When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
The words which we heard today from the gospel according to John are quite remarkable. We have this opportunity to learn what Jesus prayed to His Father on the night when He was betrayed.
He prayed not only for His disciples, who were with Him. He also prayed for all those His brothers and sisters who will come to faith through the words of His disciples. Do you know, whom He have in mind?
He was praying also for us, Jesus was praying for each one of you. He knew what was going to happen in few hours, and still, He was more concerned about your faith and life than about what was going to happen with Him.
Jesus prayer is so rich, we could spend hours and hours learning from it. Today I want to focus only on one thing that Jesus said. For this one is so, so important for all of us. This is what Jesus said.
The Father has given the Son authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom the Father has given Him. “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
To put it in different words. If you know God the Father and Jesus Christ, then you have eternal life. Once more, – if you know God the Father and Jesus Christ, you have eternal life.
Now the big question to you, – do you know Him? Do you know God the Father and Jesus Christ? And I don’t mean, have you heard about them. Everyone has. No, but do you know Him? For this means eternal life for you.
Let’s think for a minute? How can you know anyone? Any person? How? You could learn something about a person when you look at what they have done. But then you don’t know why they have done it, what their motivation was.
You can fully know someone only when you converse with them, when you hear them speak and reveal themselves. When they reveal their thoughts, their attitude towards you, and when you learn what is on their hearts and minds.
How can you know God? For this is what gives you eternal life, remember? It is impossible, right? Who are we to know Him? He is the Creator of the Universe. We are dust here on earth. Unless, He comes and reveals Himself to us.
Unless, He Himself comes to us and speaks to us the way we can understand, and makes Himself known. This is exactly what true God has done. He came as one of us, as Jesus from Nazareth, so that we could get to know Him. So that He could speak to us and reveal His attitude towards us.
Sure, we could know something about God, looking at what He has done and does in the world. There is so much beauty and wisdom and power. But there is also so much pain and injustice and suffering. And we can’t understand it.
This is, why true God comes to us to reveal Himself in Jesus. Where does it happen today? It takes place where God’s chosen people gather together responding to the Father’s invitation.
It happens right here, where God Himself has brought us together to be with us, to bless us and to converse with us. Here is the place and time where true God speaks to you, and we are privileged to get to know Him as He is.
For here He comes and reveals not only His power, but His very heart towards you. I invite you all, I encourage you to become children once more so that you could use all the power of your imagination.
We need to use it to imagine what truly happens here as the Triune God gather us. He Himself if present here. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The words which we hear read from the Bible and spoken by a pastor are God’s own words.
Forgiveness declared is God’s forgiveness. He speaks to us. More, as He speaks He also sends His Spirit to be with us and dwell in us. The Word and the Spirit are like two arms of God the Father as He welcomes and embraces you.
No wonder that our services are called the workshop of the Holy Spirit. This is where He comes to you, speaks to you His life-giving words of forgiveness, truth about how precious you are in His eyes, and where He tells about the future that He has prepared for all His children, this is where He creates in you a new heart and transforms your mind.
This is where we meet and know God as gracious and forgiving God. As God who has taken our place, our sins, our death. And who in exchange gives us forgiveness and eternal life. To know this God is eternal life for you.
As you come to Him, and He reveals Himself to you, and He gives you His Spirit, and He also gives you eternal life. This is what this our gathering is about. About knowing true God, about receiving eternal life. Not less.
We may wonder, why are so few of us here? I know that I often get angry when facing foolish indifference from those, for whom Jesus has given up His life. Why are they not here? Poor fools! They are missing out of God’s blessings!
Are these thoughts familiar to you, too? You see, Jesus explains it for us. No one can come to Him unless the Father draws them. No one. It is a clear picture given to us by the Holy Spirit, that there are two groups of people. Those who love God and those who hate Him.
Those who respond to Jesus’ invitation and those who reject and ignore Him. Those who know God and those who don’t. Those who want the Triune God to be their God, and those who want to be like gods themselves.
And there is a very different fate for these two groups. Those who know God, love Him and desire to be with Him, will receive what they long for. As will the second group.
Those who don’t want to know the Father through Jesus, those who reject Him, those who hate Him, will receive what they have chosen, – eternal separation from God and His blessings.
Imagine again, what a wonderful thing it is that we are here. That you are where true God and Jesus come to you so that you can know the true God and so that you can have eternal life in His presence.
Just one last thing. God the Father and Jesus – they know you. Each one of you. They not only know you, but they are ready to do whatever it takes to have you with them. Remember, Jesus spoke about the hour and about the glory.
The hour was the hour of His death on the cross. The glory was Jesus’ decision to sacrifice His life for you. This is how important you are to Him. This is how loved you are. That Jesus could speak about His death as about the glory, for this is how He could fully reveal His love and commitment to you.
This is how true God reveals Himself, this is how you can fully know Him, – as our crucified and risen Lord. This is what the Father invites His chosen people, you, to remember and celebrate every Sunday, – to know your God, who considered it glory, to die for you.
Don’t reject Jesus. Don’t be indifferent. Come here. Be here. Know true God and Jesus Christ and have eternal life in their presence. The peace of God which surpasses all our understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ. Amen.