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Summary: Seventh Sunday of Easter Fellowship

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7th Sunday of Easter

John 17:1-11

I Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11

"A Sense of Togetherness"

1* ¶ When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee,

2* since thou hast given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him.

3* And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.

4* I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou gavest me to do;

5* and now, Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world was made.

6* ¶ "I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have kept thy word.

7 Now they know that everything that thou hast given me is from thee;

8* for I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee; and they have believed that thou didst send me.

9* I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine;

10* all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them.

11* ¶ And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.RSV

Our gospel test for this morning comes from Jesus’ priestly prayer which He prayed the night before His death on the cross. He addressed His Father in heaven asking that the disciples might remain faithful to the world which He had given them, asked that they might remain faithful to the Father, asked that they might remain together as a group, or fellowship of believers. This prayer is named His priestly prayer, because Jesus was praying on behalf of the disciples to His Father in heaven in the same way a priest in the Old Testament would offer intercession on behalf of the nation of Israel.

As Jesus prays for the disciples, a few verses ring out loud and clear for us this morning as these verses 7,8, 9, 10 focus on the fellowship which Jesus wanted to establish between His disciples, between His disciples and the Father,and the loving and caring which would bind that fellowship together. Listen again to Jesus’ words as He charges the disciples and us to live in that loving fellowship.........

7 Now they know that everything that thou hast given me is from thee;

8* for I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee; and they have believed that thou didst send me.

9* I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine;

10* all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them.

Do you sense the togetherness, the unity, the union, Jesus hopes and prays for in this prayer as He prays for His disciples and all those who would be His followers today???

Our second lesson picks up that theme of togetherness and brings to it the reality that life as a follower of Jesus is not easy. Peter speaks about the suffering, the brokenness that is in this world, the brokenness that all followers of Jesus Christ will encounter at one time or another as he or she walks with Christ. Peter ties the glory, the richness, the unity of the Christian community with the reality that, that community lives in a broken and less than perfect world.

He says in verses 6-11

6* Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you.

7* Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.

8* ¶ Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour.

9* Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world.

10* ¶ And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you.

11* To him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.RSV

As we look at these two interwoven themes, we see that because of the love and fellowship, because of the brokenness we encounter in this world----there is a definite obligation for us as followers of Christ to uphold, to pull-together, to encourage, to comfort, to be there for another member of the community with comfort, cheer and love as we bind ourselves together in this community of Christ, known as the church.

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