Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Jesus prayed a lot. Throughout the Gospels we are told how Jesus went away and prayed by himself, how He prayed in the synagogues, and how he prayed at other times as well. It would be nice to know all the things that Jesus prayed for, but the problem is that there aren't enough books in the world to contain all of Jesus' prayers. So we're thankful for the prayers that we do have.
The most important prayer that Jesus said was the Lord's Prayer, of course. And so we pray that prayer often: we pray it every Sunday at church, we pray it every Wednesday for chapel, but you can also pray the Lord's Prayer more than that. In the Small Catechism, Luther suggests that we pray the Lord's prayer eight times per day. One in the morning after we wake up, one at night before we go to bed, and then before and after all three meals of the day. Martin Luther loved that prayer, and so has the church since the Lord gave it to us.
In today's Scripture reading, we hear another important prayer of Jesus.
In that same hour [that the disciples came back to Jesus,] he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”
In this prayer, Jesus is praying to the Father, just like He taught us to pray in the Lord's Prayer. But in this prayer, Jesus is thanking the Father for something. He is thanking the Father for what the Father has revealed to little children.
I know that not all of you are “little children” now, but you all once were, and so the Father has revealed something to you. The Father has told you about why Jesus came to earth. God has used your parents and teachers and pastors to tell you this important news: that Jesus came to die on the cross, and then rise from the dead.
But can a person really rise from the dead? Not normally, right. But one person could: Jesus. Jesus was dead. He died a terrible and painful death by hanging on a cross. And then His friends laid His dead body in a tomb. And then, on the third day, Jesus woke his dead body up and walked right out of that tomb. That's amazing, that's a miracle. That's the Good News that the Father has told you. And you can believe it, because God said it.
And guess what? Because you believe that, you will also be raised back to life like Jesus. One day, Jesus will come back here (it could be today, it could be tomorrow, it could be a thousand or million years from now, we don't know), but whenever that day is, everyone who believes in Jesus will also be raised from the dead like Jesus.
Even you, little child (and older child), even you will be raised from the dead. This is what Jesus thanked the Father about that day. He was thinking of you, and He was thanking the Father that you believe these things.
In the name of +Jesus. Amen.