Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
On Thursday night, just before suffering and dying, Jesus celebrated the Lord's Supper with the disciples and spoke his last words to them before his death. Our text is the final section of what he told them. Jesus had warned his disciples of persecution and hatred, and had encouraged them to face all these demonstrations. Now they know that all these things happen according to the will of God.
As Martin Luther explains in the Small Catechism, the good and merciful will of God is done without our prayer. God gives us daily all the things we need, even to all the wicked, but prayer makes us recognize this and thus respond with praise and good works. For this reason, Saint Paul says thus in our epistle (1 James 1: 22-27), “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who considers his natural face in a mirror. Because he considers himself, and leaves, and then forgets what he was like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law of liberty, and continues in it, not being a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. "
"On that day you will ask me nothing. Truly, truly, I tell you, whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete."
Although in the gospels he taught his disciples in the Our Father, he had not authorized the disciples to pray in his name, because Jesus had not yet offered his life as a sacrifice for our sins. He also had not risen to the right hand of the Father to be our Mediator before the Father. The risen Lord will reign at the right hand of the Father as intercessor. Therefore, the ascension would not be a loss for the disciples, but a gain, since they will have the assurance that their requests would be attended by the Father and the Son. Without this promise we could not pray with assurance and confidence.
"These things I have spoken to you in parables; but the hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in parables, but will clearly announce the Father to you. On that day you will ask in my name, and I do not tell you that I will pray to the Father for you; Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came from God. "
In verses 23-28 Jesus speaks primarily of Pentecost. That's what he means by "in that day." Because the Holy Spirit has a role in our prayers as well. In verses 23 and 26 the original Greek uses two clearly different words for "ask". The context decides the meaning of the words. In verse 23a, the word "ask" means "to ask doctrinal questions," but in 23b the word "ask" means to make requests for spiritual and physical gifts in the name of Jesus. In 23rd Jesus means that there will be no more revelations after the New Testament has been written. (The gift of languages was not for further revelation but to preach the Gospel.) When we have a question about what God says, we just go to the Bible and look for the answer. But when we have particular physical or spiritual needs, we must ask for it in the name of Jesus.
In verses 29-30, although the disciples believe, they are wrong to think what Jesus promised in verses 23-28 has already taken place. And so in verses 31-33 He warns and comforts them.
Jesus asks them gently on the side. 31: "Do you believe now?" They believe, but in their enthusiasm they overlook the suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus and also the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost. He warns them about what they are about to do in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:31). In verse 32, he tells them the terrible truth that they abandoned him in Gethsemane, before Pilate and Golgotha (on the cross). They will prove to be unfaithful, but He will remain faithful. He says that he is not alone, but that the Father is with him. He ends in verse 33 with words of wonderful comfort.
And then in verse 33, he speaks very comforting words. In this life they will have affliction. But remember that Jesus has overcome the world. We are often like disciples who need to hear his warnings and comfort. He has spoken to you so that you may have the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.
Send Pastor David Ernst an email.