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Mission accomplished

2 Kings 2:9-15

Pastor David Ernst

Ascension Sunday
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, May 13, 2018 

Christ is risen!

He iss risen indeed!

Today we conclude the Easter season with the celebration of the third mystery of the New Testament. These things we can not understand, they are not natural phenomena, but supernatural. They are the Incarnation, the Resurrection and the Ascension.

In the Incarnation, the Son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity, came down from heaven to be born of the Virgin Mary. On this Mother’s Day, it is appropriate to remember her whom we call the Mother of God. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God was made flesh in her womb. We do not understand how God could put aside His omnipotence and omniscience, but we confess it in the creed. It was necessary for our Savior to be tempted in every way as we are. He lived without sin, but He understands our weaknesses.

We also confess our belief in the Resurrection. Jesus suffered under the power of Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. But, on the third day He rose again from the dead.

All these mysteries were prefigured in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Before the conception of Jesus, God opened the wombs of barren women. First, Sarah, Abraham's wife. Then, Rachel, Jacob's wife. Also Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel. In the New Testament, God opened the womb of Elizabeth, wife of Zechariah, to be the mother of John the Baptist. Finally, he opened the womb of a virgin.

The prophet Elijah restored the life of the son of the widow of Sarepta. Jesus himself revived the son of the widow of Naín, the daughter of Jairo and Lázaro, brother of Marta and Maria de Betanía.

Now in the case of the Ascension, we have this reading of the Old Testament. "And it came to pass that when they had passed, Elijah said to Elisha: Ask what you want me to do for you, before I am taken away from you. And Elisha said: I pray that a double portion of your spirit be upon me. And he said: You have asked for something difficult. If you see me when I am taken from you, it will be done to you; but if not, no. And it came to pass that as they went and talked, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire with horses of fire that separated the two; and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. "

We find another prefiguration of the Ascension of Christ in Genesis 5: 21-24. "Enoch walked with God, and he disappeared, because God took him." These miracles were signs of the power of God, the same power that we believe created heaven and earth. However, there is a difference between them and the three mysteries of the Incarnation, the Resurrection and the Ascension. All three changed the condition and destiny of the entire human race.

After their births, Isaac, Joseph, Samuel and John the Baptist were men like other men. They died like other men. Also, the son of the widow of Sarepta, the widow of Naín, the daughter of Jairo, and Lázaro lived again for a while and again died.

At the birth of Jesus, God himself entered this world to live among us. The divine nature was linked with human nature forever. Since the first Christmas, God has a human name and a human face that one day we will see.

Because of the Resurrection of Jesus, each of us has the promise of eternal life. Jesus died on the cross in our places. Through baptism, we share in His death, and we will share in His Resurrection.

Enoch and Elijah avoided physical death, not because of their own merit, but because of Jesus Christ. Because of the Ascension of Jesus all the faithful are going to ascend the heavens, the living with the resurrected dead on the last day. The ascensions of Enoch and Elijah were like an advance on a promised payment.

In His Ascension, Jesus fulfilled his mission. In his Incarnation, He lived as an obedient son of God in our places and suffered the punishment of our sins. In His Resurrection he overcame death, the devil and our sinful nature forever. In His Ascension, Jesus was exalted again, but not only as Son of God, as Son of Man as well. Therefore, we may go to heaven and live with Him forever.

Furthermore, until His second coming in glory, Jesus governs the universe from the right hand of God. To be seated at the right hand of the king meant that one had the same authority as the king. Now the presence of Jesus is not limited to one place or another. We can pray and adore Jesus anywhere and at any time. And because of His Ascension, the blood and body of Jesus Christ can be present in any place and time where and when we celebrate the sacrament.

One more prefiguration: Elisha received the double portion of the spirit and power of Elijah, which was the Holy Spirit. Also, Jesus promised His disciples that through His Ascension, they will receive the Holy Spirit. so next Sunday we will celebrate the day of Pentecost when the Lord fulfilled this promise.

We are living after the first Pentecost and the whole church has the power of the Holy Spirit. Now our hope is the second coming of the Lord and the fulfillment of our mission as a church. In this we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.

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