Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
We do not celebrate Easter just on one Sunday, but for 40 days. According to the New Testament timeline Christ died in our places on the cross, He paid the price for our sins, and, as we confess in the creed, on the third day He rose from the dead. On the first Sunday of the Resurrection, the women discovered the empty tomb. On the same day, the resurrected Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene and the disciples on the way to Emmaus. In the following days until the Ascension, He appeared to the 11 apostles and walked among the believers in a visible form. He once appeared to 500 people at the same time.
After the 40 days, Jesus ascended into the heavens to be seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty, as we confess in the creed as well. Our Lord prepared His disciples for each stage in His mission. He began his public ministry with His baptism by John the Baptist in the Jordan River and proclaimed to the people that the day of the Lord had come, the day prophesied by the patriarchs and prophets. But He did not announce His identity as the Messiah to the whole world, but spoke of this among the disciples. He also announced three times to the disciples that the Messiah should go to Jerusalem to die. But, they did not understand. After His death and resurrection, they understood a little more.
Also, before His death and resurrection, He told them that He would go to the Father, and after His departure from this world, they could pray to the Father in His name, and forgive sins in His name. And in our text for today, He speaks not only of his exaltation, but also of the arrival of the Holy Spirit, which occurred 10 days after the Ascension on the day of Pentecost.
"But now I go to him who sent me; And none of you asks me: Where are you going? Because I have told you these things, sadness has filled your heart. But I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; But if I go, I will send Him to you. And when He comes, H will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Of sin, because they do not believe in me; And of righteousness, because I go unto the Father, and you shall see me no more; And of judgment, because the prince of this world has already been judged. "
The disciples did not understand the necessity of His death and resurrection, and did not understand the need for His ascension. They said nothing to the Lord, but they were saddened because He would not stay with them in a visible way. However, the news of the Ascension should have been an occasion of joy for them and so it should be for us. Jesus had to go up to the Father to receive all authority in heaven and earth to send the Holy Spirit to the church.
The disciples needed the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit to understand all the words of Jesus. "I still have many things to tell you, but now you can not take them. But when that Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth; For He will not speak of Himself, but will speak all that He hears, and He will show you things to come. "The church also needed the gift of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel in all parts of the world.
Now we live in the time between the Ascension of the Lord and His second coming in the clouds. The duty of the church is to proclaim the Law of God, not for condemnation, but to call the nations to repentance. When Jesus Christ will return in glory, it will be the time of judgment and it will be too late to repent of sin. But, now, everyone can receive baptism and the promise of eternal life. This is the Gospel. The Holy Spirit is active in the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments, which is the mission of the church. Preaching is for all to hear, so we begin with the Law, the will of God that nobody can perfectly fulfill, except Jesus Christ. Then we preach salvation in Christ and the gift of faith that we receive in baptism. In baptism Christ called each of us by name, and He is with us by His blood and body in the sacrament.
As the third person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit has all divine power. In the Apostles' Creed, we confess in the first article that God the Father Almighty is the Creator of earth and heaven. This is the work of creation. In the second article, we confess our faith in the work of redemption through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We confess in the third article our faith in "the Holy Spirit; The holy Christian church, the communion of saints; forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the flesh and everlasting life. "
Why are all these things in the third article? Because they are all the work of the Holy Spirit. We are in the church, which is the communion of the saints by the power of the Holy Spirit in baptism and the Holy Supper; we have the forgiveness of sins by faith that is the gift of the Spirit; we will be resurrected to eternal life by the power of the Spirit that keeps us in the true faith. Now, in this earthly life, by the power of the Holy Spirit we can overcome all the challenges and trials, even the current crisis of our country. That is why we have peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
Send Pastor David Ernst an email.