The 7th Sunday of Easter (after Ascension) – Exaudi May 16, 2021
Text: John 17:11-19 ILCW Series B 21:2261
Theme: Jesus Prays for those He Leaves Behind
How would you complete this sentence: When Jesus looked at His disciples on Maundy Thursday evening, He raised a fervent prayer to God the Father. He prayed so intensely for them because He saw them as people who were…?
Vulnerable, that’s how I answered it. Jesus saw them as people who were vulnerable to attack, weak, unprotected from outside forces, often helpless to defend themselves. Is that true? True of us?
Well, let’s see. Last week an oil pipeline out east was shut down for many days by ransomware that held the company’s operating system hostage. People panicked. They ran to gas stations to stock up on gasoline. On the news I saw a car that blew up with 5 large containers of gas in the back. I saw another account of someone filling plastic garbage bags with gas. Really! Garbage bags? Seems to me some can be not only vulnerable, but just plain stupid.
But there are far worse things that could happen. How about my body catching a deadly virus? How about a young woman walking alone through an unsafe neighborhood? How about a little child playing in the yard open to abduction? And if this past pandemic year hasn’t shown us how vulnerable we are, what can?
So, we inoculate for viruses. We send warnings about computer ransomware. Parents warn children; families warn young women. Why? Because we see how weak and open to attack we can be.
It’s good to have such concern. But there’s a much greater need for concern that we hardly ever hear about – spiritual vulnerability and the need for protection from the evil one. So, it is good to hear Jesus pray for us in our text before He left us in His ascension.
I. Father, protect them from the evil one.
Up to this point, the Lord Jesus Himself had protected the disciples with His presence. But He was going to be leaving them behind in His ascension. He would land in the safe confines of His heavenly home. But they would be left behind, unprotected by His physical presence, vulnerable, open to attack from Satan and those who hated Him as they carried the gospel proclamation forward.
That wasn’t going to be an easy job. If the world rejected Jesus who had divine authority in Himself, how would it react to mere men? Besides, if the devil tried so hard to get Jesus to fail and fall, do you think he would ignore the disciples who were so much more vulnerable because of their weak and sinful humanity?
So, Jesus prayed, “Father, protect them by Your name. While I was with them, I kept those You gave me safe in Your name…But now I am coming to you, and I am saying these things in the world…The world hated them, because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world…I am not asking that You take them out of the world, but that You protect them from the Evil One.”
Protection, divine protection, that’s what Jesus prays for on behalf of those He leaves behind. He wants them protected from the dangers of this world, particularly from evil.
Protection. That’s a basic need of life. Think of how much money we spend on it – the police, the armed forces, the national guard, home security systems, guns, special locks, security lights, etc. How much is spent on protection. The cost is great so that others don’t harm us and we might have at least a certain amount of peace and stability in our lives. We need and want protection.
If that is true for our physical life, how much truer it is in our spiritual life for the old evil foe’s sole desire and goal is to see us destroyed in hell. He prowls around looking for a chance to harm us, to weaken us, to make us vulnerable to his deceits. If he was successful with Judas, who was close to Jesus, surely the devil thinks that he can get to us also.
Don’t take him lightly! He is not some harmless cartoon character or figment of the human imagination. He is real and he is very good at deceiving people, so that they let down their guard.
He could come to you openly like he did with Jesus in the wilderness. But more likely he will come subtly, gradually like he did with Judas, filling him little by little with deceptive thoughts until Judas no longer listened to nor trusted in Christ.
Or the devil may come to you like he did with Peter, convincing you that you are strong enough in yourself, self-sufficient, you can stand on your own. But Peter could not stand by himself and he fell to denial of His Lord. Satan works to wear us down in faith.
Protection, divine protection – that’s what we need, for “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers…and the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ep.6). We need protection.
And that’s exactly what we get through Christ! As the Good Shepherd, He fights to protect his flock. He’s the One who laid down His life for us. And in unity with the Father He prays: “Holy Father, protect them by Your name.” It’s God’s name, the revelation of Himself and the promises of salvation that come through His Word, which unite us in faith to stand against Satan. Standing together in faith, that Word promises that neither life nor death, nor demons, nor any powers will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ro.8:37f).
Feeling left behind, forgotten, vulnerable? Then listen as Jesus prays to the Father to protect you. Why does He do this? Here’s what He said, “I am saying these things in the world so that they may be filled with my joy.” He lets you hear what He asked His Father while He was still here so that you can be filled with His joy.
II. Father, fill them with my joy.
It makes us happy to hear this because living the Christian life is so often like living in a war zone. Is there joy on a battlefield? Our enemy, Satan, attacks and throws everything he can at us to destroy our faith. And he uses worldly-minded people to do it.
