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Seventh Sunday in the Season of Easter

Sermon for the Seventh Sunday of Easter

Readings: Acts 16–14; 1 Peter 5 & John 17:1–11

Today is the penultimate, or next to last Sunday in the Season of Easter. In the calendar of the church year we have just celebrated Ascension Day: the ascent of Jesus into heaven on the 40th day after His resurrection. Our reading today from the Acts of the Apostles describes this event.

Appearing to the disciples after His resurrection, Jesus had instructed them to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now that Jesus has joined them in Jerusalem, they wonder whether the time has finally come when His kingdom will be established. In the traditional Jewish view, the Messiah would be an earthly conqueror who would free Israel from Rome. But of course the Kingdom that Jesus spoke about was, first and foremost, a spiritual Kingdom to be established in the hearts and lives of his followers. In that Kingdom, God’s presence and power dwell in believers in the form of the Holy Spirit.

Following His ascension, the disciples remain together in Jerusalem, spending their time in prayer, until they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The time between Ascension Day and the Day of Pentecost, is now the time that Christians throughout world, who are involved in the global prayer movement ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, spend praying for more people in the world to come to know Jesus and enter into relationship with Him.

So let’s just take a few minutes now to watch a short video and hear about the origins and purpose of Thy Kingdom Come. 

Thy Kingdom Come encourages us to pray for people we know, perhaps family and/or friends, to come to know Jesus. It focuses on the power of prayer to enable God’s will to be done on earth. And when we think of prayer, today’s gospel reading describes a prayer that Jesus Himself prays to the Father on behalf of his disciples. The purpose of His prayer is twofold: (1) that the disciples may be kept safe from the powers of evil that are at work in the world, and (2) that they receive the gift of eternal life. And what is eternal life? In the gospel reading, Jesus tells us eternal life is knowing God the Father himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. Eternal life requires entering into a personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ. When we enter into this relationship, Christ’s love lives in us by the Holy Spirit. 

And that’s what we are praying for, when we pray that family and/or friends may come to know Jesus.


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