Some significant dwelling on Jesus' human nature and what happens to it in the ascension and also some deep thought about the message we have received.
Verse 7 is cited in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 11: Election (SD 11.56) as a reminder that since "the time and hour of calling and conversion" for each believer is known by God but not by us, "we must obey [God's] command always to cling to the Word and to commend the time and the hour to God" (SD 11.56).
Verse 1 is sited in an editorial insert in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 8: Person of Christ (SD 8.27) in a string of scriptural citations showing that the risen and ascended Jesus worked outside of time and place through the prophets and apostles as testified by the signs made possible through Jesus.
Verse 15 and following is cited in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 11: Election (SD 11.12) along with several verses from John 15 to show that scripture has been given "to encourage godliness" (SD 11.12).
Verse 17 and 18 are cited in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 2: Free Will (SD 2.15) as a kind of prayer recorded in scripture (along with others) that are to move us to praise God for the good news, enlightenment, and the sacraments.
Verses 20-21 are twice cited by an editorial insert in Formula of Concord, Article 8: Person of Christ (8.12, 8.51). First, these verses are used in the seventh point of explanation about the Lutheran teaching about Jesus to show that Jesus, fully human and fully divine, is elevated to the right hand of the Father. Second, these verses are used to show that Jesus' human nature has indeed has "received, alongside of an in addition to its natural, essential characteristics (which always remain), special, high, great, supernatural, incomprehensible, indescribable heavenly prerogatives and privileges in majesty, glory, power, and might over all things" (SD 8.51, parenthesis in original).
Verses 22-23 are quoted in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Articles 7 and 8 (AP 7-8.5) to show that it is the presence of the Spirit of Jesus that identifies who is in the church, not the institutional rules or those in whom the Spirit does not live.
Verse 22 is cited in a foot note to Smalcald Articles, Part Two, Fourth Article (SA 2.4.1, n. 52) to show that Jesus is the head of the church, not the pope.
Verse 22 is also cited in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 8: Person of Christ (8.55) in a long string of scriptural citations to show that divine characteristics are imparted to the human nature of Jesus.
Verse 45 is quoted in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 2: Free Will (SD 2.26) showing that now, after Jesus' ascension, only the presence of the Holy Spirit can help us make sense of scripture.
Verses 46-47 are quoted in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 5: Law and Gospel (SD 5.4) as a summary of Jesus' commission to his disciples, giving us a general definition of the gospel.
Verse 47 is cited many places. The first citation is in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 4: Justification (AP 4.62) to drive home the point that all people need to hear the good news so they can repent and be forgiven. The second and third citations, also in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, but in Article 12: Repentance (AP 12.30 and 12.122), drives home this point of evangelizing and how this verse was used in the Confutation. The fourth citation is a quote in Smalcald Articles, Part 3, Section 3: Concerning Repentance (SA 3.3.6) to show that John the Baptist prepared sinners for Jesus through proclamation of God's forgiveness. The fifth citation is also a quote in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 5: Law and Gospel (SD 5.8) to show the complex meaning of "repentance" in scripture--anywhere from "the entire conversion of the person" (SD 5.7) to recognition of, sorrow for, and abstinence from sin. And finally, this verse is cited twice in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 11: Election (SD 11.27, 28) to show that the good news that brings us to salvation is the same good news that we are called to proclaim once we have been converted and that this proclamation must follow the call to repent.
It boggles my mind that the same Jesus who walked Israel is also the same Jesus who created all things. The particularity of the incarnation revealed the timelessness of Jesus, making the humanity of Jesus a real question. But the good news of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection through which the Spirit calls people today is the very message we are called to proclaim.
- How do we over complicate the proclamation of the gospel?
- Where do we need to complexify our proclamation of the gospel?
- How do we call people into deeper trust in the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus?