Live in Eager Expectation of Glory
These are the readings for the Seventh Sunday of Easter.
God’s Word for This Week
Live in eager expectation of glory! That glory is not dimmed by earthly suffering; rather, such suffering reminds us of the glory that awaits us. First the cross; then the crown. Our light and momentary troubles cannot mute the joy of living in eager expectation of glory. The week that falls between Ascension and Pentecost is one of waiting and expectation for the promised Spirit and the promised glory.
Traditional First Lesson – Acts 1:1-14
What persistent misunderstanding about the kingdom of God still troubled the disciples?
The disciples still had trouble realizing that the kingdom of God was not something earthly and visible.
Where is our Jerusalem, our Judea and Samaria?
Just as Jerusalem was the city in which the disciples were at this time, our Jerusalem would be the towns and cities in which we live. As we begin to share the Word with those around us, we will easily want to share it beyond that scope, to our “Judea and Samaria.” Through our generous offerings we are able to send missionaries with the Word to others living not only in our country but also beyond our borders as we reach to the ends of the earth.
Why do you think the angel reminded the disciples that Jesus would return in glory just as they had seen him go?
Little would get done while they stared off into heaven. Jesus would be returning. In the meantime, there was much work to do while it was day.
Supplemental First Lesson – 1 Samuel 1:21-28
What can Hannah teach us about living with trouble or sorrow while we wait for God’s glory?
Afflicted by her rival, Peninnah, Hannah’s troubles seemed neither light nor momentary. Her barrenness brought suffering and sadness that embittered her life, but it did not shake her faith. At the house of the LORD she cast her cares on him and prayed, expectant of God’s grace and blessing. She humbled herself under God’s mighty hand, and he lifted her up in due time: the son she longed for would become Samuel, the leader of God’s people. On this Sunday of expectation, Hannah’s example shines: she did not focus her eyes on what was seen, on the troubles of this life, but on the unseen eternal glory that God had stored up for her. For her eager expectation of glory, see 1 Samuel 2.
Traditional Second Lesson – 1 Peter 4:12-17; 5:6-11
Why is our sinful nature surprised when troubles enter our life?
Our sinful nature shares the world’s view that the short-term happiness is evidence of God’s favor.
How does Peter encourage a long-range view of suffering?
The brief pain and persecution that we experience doesn’t begin to compare with the long-term glory we will have with Christ. (Romans 8:18)
Peter wrote at a time when Nero and the empire had turned against the Way. As followers of a religio illicita, great suffering impended for the faithful Christians. The lion’s roar could be heard coming ever closer to the people of God. In this life, sufferings will come; but we live in eager expectation of glory. The God of all grace called us to future glory, and no suffering, no emperor or empire can make us lose sight of what awaits us. The cares we have, we cast on him, knowing that any suffering can be borne in joy with eyes fixed on the glory that’s coming.
Supplemental Second Lesson – 2 Corinthians 4:13-18
How can Paul call our troubles “light and momentary?”
Who thinks that their troubles are light or momentary? When we lose a loved one, when we face mortal illness or financial ruin—who could ever think those troubles insignificant or passing? Only people who have a perspective that stretches to the unbounded time of eternity and encompasses the unbounded joy that we eagerly expect there. We believe that one day Christ will present us to the Father for an eternity of glory. Therefore…therefore we fix our eyes not on all our problems that we know so well, but on the unseen glory, the eternal glory that we do not yet know, but eagerly expect.
Gospel – John 17:1-11a
Why did Jesus pray, “Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you?”
In praying for the Father to glorify him, Jesus was praying for the successful outcome of his work of salvation. The glory would come with Jesus’ victory over Satan on the cross. Through Jesus the glory of the Father also shone brightly since all that the Son did was for the Father’s glory.
What comfort do we find in our Savior’s prayer?
Can you hear the certainty in Christ’s voice? Can you feel the authority resonate from his words? Stop for a moment and marvel at the words Christ speaks even as his enemies prepare to arrest him, to torture him, to kill him. Christ enters his passion as victor. We know the end of the story; we know this is Christ’s path to glory. But what would the disciples think in the next few hours as the blows landed, the whip bit, the nails pierced, and the blood flowed? This is glory? Just wait…these sufferings would not last. Just wait…glory is coming. Look at Jesus’ promise: he has been granted all authority—but he uses it to give, not to take. He gives us life eternal won by the glory of his completed work. On this post-ascension Sunday, Christ’s promise to return to his Father has proven true. What comfort, then, is his promised prayer for us who remain behind! We are in the world, but not as orphans, and so we bear our sufferings in eager expectation of the glory that’s coming.