Sixth Sunday of Easter | May 9, 2010
Acts 16:9-15 Psalm 67 (4) Revelation 21:10, 22–22:5 John 14:23-29 or John 5:1-9 Prayer of the Day
Bountiful God, you gather your people into your realm, and you promise us food from your tree of life. Nourish us with your word, that empowered by your Spirit we may love one another and the world you have made, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia. Those who love me will keep my word, and my Fa- | ther will love them, and we will come to them and make our | home with them. Alleluia. (John 14:23)
Nota Bene: THE JOHANNINE TEXTS FOR EASTERTIDE
John 14:23-29 is another pericope in a series of lessons from the Fourth Gospel during this Easter season of Year C. After Easter 2, on the following Sundays we read John 21:1-19, John 10:22-30, John 14:8-14, John 13:31-35, John 14:23-29 [or John 5:1-9], and John 17:20-26. The Easter season is a time for reflecting on the living presence of Christ within the church and on the forms and images which convey that presence.
These texts from the Fourth Gospel are a rich resource for such reflection. For in them relational language is central. Jesus speaks in a revelatory present tense in his “ I AM” (εγπ ειμι) sayings. From the perspective of the Fourth Gospel it makes no difference that Jesus speaks in this way before his death and resurrection. For the Logos is revealed throughout the gospel as eternally present to those who are willing to see, hear, and believe.
1a. CONTEXT: John 14:23-29
THE LAST DISCOURSE : Division One (Unit 3)
These verses are preceded by the question of Judas
(not Iscariot) put to Jesus within the context of The Last
Supper. In 14: 22 we read: "Lord, how is it that you
will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?"
Judas represents all who fail to realize the difference
between "seeing" and
"recognizing" Christ. The Johannine community is aware
that faith can be thought of merely in terms of believing
the testimony of others, who are trusted as witnesses. We
can "believe" in the sense of trusting that others have
"seen" though we have not. We can put confidence in
"words" in the hope that one day we ourselves will
experience the risen Christ.
Jesus answers that he is about to show himself to the
disciples and not to the world, as he gives a deeper
meaning to "word." Keeping the word of Christ does not
consist of accepting a new Torah with new commandments, or
a body of doctrines or ideas. Christ's word is not his,
but God's, and God's Word is Christ, himself. Jesus is
engaged in the process of teaching the disciples that
though he is leaving, God will send them a Counselor.
The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus says God will send in the
Name of Love, will teach us to recognize all that Christ
is. All that he said is brought to mind as we recognize
him. Through the gift of the Spirit we are taught "from
within," by living and reflecting upon the experience of
1b. TEXT: John 14:23-29
23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
23ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ, Ἐάν τις ἀγαπᾷ με τὸν λόγον μου τηρήσει, καὶ ὁ πατήρ μου ἀγαπήσει αὐτόν, καὶ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἐλευσόμεθα καὶ μονὴν παρ' αὐτῷ ποιησόμεθα. 24ὁ μὴ ἀγαπῶν με τοὺς λόγους μου οὐ τηρεῖ: καὶ ὁ λόγος ὃν ἀκούετε οὐκ ἔστιν ἐμὸς ἀλλὰ τοῦ πέμψαντός με πατρός. 25Ταῦτα λελάληκα ὑμῖν παρ' ὑμῖν μένων: 26ὁ δὲ παράκλητος, τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ὃ πέμψει ὁ πατὴρ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου, ἐκεῖνος ὑμᾶς διδάξει πάντα καὶ ὑπομνήσει ὑμᾶς πάντα ἃ εἶπον ὑμῖν [ἐγώ]. 27Εἰρήνην ἀφίημι ὑμῖν, εἰρήνην τὴν ἐμὴν δίδωμι ὑμῖν: οὐ καθὼς ὁ κόσμος δίδωσιν ἐγὼ δίδωμι ὑμῖν. μὴ ταρασσέσθω ὑμῶν ἡ καρδία μηδὲ δειλιάτω. 28ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐγὼ εἶπον ὑμῖν, Ὑπάγω καὶ ἔρχομαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς. εἰ ἠγαπᾶτέ με ἐχάρητε ἄν, ὅτι πορεύομαι πρὸς τὸν πατέρα, ὅτι ὁ πατὴρ μείζων μού ἐστιν. 29καὶ νῦν εἴρηκα ὑμῖν πρὶν γενέσθαι, ἵνα ὅταν γένηται πιστεύσητε.
2. ANALYSIS: John 14: 23-29
THE LAST DISCOURSE: Division One (Unit Three)
"Keep my word" [ton logon mou tereisei]. The
expression is used in vv. 23, 24, 8: 51 and 15:20;the
theme of keeping God's word appears in 1 John 2: 5. In
14: 15 and 21 we find the expression "keep my [the]
commandments." The meaning of the verb is in the sense of
"fulfilling." Jesus' commandments are not simply moral
precepts: they involve a whole way of life, in loving
union with him.
The plural and singular of the "word" appear in 24
without apparent distinction of meaning; and so the
variation between singular and plural in the use of both
"word" and "commandment" stems from the Old Testament,
where the Ten Commandments are referred to as the "words
of God." (Exod. 20: 1; Deut. 5: 5, 22) "And we will come
and abide...[monein]. Here the community refers to their
experience of the indwelling of God, as promised by Jesus.
As has happened frequently, Jesus does not answer Judas'
question directly. However, when properly understood,
what he says is an answer. He takes the opportunity to
explain once again what it really means to see him, and
therefore implicitly explains why the world cannot see
him. Now he points out that his presence after the
resurrection will also mean God's presence. In those who
love Jesus, and keep his word, they will abide.
