“Whatever You Ask”

John 14:1-14

10 May 2020

The Rev. Todd R. Goddard, Pastor

Rush United Methodist Church

 

John 14:1-14

 

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.

Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

1

Prayer.

 

Heavenly Father,

I’m asking in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ,

Exactly as he taught his disciples to do:

 

End this despicable pandemic.

 

There.

I said it.

 

Like most others

I’m tired and, quite honestly,

Angry that life has been altered.

 

Here is a value-added benefit:

End this pandemic

So that the Father will be glorified in the Son.

 

Think about it.

God will work through scientists

To discover a vaccine and a cure!

Who-hoo! Praise God the Father of Jesus, his Son.

 

God will work through politicians

(if this is possible)

To punch the economy into high gear and everyone returns to work and prosperity.

Yipee! Praise God the Father of Jesus, his Son.

 

End the pandemic.

To God be the glory.

 

I’m asking, O Lord.

 

Except …

My request isn’t followed with a question mark.

It’s a statement, ending with a period.

It’s more of a command than a request.

My request reveals the pent-up frustration of

A privileged, grumpy man

Not feeling much in control of my future.

 

Guilty as charged.

(Psss … please Lord, end the pandemic anyway!

It would be the best Mother’s Day present, right?)

 

My guess is that I’m not alone.

Many of us are feeling the same way.

Angry.

Afraid.

Uncertain.

 

 

Jesus had just informed his disciples

That one of them would make a public denial of ever knowing him, and

Another would betray him to the authorities

Resulting in his death.

(13:36-38 and 13:13:21-30)

 

Talk about angry, afraid, and uncertain?

The disciples of Jesus are living a different kind of pandemic.

They’d be angry at Peter and Judas.

They’d be angry at Jesus for apparently letting them down.

They’d be angry at themselves for wasting three years of their lives

Following a man headed to his public execution.

They’d be afraid of what this unfolding tragedy meant for them

And they’d be uncertain what the future held.

 

The disciples of Jesus were teetering on the verge of panic.

 

Like a negotiator talking a jumper off a ledge,

Jesus puts his best pastoral foot forward:

 

“Do not let your hearts be troubled,” he tells them.

“Believe in God, believe also in me.” (14:1)

 

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

I needed to hear this from Jesus today.

 

The word “let” is permissive,

As if it is our call, our decision.

We are told we can keep,

We can prevent,

Our hearts from being troubled.

Jesus grants us the gift of control

When the rest of the world feels so out of control.

 

It’s a small nuance; but I believe important.

God has already granted us control over our troubles.

To God be the glory!

 

 

Jesus knew he was about to die.

This was God’s plan all along.

But now time is drawing short.

It’s time to tie up loose ends.

 

Jesus isn’t leading his disciples to their death.

He is assuring them that he is leading them to God,

When and where God …

In God’s own time …

Will welcome every disciple home.

 

It is as if

The Lord knew we were coming.

So like a loving parent,

God gets the house cleaned and ready,

Then sends us a Son to welcome us and

Show us the way right to the front door.

 

Thomas confesses,

We don’t know the way to the Father dwelling place or

The rooms being prepared for us.

Will you show us the way to God? He asks.

Whatever you ask in my name, I will do, Jesus promises.

 

“I Am the way,” Jesus says.

Come follow me, Jesus answers Thomas’s petition.

 

If you don’t know the way, follow Jesus.

That’s good advice,

Especially in this cloud of a pandemic.

 

Philip makes his own petition.

He wants to see the Father.

“I Am in the Father and the Father is in me,” Jesus replies.

Look at Jesus and your looking at our heavenly Father.

Request granted.

 

Jesus leads his followers into a relationship with God,

And, in doing so,

Reveals much about the nature of God.

 

The nature of God is One.

One who created.

One who rules.

One who acts in the interest of humanity.

One who loves; deeply, intimately, eternally.

 

The same One is One with Jesus.

One God who sent a Son to teach.

One God who forgives.

One God who saves.

 

The nature of God sustains the faithful.

One God provides; nourishment, shelter, talents, resources.

One God brings free, abundant, unmerited grace.

One God who fills the air in our lungs with the Holy Spirit and

Leads humanity in an upward trajectory to perfection.

 

One God: Father. Son. Spirit.

Revealed in Jesus Christ.

 

If we are asking the One God

to end this despicable pandemic,

Look to Jesus.

 

Follow Jesus.

Look to Jesus.

Ask in the name of Jesus, and it will be done.

Don’t ask in the name of self-promotion or

The accumulation of wealth, property, or social advantage.

 

Asking in the name of Jesus

Is for the promotion of Jesus,

His values,

His truth,

His love.

 

Good advice.

The pandemic is only going to end by

The One God who grants us our petition

In the name of Jesus.

 

The name of Jesus is

Love, forgiveness, and salvation.

This should be the characteristics of our request

If we expect God to grant it.

 

Lastly,

The work of God,

Mostly shrouded in mystery,

Is according to God’s own motives

Acting in God’s own time.

 

The death of Covid-19 …

The answer to our prayers …

Will come at a future time and place

According to God’s will and plan.

It will come to glorify God,

The One,

Father in Son and Son in Father.

 

The pandemic will be defeated

As prior plagues and viruses have been defeated

By scientists using the intelligence and experience God has given them,

By effective communicators, and

By cooperative citizens.

 

Rest assured,

When the defeat is final,

The glory will be to God,

The One.

 

Follow Jesus.

Look to Jesus.

Ask in the name of Jesus.

God will be glorified.

 

 

Angry?

Afraid?

Uncertain?

Yes, I am.

I suspect you are, too.

 

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

Rest assured, disciples of Christ,

Our request in His name

Will be granted.

Rest assured, disciples of Jesus,

When our request is granted

To God will go all the glory.

Amen.

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