23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
The Old Adam immediately thinks of his flesh when it comes to this great and precious promise of Jesus. God will give me anything I want. God as the genie’s lamp. This is the LORD of His Word of Law and promise. Wanting, say the death of an enemy, will be heard by the Lord but not given. The Name of Jesus is holy. Jesus means God saves. So wanting someone dead that I don’t like is not asking in HIS Name, Jesus’ Name. His Name has no sin in it, nor selfish pride, no lust but only pure grace.
2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
Anything to do with the Lord’s 1st article gifts of creation, His second article of the Apostles’ Creed grace of Christ’s redemption and His third article gift of the Holy Spirit and His work and witness through the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting, will be given. The Lord gives all creation, all redemption, all sanctification. Whatever you ask. Sometimes, He gives not at the times we desire, but at His time. Sometimes, it will be slow in coming. Sometimes, it happens in an instance. .
“…do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
The Lord’s time is not our time. In prayer we enter a time apart with our Lord, as the Lord did when He prayed on earth. Now the road to the Father’s heart has been opened, and they shall entreat, they shall ask, knowing that they will receive, and thus have also the fulfillment of their joy. So when it comes to faithful prayer to the Lord, Father, Son and Holy Spirit in His creation, redemption and sanctification, ask! Ask! Do not be timid! He wants us to have His joy!
Romans 5:2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
Ephesians 3:12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him
From Philippians: “…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
What part of “everything” do we not understand? Great and powerful forces our arrayed against us daily and daily and hourly we need to pray as the Hymn of Invocation for today amply sang![i] The Lord gives us all creation, all redemption and all sanctification and there is life time to pray!
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses
“For most of us the prayer in Gethsemane is the only model. Removing mountains can wait.” All prayer is reflected throughout the Bible but especially in the Psalms, the first and most important prayer book of the Church, in all the ups and downs of life, in our joys and sorrows, through the wilderness and tribulation of this world, His Word in prayer steadies us to be steadfast in His Word.
Names matter. God’s Name matters and eternally so. Names identify who one is. I would dare say you would probably not buy designer clothes with the name, Ralph Lifschitz on it! But when Mr. Lifschitz changed his surname to “Lauren”, as in, Ralph Lauren, it sounded a whole lot better! Names also matter to the Lord in His Scriptures. His Name we can count on. “He restores my soul.He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3 Many times the Lord tells us why He does what He does, not for my name’s sake or yours, but His. His Name is faithfulness. He stands behind it. The Lord does not change His Name, yet what changed was His Name became flesh, Emmanuel, God with us in all His Word, in His blessed Sacraments. It is not a generic name. A generic product is cheap, His Name is not cheap,but by His Name He bought us with His blood. His is the name you can trust. AS we pray, calling upon the Name of the Lord, this is the trustworthiness of His Name is crucial when all other names, of government, business, stardom etc. fail…and much official Christian religion in it’s slap happy worship craze, false and enslaving doctrines…when the anti-Christ comes, will anyone know? In the Harry Potter books and movies, it becomes clear that evil is lying in wait, the dark lord who is called in the movies, “He Who Must Not Be Named”. But evil must be named and even more: There is the Name that Must Be Named: Jesus Christ. In His Name we pray and hope and wait. Behind His Name is His Body and Blood. He has made you His own by naming you in your baptism. and this is His joy for us all in His Name as we pray, confessing our sins, confessing His praise, confessing His Name.
Today is May Day and the Commemoration of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles. I think May Day was a celebration of spring time, as in, dancing around the May pole. I would dare say that is a distant cultural memory. But it was the Communists, especially in the Soviet Union that every year would observe May Day with displays of militarism in their official virulent atheism…an atheism by way that is becoming stronger in our day.
The day for Philip and James is so understated and it’s meaning will undo virulent atheism with virtuous faith and love in the Savior. What was the main deed that Philip is remembered? He brought people to Jesus. That’s all…and that’s enough. The Soviets believed in salvation without God…as today’s atheists, and the church in its cultural captivity. For those who don’t know: the Soviets were praised by the cultural elites in this country in the 30s and 40s. Che Guevara t shirts are still the rage. Life on our own terms. Many want a Messiah to be, “…sovereign of the world. IN reality, He was to become the Savior of the world.” (Luther) For anyone reading this of a certain age, the Soviets in their display of armed forces is also a distant cultural memory: thank God! Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Come and see…in a place of no importance in Biblical, world or cultural history till then, Nazareth. Nathanael saw his Savior. Philip, James, Nathanael…no power players on the world’s stage but in the Kingdom, great indeed because they brought people to the Savior who loved them from the foundation of the world. This is still the way of Jesus Christ in the midst of the other false saviors. And you might be part of someone’s divine blessedness with a simple invite to “Come and see”. You can be daily part of someone’s blessedness in prayer for them, asking in His Name.
The Lord gives us the Name which all in heaven and earth will bow down: Jesus. Jesus tells His frightened apostolic flock in the night He was betrayed call upon my Name to the Father. I will stand behind my Name as I go the Cross and when you see Me again. My Name is your salvation. My Name means I have overcome the world. I will go to the Cross not to wreak vengeance on sinners, as the world wills, but in the vindication of God’s grace for sinners to save you, for My Name’s sake, My Father wills. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
[i] “Rise, My Soul, to Watch and Pray”
by Johann B. Freystein, 1671-1718
Translated by Catherine Winkworth, 1829-1878
- Rise, my soul, to watch and pray,
From thy sleep awaken;
Be not by the evil day
For the Foe,
Well we know,
Oft his harvest reapeth
While the Christian sleepeth.
- Watch against the devil’s snares
Lest asleep he find thee;
For indeed no pains he spares
To deceive and blind thee.
Oft are they
Who secure are sleeping
And no watch are keeping.
- Watch! Let not the wicked world
With its pow’r defeat thee.
Watch lest with her pomp unfurled
She betray and cheat thee.
Watch and see
Lest there be
Faithless friends to charm thee,
Who but seek to harm thee.
- Watch against thyself, my soul,
Lest with grace thou trifle;
Let not self thy tho’ts control
Nor God’s mercy stifle.
Pride and sin
All thy hopes to scatter;
Heed not when they flatter.
- But while watching, also pray
To the Lord unceasing.
He will free thee, be thy stay,
Strength and faith increasing.
O Lord, bless
And let nothing swerve me
From the will to serve Thee.
- Therefore let us watch and pray,
Knowing He will hear us
As we see from day to day
Dangers ever near us,
And the end
Our redemption neareth
When the Lord appeareth.
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Matthew 26:41