Three features are common to the presence of God, Jesus,
and the Holy Spirit in these verses: 1. the necessary
conditions of loving Jesus and keeping his word; 2. the
statement that God (and Jesus) will come to abide within
the community; 3. and a reference to the indwelling of
Although Jesus' words do not exclude a parousia or
revelation in glory such as Judas expected, he is
implicitly saying that the Spirit's indwelling fulfills
some of the end time expectations. In Zech. 8: 3 we read:
"For look, I come to dwell in the midst of you."
Israel had expected this to take place in the
Temple, the house of God; but in Johannine thought this
became the hour when people would worship God neither on
Mount Gerizim nor in the Jerusalem Temple, but in Spirit
and Truth (4: 21-24). It should be noted that v. 26 is
the only place in this Gospel where the fullest Greek form
of "Holy Spirit," [to pneuma to hagiou], is employed.
This is therefore, the only passage that makes the
identification of the Paraclete with the Holy Spirit
The verb form of "to leave," in the parting "Peace"
of v. 27, can have the sense of bequeathing, although it
is not a technical juridical term. There is a play here,
on the traditional Hebrew salutation, "Shalom." Jesus
gives it new meaning, as he fills it full with the gift of
salvation. "The peace of the Lord be with you," thus
becomes the traditional Christian salutation.
3. STRATEGY: John 14: 23-29
THE LAST DISCOURSE: Division One (Unit Three)
In preaching from this text, again the challenge is to
be found precisely in [anamnesis]: bringing the
Christ-peace to more than remembrance, to a present
reality in our community of faith. The peace of Christ is
not the courteous greeting exchanged in countless churches
on Sunday mornings. His gift of peace comes in the form
of salvation. It is Shalom in its root meaning of whole,
perfect and undivided, [shalem]. The peace Christ gives
is his "whole self," in whom lies the undivided One God,
and in whom we come alive in perfect union. In this peace
we can live at the very heart of the final struggle of
life and death, into which we all must enter as we die and
rise with Christ.
He goes through death, returning to take us with him
into Life. In this peace we find the cause of our joy.
The True Image has come forth form God into human life,
the Son alive as an actual person: God and flesh at one.
In our spiritual rebirth, this Incarnation is opened up
to become God and flesh and men/women made whole. As our
response of love completes the union we are in Christ, we
rejoice. We are hid in the One returning to God! We
experience that it has already begun to happen, and so we
In Rom. 6: 4, Paul writes: Through baptism we were
buried together with him in his death, so that as Christ
was raised from among the dead through the glory of God,
so we also might walk in the newness of Life.
4. Music & Worship Suggestions
Some appropriate hymns for this day would include the following:
Gather: Son of God, Eternal Savior – ELW 655
Day: Mothering God, You Gave Me Birth – ELW 735
Meal: For the Bread Which You Have Broken – ELW 494
Send: Thine is the Glory – ELW 376
Other Possible Hymns:
COME, MY WAY, MY TRUTH, MY LIFE (ELW 816; HB 487; LBW 513)
DEAR CHRISTIANS, ONE AND ALL REJOICE (ELW 594; LBW 299) GOD IS LOVE (HB 576/7) GOD IS LOVE, LET HEAVEN ADORE HIM (HB 379) IN CHRIST THERE IS NO EAST AND WEST (ELW 650; HB 529; LBW 359) JESUS, THY BOUNDLESS LOVE TO ME (LBW 336) LORD, WHOSE LOVE IN HUMBLE SERVICE (ELW 712; HB 610; LBW 423) O DAY OF REST & GLADNESS (ELW 521; HB 48; LBW 251") O GOD OF LOVE, O KING OF PEACE (ELW 749; LBW 414; HB 578) ONE THERE IS, ABOVE ALL OTHERS (LBW 298) SON OF GOD, ETERNAL SAVIOR (ELW 655; LBW 364) WHAT WONDROUS LOVE IS THIS? (ELW 666; HB 439;LBW 385) WHEN CHRIST WAS LIFTED FROM THE EARTH (HB 603/4) WHERE CHARITY AND LOVE PREVAIL (ELW 359; HB 581; LBW 126) WHERE CROSS THE CROWDED WAYS OF LIFE (ELW 719; LBW 429) WHERE TRUE CHARITY AND LOVE DWELL ( HB 606)
5. REFERENCES: John 14: 23-29
Brown, Raymond E. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN, XIII -
XXI. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Co., 1970, pp. 638,
641-42, 647-48, 650-51.
SYNOPSIS OF THE FOUR GOSPELS. Kurt Aland, ed.,
Wurttembergische Bibelanstalt, Stuttgart/West Germany: United
States Bible Societies, 1975, p. 291.
Whitson, Robley Edward. THE CENTER SCRIPTURES.
Bristol, Indiana: The United Institute, Wyndham Hall Press, 1987, pp. 46-48.
Exegete: The Rev. Dr. Carol M. Worthing, D. Min.(ELCA, Ret’d) earned a M.Div. degree in 1982 from the Northwestern Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Paul. Carol earned a P.h.D in theological studies from the Graduate Theological Foundation in 2002, and in the same year was honored as the John Macquarrie Fellow for the superior quality of her dissertation. She was chosen by the Cathedral Council to serve as preacher at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. in November of 2002. Carol Worthing has returned to Edina, Minn. where she currently resides.
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