Sts. Philip and James (Confirmation Sunday)
1 May 2016
St. John 14:1-14
8:00 a.m. service
The St. James that we celebrate today is the son of Alphaeus: We know nothing of him other than this and that he was called to be one of Our Lord’s twelve apostles. He is not the James of Acts, the son of Clopas. He is not the brother of Jesus and later bishop of Jerusalem who is the traditionally thought to be the author of the Letter of James.
the son of Alphaeus, is also known as James the Lesser or James the younger to avoid confusing him with James the son of Zebedee, who was also an apostle, and is known as James the Greater.
In other words, James is an office holder whose importance is not in himself but in his office.
We don’t know much about Philip either. Hep came from Bethsaida, the same town as Peter and Andrew. After he was called to be an apostle he sought out Nathanael and told him that Jesus was the Christ, the “one about whom Moses wrote.”
He gets a few other lines in John. He was asked by Jesus before the feeding of the five thousand p where they should buy bread for the people to eat. This was a test and Philip failed. He said: “Two hundred denari would not buy enough enough for each of them to have a little.” He then gets rebuked because he had failed to see the power and goodness of the Father in Jesus and did not know that Jesus would provide.
Today’s Gospel has the last quote. It was the Last Supper. Jesus had just told the disciples to not let their hearts be trouble4d and that He was going to prepare a place for them. Thomas was exasperated, confused, and maybe afraid. They lived in violent times. Threats on Jesus’ life had been made. Satan had entered Judas. Thomas exclaims: “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” And Jesus replies: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”
And Philip replies: “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” For which He gets the rebuke: “Have I been with you so long and you still do not know Me, Philip? Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father.”
So we get the nondescript, generic James the Lesser and Philip the doubter – a perfect combination for Confirmation.
It is common at graduations of all sorts of bold proclamations to be made about the great things this class will do. It is better at confirmations to remember the great things that God has done in Christ and that we are all beggars, all Philips and Jameses – remembered not much on earth but loved in heaven.
The world can little appreciate the vows you make today – but
Do you acknowledge the gifts you’ve been given by the Holy Spirit? Do you renounce the devil? Do you believe in the Holy Trinity as confessed in the Creed? Do you trust the Bible and what you have learned in the Small Catechism as God’s Truth? Do you then intend to continue in the hearing of God’s Word and the reception of the Lord’s Supper? Do you intend, in this way, to live according to the Word of God and remain true to God? Yes, Yes, by the grace of God and with the Help of God I do and I will.
By the grace and with the help of God.