Thursday, May 30, 2019

Christ Ascends to God's Right Hand

Ascension icon.

Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen (Mark 16:14-20).

Jesus appears to the eleven and rebukes them. This makes sense; they certainly deserve a scolding. Jesus had chosen specific people to be the first witnesses of His resurrection: Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. He appeared to them and told them to bring the news of His defeat of death and the grave to His disciples. But, when Mary Magdalene went and told them, as they mourned and wept, the disciples did not believe. Jesus also appeared to two of them on the road to Emmaus;[1] they went and told the rest of the disciples, but they did not believe them either. Isn’t it a little ironic that the disciples, who would soon be the Apostles (the sent ones), did not believe the ones sent to them?

How could the disciples expect others to believe them, when they in turn would be sent out to proclaim the risen Lord, if the disciples themselves persisted in unbelief? Besides, Jesus had even prophesied his resurrection while he was still with them.[2]
Then Jesus speaks what we have come to call The Great Commission to His disciples, though Mark records it differently from Matthew:

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.[3]
What Mark writes here is often interpreted, particularly by certain factions of American Protestantism, as commanding that Christians only baptize those who profess faith beforehand: First, a person declares that they believe; then, and only then, they are to be baptized. This is not so. Through the sacrament of Holy Baptism God creates faith, saves, and washes away sin. This promise, Peter will later proclaim to the crowd:

“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord Our God will call.”[4]
Baptism is connected to repentance, to the remission of sins, and to the giving of the Holy Spirit; it connects us to Christ’s death and resurrection;[5] in baptism we are clothed with Christ.[6] The order of the actions is not as important as the one who is doing the actions; and the person doing all the actions in conversion is God.

What I mean is this: It is the means of the Word that creates faith, by the working of the Holy Spirit.[7] Baptism, which God calls a washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,[8] is a way God has instituted of delivering the Word that creates faith, using a physical thing. In baptism, God bound His word to a physical thing, water; He promised when water and His Word were bound in the way He gave it, it would be for creating faith, forgiving sins, and giving the Holy Spirit - just as with His preached word. The power working in baptism is the power of the Gospel of Christ, or as Peter says, the resurrection of Jesus Christ;[9] that is the same Gospel that is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.[10] The preaching, teaching, and baptizing cannot be separated from one another.

Continuing His commission of His disciples-turned-Apostles, Jesus describes a list of signs that would go with them as they preached: exorcism, speaking in tongues, taking up serpents, drinking poison, and healing the sick. If these are the signs that will follow those who believe, then I am in trouble, as are most people who have called themselves Christians for the last 2,000 years. I have cast out no demons; I speak a foreign language, but only due to hard studying; it was no miracle. I have not ever taken up serpents or imbibed poison. The only healing I have ever done by my own hand was to provide medicine to members of my family when they were sick. Not only have I not performed any of these signs and wonders, but I also know no one personally who even makes such a claim. If we are to understand what Jesus says here as applying to all people at all times, as many in the Pentecostal movement do, there are far fewer Christians out there than previous assumed.

Mark, conveniently enough, explains the purpose of these signs:

And they [the Apostles] went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.[11]
Amen indeed! These signs were promised to the Apostles, not to every individual Christian as a sign of faith. These signs were the credentials of the Apostles to verify that what they were saying was true. All of these signs

were already promised (Mark 3:15) when he [Jesus] called the Twelve and were put into practice when they went out on their first preaching journey (Mark 6:13). Examples of all of them are recorded in the book of Acts...Nowhere did Jesus say that they would continue to the end of time. What is to continue is the preaching of the gospel.[12]
And the thing that each Christian is given, that they may cling to, that will reassure them that they are connected to Christ and His righteousness, and are a child of God, is their baptism - the preaching of the Gospel through physical means - not signs and wonders, or personal, inward encounters with God.

