In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
So indulge me just a moment as I give a short lesson in history and politics. You’ve heard that democracy started in Greece. It started with cities where all the citizens—in the Greek language the “demos”—gathered together when there was a decision to be made. All the citizens of that city had a right to vote and a right to speak. That’s what the Lord does when He speaks plainly to them. He speaks with the right to speak from the Father of the Father’s mysteries—the mystery of the Father’s forgiveness of sin! This is what is important about His going to the Father—He gets the right to speak the Father’s forgiveness. And He gets the right to speak to the Father in the Father’s presence. Thus, through Jesus and your forgiveness you have right to speak to the Father!
Now in Greek democracies not everyone was a citizen. Only men who owned property. Those men had a right to speak in the assembly, to help set policy and influence the course of the city. Our Lord says, “I have said these things to you in figures of speech”—by which He is referring the things of His imminent death and going to the Father, and His imminent resurrection after which He would reveal all things more fully. He talks about His death and resurrection in figures of speech. Remember two weeks ago, “A little while and you won’t see me, then a little while and you will?” Figures of speech. But when He returns He will have authority to speak in the Father’s presence. For what did He do up there to win this right? He made satisfaction for sins of whole world by His innocent suffering and death. And bringing His innocent life blood into the Father’s presence, swapping His life for yours, He purchases you from the debt your sins owe, from the death your sins deserve, and from the damnation your failings have earned. Having purchased you you belong to Him. You are His slave, but He elevates you. He makes you His equal, an inheritor of His kingdom. In Him you are a landed gentry. A property owning citizen of heaven with the right to speak in His Father’s presence.
Thus, His going to the Father through His death gives you a right to speak and be heard by Holy God Almighty. His resurrection return from the Father gives that right to you. And His ascension to His Father’s right hand means, that if your own right to speak weren’t enough, He prays, intercedes, and speaks to Father on your behalf constantly from the right hand of God.
If God is for you who can be against you? Through Christ you have a right to speak to the Father. Through Him your prayers are heard. This is how you come to the Father: through Jesus. He is your ticket to the Father’s presence. He is your access to the most powerful person in the universe. He is your "in" with God.
Praying in Jesus’ name isn’t just name dropping. It is faith in Jesus. For as Our Lord said, “The Father loves you because you love me and believe that I come from Him.” Faith in Jesus is nothing other than fear, love, and trust in Him, and fear, love, and trust in the One who sent Him. Faith—fear, love, and trust—is the thing through which the Father gives you a right to speak to Him.
You know what this means? To whom much has been given much is expected. You have been granted the ear the Almighty. The world, though it prays to gods of its own imagining, has not been granted such a gift. This gift comes only through Jesus. This is a mighty gift. And with such a gift comes responsibility. Responsibility to carry the world to God Father. Jesus died for all. Those who know and receive the gift of His death and resurrection must pray for the world. We must bring the world to Him in our daily prayers and especially here in the Divine Service.
For here where the Lord brings all the company of heaven down to earth in the Lord’s Supper we who have the ear of God have an especial responsibility to pray to Him who deigns to be present with us! He condescends to come down out of heaven to be with us mortal men. We must make use of the gift He has granted. We must pray when He makes Himself available to us!
This is why we must come to Church, for here in the Divine Service God our Father comes down with the whole court of heaven: angels, archangels, Adam and Eve and all the saints who have gone before to be with us and to honour the mystery of the Son of God taking away the sin of world! How can we not pray!
An so we do. For the life of the world depends on it. The World is damned without Christ. Things here go from bad to worse as we watch. But absolutely everything would have fallen apart if not for His intervention not just at cross but every single day. So because of the cross we pray. Through the cross we pray. Trusting in Christ we pray to our Father who only grants prayers for sake of His beloved Son.
In +Jesus name, Amen.
—Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church
Thunder Bay, ON