Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!
We are still in the Easter season, between the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus Christ. But in our text for today we receive a preview of the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out in power on the church. Also of the Sunday of the Holy Trinity, when we will speak in detail about the doctrine of the Trinity.
However, today we are going to talk a little about the Trinity, particularly the third Person, the Holy Spirit. We find in our text the promise of the Comforter, which is in Greek, Paraclete. "But I tell you the truth: It is good for you that I go away; for if I did not go away, the Comforter would not come to you; but when I have left, I will send Him to you."
Remember, this speech occurred on Holy Thursday, before the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Still the Son of God should suffer and die, rise on the third day and go up to heaven to send the Holy Spirit to the church. Who are these persons? Furthermore, we baptize, at the command of Jesus, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Who are the three of them?
We believe in one God, but there are three Persons in the same divine nature. The three are different, but united in will and divine attributes. The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God. But, the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, nor is the Father the Holy Spirit. The three act together, but the plan of salvation was progressively revealed to us in each Person.
Example, all the Persons of the Trinity were active in creation. According to the first chapter of Genesis, in the beginning God created heaven and earth by His Word, the Spirit moved on the face of the waters of the disordered and empty earth. According to the first chapter of the Gospel according to Saint John, this Word was in the beginning with God and the Word was God. By Him and for Him all things were made. And this Word was made flesh and walked among us. Which means, the Word is the Son, the second Person of the Trinity.
But, for us the work of creation is linked with the Father, as the Creed says, "I believe in God the Almighty Father, Creator of heaven and earth." Because in the beginning Adam and Eve knew God as their Father. Because of their disobedience, Adam and Eve broke the good relationship with the Father and now because all of us are born as sinners and rebels against God, we can know God by our own understanding only as an angry Judge. However, even in the minds and hearts of unbelievers there is knowledge of a Creator or Father of everything, because creation bears witness to Him.
We know the Son as Jesus Christ and also his work of redemption. The Word was made flesh and walked among us as true man. He fulfilled His purpose in this world on the cross and on the cross revealed not only the Father's justice, but also the love and mercy of the Father, who does not want our condemnation. In the Son, the first Person was revealed again as our loving Father.
But, mind you, the Son spoke face to face with his disciples and they did not understand Him. Jesus announced His death three times to the disciples and they did not understand why the Son should die in our place. They needed the Holy Spirit to enlighten their minds and hearts. "I still have many things to say to you, but now you cannot bear them. But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak of Himself, but will speak everything He hears, and He will make known to you the things to come. He will glorify me, because He will take of what is mine, and He will make it known to you. All that the Father has is mine, therefore I said that He will take from what is mine, and will make it known to you. "
Before His ascension, Jesus gave His disciples the mission of proclaiming the message of reconciliation between God and man throughout the world. But, they needed the help of the Holy Spirit to fulfill this mission. The Spirit needed to create faith in their hearts and in the hearts of unbelievers as well. Everyone has the evidence of God the Almighty Father in creation. There is the evidence of the Son in the story of the resurrection. But even those who saw the risen Christ did not understand the purpose of the Father and the Son before the coming of the Holy Spirit to touch the heart and enlighten the mind. Today we can see concrete evidence in archeology, in the ruins of the Promised Land and in the testimony of the Scriptures. But we cannot trust this testimony, nor the promises without the faith that the Spirit gives us in baptism.
The work of the Holy Spirit is to prepare the world for the second coming of Christ in glory. So Christ gave his mission to the church. When He will return in the clouds, it will be the hour of judgment. No one will have time to repent at that time.
"And when He (the Holy Spirit) comes, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Of sin, because they do not believe in Me; and of justice, because I go to my Father and you will see me no more; and of judgment, because the prince of this world is already judged. "
Those who reject the Holy Spirit reject the mercy of God and will be judged on that day of the Lord. Those who hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in the preaching and the sacraments will receive mercy on that day. The Holy Spirit reveals to us everything we need to know about the Father and the Son. We no longer need dreams and visions when the Spirit is at work in the Word and the sacraments.
And we find the Word and the sacraments in the church. Truly, the church is the strongest evidence of the truth of Jesus Christ. This man died 2,000 years ago on the other side of the world, but in all parts of the world 2,000 years later, there is a church that proclaims that Jesus rose on the third day to ascend to the right hand of God Almighty Father and from there must come to judge the nations.
In this truth we have the hope and the peace that passes all understanding. Amen
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