Do not misunderstand: It isn’t that God can’t cause signs and wonders to happen. God is able to do whatever He wants to do. If He chooses to give someone the gift of healing, of speaking a language that they previously did not know, of speaking to someone directly, He can and will. The issue is that God does not want to do these things. He has made that clear to us in His Word. Those things are the incredibly rare exception, not the rule. The author of Hebrews writes,

"God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;"[13]
And what does Jesus, through whom God the Father has spoken to us in these last days, say? Rather than looking to perform signs and wonders, He tells His Christians that the people who will perform signs and wonders are the false prophets:

“And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ of ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.”[14]
Since Christ ascended to the right hand of God the Father, we have no more need of signs, wonders, and direct revelation. He does not wish to deal with us in any other way than through His external Word.[15] It is in that Word, proclaimed by the Apostles, attested by God through their signs and wonders, that He creates faith, forgives sins, teaches good doctrine, and brings us to everlasting life in Christ Jesus. We should praise God that He has given us such a wondrously simple, and gracious, way to reach all people, infant or adult, hearing or deaf, mentally sound or mentally handicapped, with His saving Word through baptism, which now saves us through the resurrection of the ascended Jesus Christ.


McCain, Paul T, Robert C Baker, Gene E Veith, and Edward A Engelbrecht,. Concordia, The Lutheran Confessions: A Reader's Edition of the Book of Concord. 1st. Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2005.

Wicke, Harold E. People's Bible Commentary: Mark. Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2004.

[1] Luke 24:13-35
[2] Wicke, People’s Bible Commentary: Mark, p.238
[3] Mark 16:15-16
[4] Acts 2:38-39
[5] Romans 6:3-5
[6] Galatians 3:27
[7] Romans 10:17
[8] Titus 3:5
[9] 1 Peter 3:18-22
[10] Romans 1:16
[11] Mark 16:20
[12] Wicke, People’s Bible Commentary: Mark, p.239
[13] Hebrews 1:1-2
[14] Matthew 24:22-25
[15] SA III VIII 10-13, McCain, et. al., Concordia, the Lutheran Confessions,p.307

Monday, May 27, 2019

Jesus the True Shepherd

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:1-5).
Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the teachers of the Law at the end of chapter nine. He seems to direct His illustration at them. This is one of Jesus’ enigmatic sayings; on one level it is simple to understand.[1] The sheep are God’s people; the sheepfold represents the safety and rest of the Lord. The shepherd is the one who cares for and protects the sheep. But who are the thieves and robbers? In the context of the conversation it is clear; Jesus is referring, not simply to false Messiahs and those who teach false doctrine and scatter the people of God as a wolf scatters a flock.[2] Jesus is referring to those who have been legitimately put in charge of caring for the sheep, but have shirked their duties:
Some have thought that Jesus here refers to false Messiahs who had come before his time. But this is historically incorrect and also untrue to the figure. False Messiahs would be false doors to the fold not thieves and robbers who fight shy of ‘the door.’ When Jesus adds that these ‘are’ thieves and robbers he comes down to the present and includes the present Jewish leaders. All, past and present, ‘are’ self-seekers.[3]
When we apply the Berean Test[4] to Jesus’ message to the Jews in John chapter 10, it seems to be the same message spoken hundreds of years before by God to His people through the prophet Ezekiel:
And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them... ‘For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.[5]
We in the west do not have a good understanding of a Middle Eastern shepherd, or the relationship he has with his animals. The people listening to Jesus did. We might understand that the shepherd cares for his flock, but it is more than that. The idea that the sheep follow the shepherd because they know his voice might seem far-fetched. Kenneth Bailey, in his book, The Good Shepherd, explains that,
in the open wilderness of the Holy Land the shepherd walks slowly ahead of his sheep and either plays his own ten-second tune on a pipe or (more often) sings his own unique “call.” The sheep appear to be attracted primarily by the voice of the shepherd, which they know and are eager to follow. It is common practice for a number of shepherds to gather at midday around a spring or well, where the sheep mingle, drink and rest. At any time one of the shepherds can decide to leave, and on giving his call all his sheep will immediately separate themselves from the mixed flocks and follow their shepherd wherever he leads them.[6]
The Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Teachers of the Law were the thieves and robbers. Jesus is the True Shepherd, seeking out His sheep, delivering them from all the places where they were scattered. We are those sheep. We hear His voice through the proclamation of His Gospel; He causes us to recognize His voice in His Word, and we follow Him. Through His Word we receive the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting, whether that Word comes to us through the preaching and absolution of our faithful pastor, whether connected to the waters of Holy Baptism, washing away the filth of our sins, or connected to the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper, in which we eat the true body and blood of Our Lord Jesus, given and shed for us for the forgiveness of our sins. Those who try to proclaim another gospel, or another Jesus, are false shepherds, eating the fat and clothing themselves with the wool. They are thieves and robbers, trying to climb up another way into the sheepfold.


Bailey, Dr. Kenneth E, interview by Rev. Todd Wilken. Jesus, the Good Shepherd (May 7, 2015).

Bailey, Dr. Kenneth E. The Good Shepherd: A Thousand-Year Journey From Psalm 23 To The New Testament. Kindle. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2014.

Engelbrecht, Rev. Edward A., ed. The Lutheran Study Bible. Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2009.

Lenski, R. C. H. The Interpretation of St. John's Gospel. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1942.

[1] Enigmatic sayings: difficult teachings. E. A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible, English Standard Version (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House), 1775, 1801.
[2] R. C. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John's Gospel. (Columbus: The Wartburg Press), 716.
[3] ibid.
[4] Acts 17: 10-12
[5] Ezekiel 34: 1-4, 11-12
[6] Kenneth E. Bailey, The Good Shepherd: A Thousand-Year Journey From Psalm 23 to the New Testament (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press), 41-42, Kindle.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Could This Be the Christ?

Now some of them from Jerusalem said, “Is this not He whom they seek to kill? But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ? However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from.” Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, “You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.” Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?” (John 7:25-31).

C. S. Lewis wrote the following about Jesus in his wonderful book, Mere Christianity:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.[1]

This was really the question the people of Jerusalem, the pilgrims, and the Jewish religious leaders were debating as they watched Jesus teaching in the temple: Who is Jesus? They see Him teaching in the temple courts, not like a proper rabbi should, but claiming some kind of divine authority, almost as if He were the author of the Scriptures; they see Him going around and performing miracles; He heals the sick, the blind, the deaf and mute, the demon-possessed, acting almost as though He had some kind of divine authority to command nature. Even the wind and waves obey Him![2] He ignores the traditions of the elders, the oral teachings, guarded and protected by the Pharisees, the hedge of protection which could keep men from transgressing the Law. He calls them the vain teachings of men; He condemns the Jewish religious establishment by saying that the hearts of the Pharisees were far from God.[3] He will soon say much worse. He acts as though He had the authority to define faith and tell people how to worship. Probably the most shocking thing was that Jesus goes around telling people that He is the Christ,[4] using messianic titles like “son of man”,[5] saying that He is the fulfillment of Scripture,[6] that He would die as the sacrifice for the sins of mankind,[7] and that He would rise again.[8] It is almost like Jesus is not just claiming to have divine authority, but that He is God Himself, in the flesh.

Well, C. S. Lewis would be satisfied that the Jews at least made a choice about who Jesus was. They did not try to come down somewhere in the diplomatic middle. They looked at Him and saw the Devil of Hell. They would soon spit at Him, and kill Him as a demon. The people see a good man, a political revolutionary perhaps, a prophet even, but God in human flesh? That just can’t be. That’s blasphemy. Besides, Jesus comes from Nazareth. His parents are Mary and Joseph. The people know His origin, or so they choose to believe despite Jesus’ miraculous testimony to the contrary. He couldn’t be the Messiah because,

the supposition had gained ground that no one would know whence He [Messiah] would come. This idea was due to a misunderstanding of some Old Testament passages referring to the eternity of the Messiah and to sections of apocryphal literature which was circulating among the Jews in those days.[9]