Worldly-minded people seek the earth and things of the earth. But Jesus lovingly and graciously thrusts heaven upon us. People worldly don’t want that. Christians do; they long for heavenly things. Such thinking and longing makes us strangers in the world, just like Jesus was, for we believe that our citizenship is in heaven. So, there is a great chasm between us and the world. And because we stand for God and His ways rather than the world’s ways, it hates us. Jesus said, “I have given them Your Word and the world hated them, because they are not of the world just as I am not.”
If you are a Christians, don’t think that this world is your friend. But in the midst of such a hostile war zone, Jesus prays, “Father, protect them from the evil one.” Then He adds, “I say these things so that they may be filled with my joy.” This prayer has enabled you to escape evil’s destruction and give you joy in the face of any unhappy situation.
Look at your past once. Haven’t you ever wondered how you got out of a bad situation, especially an evil one? It wasn’t on your own. Your Savior prayed for you to keep you from evil – that’s how you got out of it. And because of it, you find joy in Him – the joy of deliverance now and later in eternity. Since you are still living here in Satan’s war zone, you may not always have a smile
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
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The Sunday after Ascension: Exaudi (“Hear”) May 16, 2021
“I am not asking that You take them out of the world, but that You protect them
from the Evil One….Sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth.” John 17:15,17
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
We extend a warm and sincere welcome in our Savior’s name. Please sign our guest book, located to the right just outside the sanctuary. If you desire more information about Zion Lutheran Church or are in need of spiritual guidance, please call upon our pastor at any time. We are delighted to have you join us today and invite you to return soon.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“Hear me, O LORD. With my voice I call. When You say, ‘Seek my face,’ my heart says to You, ‘Your face, LORD, I will seek.’ Do not hide Your face from me. The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Prepared – Protected – Sanctified. Forty days after Easter, Jesus’ work on earth ended. He was taken up into heaven. However, just because He is gone from sight does not mean that He has left us alone or powerless.
As He sits at God the Father’s right hand above, He rules over all things for the welfare of His people. He intercedes for them before the Father and guides His Church in ways that will bless His people.
Before He left He prayed for these things to take place. In the Gospel Lesson we get to hear a portion of that prayer which gives us a peek into His loving care and concern for us. It strengthens us for our task as we hear Him pray for our protection, joy, and sanctification before God.
For that reason we pray: Almighty God, Your Son our Savior was taken up in glory and intercedes for us at Your right hand. Through Your living and abiding Word, give us hearts to know Him and faith to follow where He has gone; for His name’s sake. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
The First Lesson: Acts 1:15-26
After Jesus ascended into heaven, the disciples returned to Jerusalem where they waited for the Holy Spirit. He would prepare them for their ministry as Jesus promised. While they waited they devoted themselves to prayer and chose a replacement for Judas.
The Epistle Lesson: 1 John 4:13-21
Christians live in God. They testify to Him who sent His Son to be the Savior. They rely on His love for them. His redeeming love drives away their fears, protects them, and gives them confidence. It motivates them in loving others as they wait for Jesus’ return at the end.
The Gospel Lesson: John 17:11-19
We get to listen how Jesus prayed as on Maundy Thursday, knowing that He would soon be leaving His disciples, He prayed for their protection and sanctification. They would need it as Jesus sent them to carry on with the Gospel.
O u r P r a c t i c e o f H o l y C o m m u n i o n
The Lord’s Supper is a wonderful gift in which we receive Jesus’ own body and blood to forgive our sins and strengthen us in faith. It is a gift given with certain responsibilities. The Sacrament is intended for those who have been instructed, understand, and confess as one what they are receiving and doing. Through it we express our unity of faith (1 Cor.10:17). Therefore, we ask that only confirmed members of Zion Lutheran Church or our sister congregations of the WELS or ELS approach to receive Communion. If you would like to become a communicant member of Zion or have any questions about our practice, the pastor would be happy to meet with you after the service.
The Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder: “Christians must suffer very much because the devil and the world are bitterly hostile to them. Therefore, they must risk and endanger body and life, possessions and honor. But how are they able to bear all these things and be patient besides? Only by continuing to cling to the Word and saying: ‘Let things go as they go; I am not of this world but of God; were it otherwise, the world would deal differently with me.’”
