Questions From our Youth: A sermon based on John 14 and our confirmands.
Questions from our Youth
† In Jesus Name †
May the grace and peace of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ provide “the” answer to your question of life!
The questions overlooked?
Since September, we’ve had a confirmation class of 4, plus my own youth who was confirmed before. We finished going through the small catechism and these young people asked incredible questions, Noah, Nathan Isabelle and Jonah. They really are trying to understand who God is and what He does, and how He is with us.
Sometimes it is good to get another set of eyes on the passage I am going to preach on, and this week, I did just that. I asked the 4 young people to look at the passage from the gospel, and come up with a question on it, that I would make part of the sermon.
So here are these three questions,
Since we were talking about God preparing a place for you when we go to be with Him, one asked, “Where did God put you before you were born.”
The second question echoes the apostle Phillip’s comment, and asks “why hasn’t anyone ever seen God.”
And the third was more a request to talk about what Jesus means when he says, ““I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works because I am going to be with the Father.”
Where were we before we were born.
The first question is one that a potential future pastor might ask. I say that because it is difficult to answer because scripture does not directly tell us. Instead, we stay up late at night and discuss these things, debating various theories, trying to determine what is true, despite God not telling us directly.
The question, “Where were we, when before we were born, where did God put us?”
I only found a couple of verses on this, the first being in the Old Testament prophet 5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 (NLT2)
Notice it does not say God put us in this corner of heaven or that back closet.
It does say that God knew us, who would be. Before He formed us in our mother’s wombs, God knew all about us, after all, He created us. Because He knew us, he also created us with a plan, in Jeremiah’s case, to make Him a prophet to the nations. He does the same for each of us, crafting our lives and the opportunities we have to love Him, and love those around us, by sharing with them the love of God.
Why hasn’t anyone seen God?
The next question was, Why hasn’t anyone seen God?
While there are a few people that have in history, like Adam and Eve who walked with God, and Abraham who scriptures say talked with him as a man talks with a friend. The 70 elders and Moses and Aaron saw God and ate with Him in the desert. Phillip and the other apostles saw God as well, hear again Jesus words
“ Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!”
So what about us today, who haven’t seen God, and am not sure we have heard Him talk?
I would say we have often seen God, not as I see Bob over here, but we see God when we see him. I see God like I know if someone is on the beach, I see the marks that He leaves in my life, and in the lives around us. There are things we see God doing in people’s lives, bringing peace and love. We hear God in the voices of those people we love, who remind us God is with us, that remind us that God forgives our sin, to remind us that God loves us.
And we look forward to the day when we will see Him face to face, when we will hear His voice directly, rather than through His word and the love God shows us.
He will provide views into His life.
Greater works than I have done
The last comment is one that intrigues me as well, a promise that Jesus makes. We should hear this again, ““I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”
We know what Jesus did, he taught to thousands, without the benefit of sound systems or youtube channels, and no one, absolutely no one, has had more followers in History. He healed people, he even raised some from the dead, and He conquered death. He was even able to get stubborn people like Peter to become saints, and killers like Paul and King David to repent.
So what can we do, that is ever greater than all of that?
The interesting thing is, we don’t know when we do! We just simply follow God and try to depend on Him to love like only He can love.
Let me explain, in the judgment scene in Matthew 25, we read,
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ 37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:34-40 (NLT2)
Did you see what King Jesus will praise them for, they don’t even remember they did it? They simply were loving the people around them. They saw needs and met them, they visited and cared for and loved those that others ignored.
And Jesus recognizes us and says that we are obviously blessed by our Father for doing these things. We show God’s love in doing these things, in reaching out and loving those people as God would do it if He was here.
This shows the Holy Spirit at work in us, This shows us that united to Jesus, fused to Him in our baptism, doing the very things God the Father planned for us to do, we see God at work, in each other. From young kids like those that paraded around our parking lot to the older folk like Kurt, who called me this week to encourage me.
We might not think anything about it, but that is God at work….and when we love as Jesus, did, there is no work greater… and we show God’s love and work in us.
Some great questions… all pointing to God’s work in our lives…
For the Lord is with you! AMEN!