Summary: Sermon for the 6th Sunday of Easter and preview for the Ascension
6th Sunday of Easter/Ascension
John 14: 23-29
"Preparing for Departure"
’Grandma and Grandpa stood with the two boys as they watched Mom and Dad board a TWA jet which would fly them for a vacation to the British Isles. The boys searched the small plane windows and finally found their parents who were waving a fond farewell. They watched as the plane began to taxi to the runway. They watched as the plane began its take off. They saw the huge streams of smoke flowing from the jet engines. They saw that majestic silver bird soar into the sky. They gazed into the gray blue sky as the jet climbed and slowly flew out of sight. They stood watching when they couldn’t see anymore. Then they turned and began the walk back to the car for their return ride home and the joy and excitement of having Grandma and Grandpa with them for awhile."
Our text for this Sunday alludes to the great event which takes place this coming Thursday, May 17th. Yes, the Ascension of our Lord. In today’s gospel Jesus is preparing the disciples for the day he will no longer be with them,the day they will be on their own to carry out His mission on this earth. Jesus prepares this disciples for this day because he is counting on them to tell others about the love of God the Father for His children through the life of Christ Jesus. Jesus is not only preparing them for His journey, his ascent into heaven, but as well as their journey out into the world as they will proclaim the coming of God’s kingdom through Jesus.
"There is an old legend which Says when Jesus had ascended into heaven, the angel Gabriel asked him, "Lord what plans have you made for carrying on your ministry in the world? How will people learn of what you have done for them?" Jesus responded, "I left that to Peter, James and John, Martha and Mary. They are to tell their friends and their friends will tell other friends until the whole world has hear the good news."
Gabriel then asked,"What if Peter is so busy with his nets and Martha so full of her housework and the friends so preoccupied that they all forget to tell their friends? Don’t you think you should make some other plans?" Jesus answered, "I have made no other plan. I am counting on My Children to spread my name and my love."
How did Jesus prepare his disciples for his journey, his I ascent into heaven and then their journey to the corners of the world with the story of his love, mercy and forgiveness?
There are a few verses in our gospel text that- sheds s some light on that preparation. We begin with the verse which says: "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you."
Jesus is telling the disciples that God will send the Spirit which will bring to their remembrance all that He had taught them. For part of their preparation for his ; gurney; - h, s ascent into heaven and their journey out into the world is to find strength, fin-7 expression,. fin wisdom through the words of Christ, through His means of grace, through baptism and communion. It is through the word, the remembrance of all that Christ had taught them that they will be empowered for their mission.
Through that word they would fin’ also the command to love one another, to uphold one another in faith, an] through those relationships each would find strength, each would be able to fulfill Christ’s plan. Not only would they have each other, but at the same time, the Holy Spirit would come and blending with their spirit, the Holy Spirit would empower them in their task and in their service. Their task was, to spread the message of the risen Christ and this was to be done in words and in deeds.
The same kind Of preparation is available for us. Through the word, through the sacraments , through our worship together, through our sharing the faith together, we are empowered by God’s Holy Spirit given us in Baptism to fulfill His mission in this world You and I are the Peters the James and the Johns, the Marys and the Marthas, we ore the ones Jesus is counting on this day to tell the unchurched, the lonely, the outcast, the ill, the disabled about the Christ who wants to be with them and redeem them.
"A mother was busy cleaning the house one morning, when the phone rang. She answered and the person at the other end seemed surprised as she asked, "Is this St. Paul’s Lutheran."