Easter 6—Rogate (Jn 16, 23–33)

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“The Father himself loves you.”

᛭ INI ᛭

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

“God is love,” John says. The Triune God is love Himself. Love isn’t a human emotion. Love isn’t necessarily an action. Love ultimately is a being—the Triune God.

The Father loves the Son (Jn 10). The Son loves the Father (Jn 14:31) The Spirit is the bond and unity of their love. This is how each Person of the Trinity eternally interacts with the other. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is love.

His being love means He is selfless and self-giving. The Father gives up His Son. The Son gives Himself up to death according to His Father’s Will. The Spirit glorifies not Himself but the Son. But God’s love-ness in’t just in Himself but also outward.

God is also peace. He gives peace. He creates peace. “Jesus Himself is our peace,” “making peace by the blood of His cross.” (Col 1; Eph 2) “The Fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace.” (Gal 5) “God of peace brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus.” (Heb 13)

Jesus talks in terms of peace and love today. “The Father Himself loves you.” “I have said these things to you that you would have peace in Me.” These aren’t separate ideas or ideas that are only someone what related. Love and peace united in such a way that you can’t divide them from each other. Their unity also ties into prayer and the name for this Sunday: “Ask.”


(I. The Father loves the world.)

The old hymn puts it correctly: “The World is very evil, The times are waxing late; Be sober and keep vigil, The Judge is at the gate; The Judge that comes in mercy, The Judge that comes in might, To terminate the evil, To diadem the right.” (TLH 605)

The World is evil. Anything that seems glorious, wonderful, powerful, amazing, or exciting is just makeup on a pig. Creation is a good gift from God, a temporary gift, but still a gift. But the “world,” as God defines it in the Bible, is the kingdom and playground of the devil, and our flesh, our sinful self, in constant rebellion against God’s created order, desires the things of this world more than the Creator.

The world strives against God’s created order of things. There’s, of course, the demonic ways in which the world rebels against the created order of marriage, human intimacy, and family. There’s also the more subtle evil of God’s commandments serving as the signpost of human righteousness trying to match God’s unattainable holiness and perfection. That’s just looking at Commandments Six and One. Imagine looking at all of them!

Nevertheless, the Father loves the world, His creation. It is His creation. He preserves and sustains His creation, even though it’s temporary. He does this because He loves what He created and doesn’t want to destroy it. Out of His selfless, unconditional love “He gives daily bread to everyone, even to all evil people,” those who don’t have faith in Him or His Son.

The World is evil, but in spite of that He loves the world in a more profound way. “God loved the world in this way: He gave up His only Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world would be saved through Him.” Or as Paul says today: “God desires all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth…Christ Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for all.” (1 Tim 2)


Out of His great love, His mercy, His kindness, His patience, He sends His Son to die for the sins of the whole world. This can give us some measure of peace. He sustains creation. He protects His. He gives of His bounty to each and every creature. Yet, the greater peace is that He gives up His Son into death for all. That can give us some measure of peace as we live in a very evil world. But there’s even more peace for you than that. Remember:


(II. The Father loves you.)

It’s true that the Father loves you. He does this in spite of our unbelief. “Do you now believe?” Jesus asks. “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” That’s the prayer of faith when pressed by such a harsh question. The truth is we don’t trust like we should, and we care about that about half as much as we should.

“The Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and believed that I came from God.” His love came before our loving Him. John 3:16 is before John 16:27. “We love because He first loved us.” (1 Jn 4) “You did not choose Me, but I chose you.” (Jn 15) “There is one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all,” a ransom for you.

The Father loves you on account of His Son, what His Son does for us, on account of who His Son is for us. It rests on the totality of Jesus’ Work and Person and has nothing to do with you or your works or your faith or your love or your faith working through love. The Father is at peace with you, forever at peace with you, because of who Jesus is and what He does for you.

Faith receives the benefits of what Jesus does. Faith adds nothing to what Jesus has done. Faith receives the benefits of what Jesus says and gives. It adds nothing to what He says and gives. This is especially so when it comes to things like Communion. The Supper is what Jesus says it is, and it gives what Jesus says it gives. The bread and wine, according to His blessing and word, are His body and blood “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Peace given there.

But this also has to do with prayer. The Father listens to us on account of His Son. The Father listening to you in prayer has nothing to do with how hard you pray or how much you believe or how emotional you are in prayer. None of that matters to your Father. He listens because of Jesus. This is why Jesus tells us “Whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.” Ask on the basis of Jesus’ merits: His death, His resurrection, His baptism, His body and blood given you in the Sacrament. Ask on the basis of who Jesus is.

“In Jesus name” isn’t a formula or spell to make God do what you want. It’s asking in faith, and faith speaks nor sees nor points to anything but Jesus and Jesus alone. Besides, Jesus also says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (Jn 15:7) That means you’ll start asking according to the words of Jesus. He’ll even draw out proper prayer! “The Spirit prays for us in our weakness,” too.


“The Father himself loves you.”

That means you can have peace. Peace that rests not on you but Jesus.


He loves you by giving up His Son for you. The Son loves you by going into death for you. The Spirit loves you by creating and strengthening your faith in Jesus.

The Father loves you because of Jesus. He loves you because Jesus died and rose. He loves you because you’re baptized into His Son. He loves you because you’ve received the Supper of His Son’s body and blood and you believe the benefits of that Gift: forgiveness, peace, and life.

The Father loves you because of Jesus and that means He listens to your prayers because of Jesus. You don’t have to fear that God won’t listen to you because you didn’t use the right words or thought the 100% right thing or felt the right feeling before, during, or after prayer. It all rests on Jesus, His merits alone.


All because Jesus.

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

᛭ INI ᛭

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