Summary: A sermon for the 7th Sunday of Easter
7th Sunday of Easter
John 17: 20-26
One Plus One Plus One = One
We have a wonderful mystery to contemplate this morning, and it is summarized in a strange formula. It’s not really all that complicated, but it is worthy of reflection for it has implications for our lives together. Here is the formula, an equation, really: 1 + 1 + 1 = One.
Rather strange math, isn’t it? Well, it’s God’s math, so let’s see how it works. It works because as Jesus states in our Gospel lesson this morning, we are one in Christ and one with the Father.
He says in john 17: 21 "that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that you sent me."
Jesus and the Father are on and the disciples and those who may believe may be one in us. Jesus plus the Father plus those who believe equal one. One!! We are all one in the body of Christ.
Just think, we are all one today in the body of Christ. One. One leader, one person in charge, Jesus Christ. Jesus knew something that we sometimes forget. We need someone in charge. We need to have someone that everyone can turn to.
We need more than a committee. Jesus knew that the 12 disciples needed someone to be in charge. Someone had to be the leader. And that leader was Him.
There could not be one chosen successor to Jesus. His message had to go forth. It had to go forth as a light in the darkness. As a gift in a world sorely lacking in love. But it was the message OF Jesus, told in his words, in the story of his life. A single successor might be deified, might become the focal point for all the love and faith people had for Jesus. And so, 12 disciples, 12 teachers, 12 messengers, 12 men who after this evening and Friday would be cowering, hiding behind locked doors, fearing for their lives, silenced.
A committee can never win the hearts of people.
Can never inspire passion.
Can never lead as a light shining in the darkness.
They needed to be one, they needed to support each other, they needed to remind each other. When one falters another is there to support. When one falls, another is there to stand in the breach and to pick up their fallen comrade.
It is like the sky diver in the following:
"Three thousand frightening feet above the ground, Soviet sport parachutist Yuri Belenko realized he was in trouble. His main chute had malfunctioned, and his reserve chute "barber poled" around the main, rendering them both useless.
Kicking his feet to slow the natural spiral caused by the noisy whipping canopies above, Belenko yelled down to fellow jumpers on the ground. His jump buddies sprang immediately into action, grabbed a packing mat, and sprinted toward the impact point.
All the way down Belenko yelled and tugged furiously at the static lines in a vain attempt to clear the two tangled chutes. Below, his friends stretched the mat taught…and waited.
Belenko plummeted into the canvas at bone-crushing speed, ripping the tarp from his rescuers’ hands, and knocking them to the ground. When the dust cleared, Belenko lay gasping for breath and complaining of a sprained ankle. In addition to the injured leg, he suffered a few bruises.
His jump buddies were there for Belenko at the moment he needed them most.
This is a picture of what God wants people in the body of Christ to do for others in need. "
Together these people gathered around the one, and helped him. Today, we gather around the one, Jesus, and help Him spread the love he has for human kind.
We celebrated a day in the church year on May 24th which is barely noticed. Yes, it was the Ascension of Jesus. At that time according to Matthew’s gospel, Jesus gave the disciples the Great Commission.
He said, "Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.
19 Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all things which I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
At the ascension the disciples were given the commission to go, but Jesus also told them that they should wait for the power of the Holy Spirit to descend upon them, so that they might be filled with his presence to do the task that lay ahead. That power was given on Pentecost, which is another major festival that goes barely noticed in our church year. Next Sunday, we celebrate the Pentecost event. Next Sunday, we celebrate the coming of God’s spirit into the lives of the disciples. Next Sunday we celebrate the birthday of the church, we celebrate the power given to the disciples to go, to make disciples, to baptize in the name of the trinity.