The Ascension of Our Lord
June 2 & 3, 2019
Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
It is written: 19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
The Ascension of Our Lord has a lot to do with power. