Jubilate (Easter 4), 2014
Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
May 11, 2014
Central Passage
John 16:16-22

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is here speaking of His death and resurrection. A little while and the disciples would see Him no longer; and then a little while and they would see Him because He is going to the Father. And He can’t go to the Father unless He first rises from the dead. So on His way back to the Father from whom He came and by whom He was sent, on His way back to the Father the Son dies and rises from the dead.

Jesus has ascended to His Father, to His God and to your God. Now He fills all things and all things are put under His feet. The joy of the Christian is rooted in the reign of Christ. Not merely or only the forgiveness of sins, as if that’s the whole reason for the Son of God to have been born of the Blessed Virgin, but our joy is rooted in His eternal reign. That is why no one can take away the disciples’ joy. That is why no one can take away your joy. It is rooted – it has its source – in the eternal reign of Christ, Jesus the Son of God.

His kingdom is established and is an everlasting kingdom as the prophets foretold. It stretches into every tribe and nation, to every people and language. The Apostolic Commission given in Matthew 28, to go and make disciples of all nations is fulfilled; they have gone out into all the world beginning at Jerusalem and have preached the good news of Jesus to all nations. We call it the “Bible”; it is the preaching and teaching of the apostles. The fullness of the Gentiles is not yet, else the Lord would have already returned. But the word has gone out by His command through His apostolic office and now we are waiting – waiting with all the saints in heaven and on earth – for the return of our King and God, the Son of Mary.

We wait in joy. Not mere happiness. Happiness as you’ve heard many times before is an emotion. It comes and goes. But joy remains. Joy remains because joy is not an emotional response to something, but an acknowledgement of that which is permanent and good. You have joy when the grain and wine abounds. But you also have joy when it’s a time of drought and famine. The reason you have joy in both good and bad is because these things are not the source of your joy, they are neither permanent nor good in themselves. Jesus is both: He is permanent and He is good. And He is the source of your joy, and nothing can take Him away from you. Nothing can take you away from Him.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t try. Satan and his demons will try to take you away from your Lord. You own sinful self will try. The world will try. They have asked to sift you like flour. But the Lord Himself prays for you and by His prayer you are sustained in faith. our joy is found in the Lord who sustains you. And in answer to the Lord’s prayer that you be sustained in true faith, your heavenly Father gives you the body and blood of Jesus to eat and to drink. He gives you preachers to preach to you the good news that you are reconciled to Him by the blood of Jesus. He gives you the Church, that bold witness of life in the face of death and hell.

That is why the Christian life is not really about sinning less or doing good as measurable accomplishments. Certainly the Christian, as he grows in the knowledge and wisdom of Christ will desire to sin less and to do more good, but that’s not the source of his joy or confidence, neither is it the way you please God. If it were, then we would be damned indeed. For who sins less and less so that they become sinless? And who does good so that he becomes good? No one. So let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’ and don’t worry about tomorrow. Rather, rejoice in the Lord always and again I say, rejoice.

For the Lord of glory gives you power from on high, He pours upon you His blessed and holy Spirit, to sustain you in the truth faith that clings to Christ alone. He is among you, renewing your strength as you are here waiting upon the Lord, waiting for Him who is your Lord and your God. By His Spirit you soar like eagles over death and you run in the way of His commandments without tiring. For His yoke is easy and His burden is light and in Him you find rest for your souls.

The Lord is among you to save you; to bless you; to give you eternal life. Blessed are you who wait for the Lord.

+ In Nomine Iesu +