5th Sunday of Easter
The Lord Jesus Christ Is the Way, the Truth and the Life
The risen Lord Jesus alone is “the way, and the truth, and the life,” and we come “to the Father” only through Him (John 14:6). God is thus “glorified in the Son,” and those who believe in Him will do the works of Christ because He goes to the Father for us (John 14:12–14). Stephen, “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5) and “doing great wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8), did the works of Christ. When he was falsely accused and put to death, he “gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55). Fixing his hope there, he commended his spirit to the Lord Jesus and prayed for his murderers. In the same way, all the baptized are called to follow the example of Christ Jesus by faith. Though He was “rejected by men” in the sight of God, He is “chosen and precious” (1 Peter 2:4). He is the chief cornerstone of the Father’s “spiritual house,” and we are built upon Him as “living stones” (1 Peter 2:5).
Epistle Reading 1 – Acts 7:2a, 51-60
To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me!
“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”
When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Manstanding at the right hand of God.”
At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.
While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Epistle Reading 2– 1 Peter 2:2-10
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”
Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”
“A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Gospel Reading – John 14:1-14
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
The Prayers of the Church
Let us pray to our Father in heaven, who has made Himself known to us in His Son.
Almighty God, You sent Your Son to be the Way to heaven by His death and resurrection. Comfort and enliven us with Christ, the Truth, in Your Word and Sacraments, that we might rejoice in Him, our Life, both now and forevermore. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Heavenly Father, You honor the office of motherhood and make it a symbol of Your Church, where Your people are born in Holy Baptism and nursed with the pure spiritual milk of Your Word. Receive our thanks this day for Your gift of mothers: Bless them in their ongoing vocation of love, prayer and sacrifice for their children of all ages, and grant that their labors might remind us of the new life You have given us through Christ and His Bride. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Almighty God, Your Son honored You and became obedient even to death on the cross. Hear our prayers on behalf of children and youth: Provide them good and godly homes where they might be trained in Your ways, and give them thankful hearts that honor their fathers and mothers as Your servants. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Heavenly Father, bestow Your grace on all the nations of the earth. Especially we beg You to bless our land and its inhabitants and all who are in authority. Cause Your glory to dwell among us, and let mercy and truth, righteousness and peace everywhere prevail. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
O Lord, even as You make Your Son known to us through Your holy Word, so You also make known much about Your creation through discovery and education. Bless all educators and the students entrusted to their care: Give them good things to speak, ears ready to hear and learn, wisdom to use that knowledge according to Your will, and faith to trust You when answers remain a mystery. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Almighty God, You provided men of good repute to serve so that the apostles might devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word. Bless congregations with godly pastors and lay leaders who are willing to shoulder burdens for the blessing of Your people and the spreading of Your Word. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
O Lord, as You remember us in our living and our dying, remember all those who cry to You in need [especially ____________]. Strengthen and deliver them according to Your will, and grant them confidence of Your faithfulness. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Heavenly Father, in Christ You have made us a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and a people for Your own possession. Preserve Your people in the one true faith, and grant that all who come to the Supper this day might do so with repentant hearts that thankfully receive Your Son’s body and blood. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Most holy God, we give You thanks for all those whom You have called out of darkness and into Your marvelous light. With thanks for all the saints whom You have gathered to Yourself throughout the ages, continue to enlighten us by Your grace until we join them before Your throne; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.