Yet, Jesus is in the temple courts teaching, and the Jews aren’t stopping Him. The people, mockingly, wonder aloud if the Pharisees have changed their minds about who Jesus is. This is how Jesus forces everyone, including us, to deal with His question: Who do you say that I am?[10]

Jesus says, “You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.”[11] Jesus asserts here, as He would later in an even more overt way, that He is divine. He tells the Pharisees that, not only is He sent by YHWH to do YHWH’s work, they are not even believers in YHWH and, in fact, they do not even know YHWH.[12] Later, Jesus will tell the Jews that they are not children of Abraham, and the promises of YHWH, but rather children of the devil, and Jesus will then call Himself YHWH.[13]

Considering all this, if we judge Jesus according to the standards of man, Jesus can only be either a lunatic or the Devil of Hell. But, if we judge Him according to God’s standard, according to what God has said about Himself and His Christ in Holy Scripture, we must fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. These words of Scripture have been given to us by God for that very purpose: for us to use as the only standard to judge all teachings about God. It is through God’s Word that the Holy Spirit creates faith in us.[14] All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.[15] So, we gather together around Word and Sacrament as the Body of Christ. We hear the words Christ has given us, and we eat the body and drink the blood of Him, the Word made flesh, as He bids us, all for the strengthening of our faith and the forgiveness of ours sins.[16]

Just as Jesus explains to the Jews, “The doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent me.”[17] We, accordingly, follow Jesus’ example and confess[18] (that is, we say with Jesus) His doctrine. We confess that we are, by nature, sinful and unclean.[19] We confess that Christ died for our sins, to pay the penalty we deserved for them, that He was buried, and that He rose again from the dead for our justification.[20] He sits at the right hand of God, in the glory of God the Father. We believe that He shall come to be our judge. The doctrine is not our own, but comes from Jesus, the Christ, the one by whom we are sent. We believe, teach, and confess that which we are given, because the One who gave it is true.[21]

[1] Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity. Read by Geoffrey Howard. Blackstone Audio Incorporated: Audible, 2006.
[2] Matthew 8:24-27
[3] Matthew 15:1-9
[4] John 4:25-26
[5] Daniel 7:9-14; John 8:28
[6] Luke 4:16-22
[7] Mark 10:45
[8] Matthew 20:18-19; Mark 9:31; 10:33-34; Luke 18:32-34; 24:6-8;
[9] Kretzmann, Paul E. Popular Commentary of the Bible: New Testament, Vol. I. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1921
[10] Matthew 16:14-16
[11] John 7:28-29
[12] YHWH: Yahweh, whose name was revealed to Moses as four Hebrew consonants (YHWH) called the tetragrammaton. Whenever the word Lord is found printed in such a way in the Old Testament, in a mainstream translation of a modern English language Bible, it is translating the tetragrammaton and can be read as, “Yahweh.”

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Yahweh.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., September 24, 2018,
[13] John 8:37-59
[14] Romans 10:17
[15] 2 Timothy 3:16-17
[16] Luke 22:19-20; Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25
[17] John 7:16
[18] Confess: From the assimilated form of com “together” and fateri “to admit,” akin to fari “speak”; “To speak, or admit, together.”

"Confess." Online Etymology Dictionary. Accessed May 16, 2019.
[19] Psalm 51:5; Ephesians 2:1-10
[20] 1 Corinthians 15:1-8; Romans 4:25
[21] John 7:28; Romans 3:4

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Heavenly Scholar

Icon - Christ Teaching the Doctors

Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?” Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him. Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” The people answered and said, “You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill You?” Jesus answered and said to them, “I did one work, and you all marvel. Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:14-24).

