May 14, 2023 A+D
St. John 16:23ff
The plain truth of the Father: He Himself loves you.
1. Christ reveals the Father’s heart.
He does speak plainly in this text. He tells them that the Father Himself loves them. When He comes on the third day, He will come in peace on behalf of the Father, bestowing the Spirit and the forgiveness of sins. He will open the Scriptures.
1. The disciples don’t ask the Father in Jesus’ Name because they don’t believe that Jesus is God.
The only way to worship the Father is by worshiping the Son. The only valid prayer is prayer in Jesus’ Name. This isn’t a technicality to keep people out: it is the means by which the Father is approachable.
The modern word for our age is pluralistic. Tolerance. Actual reality: polytheism and hedonism. The jealousy of God isn’t a weakness, it is love.
Prayer in Jesus’ Name is prayer according to His will. His will: our joy, not our pleasure.
2. Full Joy.
Christ tells us of the Father and goes to the Father that we may ask anything in His Name and that asking and receiving, our joy may be full.
He goes for the fullness of our joy, not for our pleasure. The Gospel is not a narcotic. It does not numb us to pain or send us into ecstasy. It bestows joy.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. It is closely related to courage, hope, and contentment. It stands in contrast to the sadness of discouragement, despair, and dissatisfaction.St. Paul says:
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
The fruits of the Spirit are the natural result of having received salvation. They come on account of what Christ has done and spring forth from faith. They are not dependent upon the circumstances of one’s life.
Joy is a state of being, not simply an emotion of happiness. Jesus lives. If God is for us who can be against us? His will is always done. We are optimistic about the future, not because we don’t expect tribulation and sorrow but because we know what God has promised and we trust Him. We are bold in the midst of difficulty and unafraid of the world and the media or the opinions of our in-laws. We can speak because Jesus lives. We can suffer because Jesus lives. We can wait because Jesus lives. We are content and we rejoice, even as we bring our petitions to the Father in the Name of Jesus.