jesus prayed for his disciples and sent them out, so too, he prays for us and sends us out into the world to declare the name of the Lord, who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Holy Father, keep us in your Name.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment