The Ascended Lord Rules His Church
These are the readings for the Seventh Sunday of Easter.
God’s Word for This Week
What is Christ doing for his church? The readings this Sunday answer that question. As the church awaits his return, Jesus continues to rule. Not only does he pray for us above, but here below he also guides and directs the preaching of the gospel. He wants the entire world to know and believe in him as their Savior. He uses us to make his name known throughout the world.
First Lesson – Acts 16:6-10
Paul was traveling throughout the region but was kept from the province of Asia and Bithynia. What kept him from traveling to those regions?
The Holy Spirit kept Paul from traveling to Asia and Bithynia. Scripture is silent as to how he was kept away or why. God guided his missionaries to take the gospel where it needed to go.
What help was needed for the man of Macedonia?
The man from Macedonia needed spiritual help. This help can only come through the gospel. Everyone needs this same help. Everyone needs to hear the good news that Jesus has come to save sinners from the eternal death away from God which we deserve.
Traditional Second Lesson – Revelation 22:12-17,20
One of the titles Jesus gives himself is “Alpha and Omega.” What does this name for Jesus mean?
The Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Jesus uses these letters to say he is the eternal and changeless God. This name assures us Jesus will keep his promises.
In the closing verses of Revelation, Jesus gives us a wonderful promise. What is that promise?
Jesus promises to return soon. We are able to view our struggles on earth as only temporary and momentary in comparison to the eternal glory that awaits us.
Supplemental Second Lesson – Romans 15:14-20
How did Paul become an answer to the prayer which Jesus prayed in today’s gospel?
In today’s gospel from John 17, Jesus prays for those who will believe in him in the future. Paul was just such a man. In today’s gospel Jesus prays for true unity among his followers, for his followers to grow in number, and for them to see him in his glory. Likewise, Jesus had given Paul a priestly duty to preach God’s good news to non-Jews.
How did Paul feel about his priestly service?
Paul gloried in Christ Jesus in his service to God. That is, he took no personal credit, but he was thrilled for Jesus’ sake in how he had been able to serve God by bringing the good news to people that had not heard it before.
Gospel – John 17:20-26
This prayer has been called Jesus’ high priestly prayer. Jesus acts as our High Priest by interceding to the Father on our behalf. In this prayer, for whom is Jesus praying?
Jesus is praying for the disciples who are with him. But he is also praying for those who continue to come to faith in Jesus. It is a prayer that is answered as the church on earth continues to grow. What a great model for our prayers! We ought to not only pray for ourselves, but also to remember and pray for the spiritual well-being of others. Pray for true unity. Pray for more to believe. God will hear, for Jesus’ sake.
Jesus said that he would continue to make God known to the world. How is Jesus making God known to the world today?
Jesus sends out his disciples: pastors, teachers, men, women, and children—all who believe the truth and speak up to tell others the truth. Once we become disciples of Christ, we then make disciples for Christ by spreading the good news of the crucified, risen, and ascended Lord.