Jesus had no credentials. He did not have the 1st Century Jewish equivalent to our Master of Divinity degree. This was a serious affront to the scribes, the Pharisees, and the teachers of the Law. The Jews who gather around Jesus as He teaches in the temple courts are surprised and offended that a man with no proper education would presume to teach in public, and palm himself off as one who is versed in Scriptural learning.[1] There may not have been a system of accredited seminaries in first century Judea like we have today in the United States, but there certainly was a system. There were rabbinical schools for the training of rabbis, run by well-known and well-pedigreed rabbis. Paul witnesses to this when he gives his defense to the crowd after he is arrested in Jerusalem; He tells them, “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today.”[2] Gamaliel was one such rabbi, of whom Paul was a disciple. Jesus, however, had not been a part of that system and for Him to teach as he did was scandalous.

It wasn't, however, only that Jesus was teaching without being properly certified. When the Jews taught, they carefully cited previous teachers and scholars of the Law. They all tried to cite their teachings in order to show that they were smart, that they were correct, and that they had credibility (not unlike certain blog authors...). Jesus taught as one who had authority. In other words, Jesus taught the people, not by showing what those rabbis who came before Him said about the Law; He taught as the one who wrote and implemented the Law. This attitude was not lost on the people. The Bible tells us that the people marveled and openly wondered what kind of statement Jesus was trying to make.[3]

The Jews, however, really understood that Jesus was claiming to be God. That’s why they plot to kill him. Jesus could, of course, teach in this way because He is the Messiah, the divine Son of God and second person of the Trinity, coequal together, and coeternal with the Father and the Spirit, one God in three persons, three persons in one God. He is the author of life,[4] the one through whom creation came into being, the one who was the very image of God the Father.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.[5]
Jesus demonstrated His divine authority by what He did, in addition to what He said, and the manner in which He taught.[6] He restored sight to the blind, opened the ears of the deaf, loosed the tongues of the dumb, raised the dead, and ultimately, rose from the dead Himself. The Jews saw all these things but refused to see them for the signs they were. These things were the credentials that Holy Scripture said would accompany the Messiah. The Jews, however, demanded that Jesus "tell them plainly" if He was the Christ and demanded a sign to prove it. Jesus bluntly explains, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.”[7] Having ears, they did not hear; having eyes they did not see.

So, what does this mean? We know that it is our sin which put Jesus on the cross. We are in the same situation as the Jews to whom Peter preached in Solomon’s Portico.[8] We do not escape responsibility for the death of Jesus simply because we did not drive the nails into His hands with our own. Because of our sin, we are just as guilty as those who wanted to put Jesus to death at that time. We, as Peter says, “...denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.”[9]

The devil, the world, and our own sinful nature mislead us into false belief, despair, and other sin. When we repent of our sin, God who is faithful and just, forgives our sin and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. We can rest in the assurance of Jesus' authority as God to forgive our sin by the blood of His cross; because of the divine authority of Jesus, ultimately demonstrated by His resurrection, we can have faith that, even though we may suffer many things on this earth, including physical death, Jesus will one day call us out of our graves, and we will come out.[10] We who hear and recognize the voice of Jesus, as a sheep recognizes it’s shepherd, make up His body, The Church. In this Christian Church, Jesus, by the means of Word and Sacrament, daily and richly forgives all our sins, and the sins of all believers.[11] Until such time as we fall asleep in Him, Jesus continues to give His Church His Word in preaching, in Holy Baptism, and in the Lord’s Supper; He does this to create, sustain, strengthen and preserve us in this, the one true faith, unto life everlasting. On the Last Day, He will raise all the dead, and give eternal life to all believers in Christ.[12] Making use of these gracious gifts of Word and Sacrament which He has given to us, and receiving in them forgiveness and life, we can go in peace, come what may.

[1] Lenski, R. C. H. The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel. Columbus, OH: The Wartburg Press, 1942.
[2] Acts 22:3
[3] Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 1:22, 27
[4] Acts 3:15
[5] Colossians 1:15-18
[6] Matthew 9:5-7
[7] John 10:22-30
[8] Acts 3:11-26
[9] Acts 3:14-15
[10] John 5:28-29;
[11] Luther, Martin. Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1986.
[12] ibid.