Martin Luther on What the Christian Thinks of the World’s Hatred
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Hymn: #171 st.1-4
Order of Worship: Service of Word and Sacrament Hymnal page 26
The Ministry of the Word
1 John 4:13-21
Hymn Response: #169
The Gospel Response: pg.30
Sermon Hymn: #359
Sermon: John 17:11-19 Jesus Prays for Those He Leaves Behind
Our Response to the Word
The Nicene Creed: page 31
The Lord’s Prayer: Hymnal page 32
Lord, Bless Us
Order of Holy Communion: Hymnal pages 33-35
(Visitors: Please read box inside about the practice of Holy Communion)
Thanksgiving & Blessing: Hymnal pages 36-37
The Closing Hymn: #173
Sunday after Ascension – Series B
The First Lesson: Acts 1:15-26 – Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas
15In those days, when the group there numbered about 120 people, Peter stood up among the brothers and said, 16“Gentlemen, brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David about Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17Judas was counted as one of us and was given a share in this ministry.
18“Now this man acquired a field with what he was paid for his wicked act. When he fell headfirst, his middle burst open, and all his intestines spilled out. 19This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, and so in their own language that field was called Akeldema, which means Field of Blood. 20Indeed, it is written in the book of Psalms: ‘May his residence be deserted. Let there be no one dwelling in it. Let someone else take his position.’
21“Therefore it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us during the entire time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from his baptism by John until the day Jesus was taken up from us, become a witness with us of his resurrection.”
23They proposed two: Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus) and Matthias. 24Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.” 26Then they assigned lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias. So he was counted with the eleven apostles.
Epistle Lesson: 1 John 4:13-21 – God Is Love
13This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14We have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God. 16We also have come to know and trust the love that God has for us. God is love. Whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. 17In this way his love has been brought to its goal among us, so that we may have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are just like Jesus. 18There is no fear in love, but complete love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who continues to be afraid has not been brought to the goal in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar. For how can anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, love God, whom he has not seen? 21This then is the command we have from him: The one who loves God should also love his brother.
Gospel Lesson: John 17:11-19 – Jesus Prays for His Disciples
11 “I am no longer going to be in the world, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by your name, which you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12While I was with them, I kept those you gave me safe in your name. I protected them and not one of them was destroyed, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
13“But now I am coming to you, and I am saying these things in the world, so that they may be filled with my joy. 14I have given them your word. The world hated them, because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15I am not asking that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the Evil One. 16They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
17“Sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I also sent them into the world. 19I sanctify myself for them, so they also may be sanctified by the truth.”
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project.
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service
with Holy Communion on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
Midweek Bible Class
Divine Worship Service
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Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
Our ascended Lord watches over His Church. He intercedes for us with the Father. He protects us with His power. He guides us with His Holy Word of truth.
The Gospel Lesson: John 17:11-19 (answers are found on the back side)
- Jesus prayed these words on the night before he died. It is commonly known as His High Priestly prayer. For what things did Jesus pray?
- What did Jesus mean when He said, “Sanctify them by the truth,Yyour word is truth”?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Clyde Johnson; Dave Ballou; Greg Miller; Lou Schulz; Bill Buchanan; Norine Richardson; Barbara Long; William Moon; Patsy Mickelson; Lance Milam; Jodi Milam; Pastor Tim Buelow in Carthage and Kathleen Huff in W. Virginia, both having foot surgery this past week; and all those affected and recovering from the virus and other illnesses.
Copies of the Daily Devotions written by pastor this past week on Psalm 8 will be found in the narthex.
New Face Mask Regulations Although the CDC recently stated that all vaccinated people do not have to wear their face masks, the Springfield/Greene County Health Department will not decide on that matter for our city till next week. If they decide to pull back on the present face mask restrictions, it would not go into effect until May 27. None of this had been decided yet on the local level. The present situation continues for the time being that masks are to be worn in church settings. Social distancing is encouraged but not mandated. You will find masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use. For today we continue to not pass the offering plate during the service. You will find it at the door upon leaving the sanctuary. If you have any questions or thoughts on all of this, please see Pastor.
Today at 5 pm – Ordination service of Daniel Schmidt as pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Mt. Home, AR; meal afterwards
June 6-8 – Family Campout for area WELS and ELS congregations at Heit’s Point
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 24; Bible Class: 11; Offering: $2,265; for New Beginnings: $112; Midweek Bible Class: no class this past week.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
The Day of Pentecost: Ezekiel 37:1-14; Acts 2:1-12; John 14:25-27 (Series B)
Answers to Today’s Gospel Lesson Brief Study:
- Because He was leaving, Jesus asked God to watch over His disciples and protect them.
- To sanctify means to “set apart” for God and for holiness. God through His Word and the faith worked by that Word sets apart believers for Himself. We are in the world, but we are not of it. Heaven is our home. Jesus prayed that God would continue to keep them from sin, the devil and the evil of this world through His Holy Word. God continues to set us apart through that same Word of truth.
This week I am praying for……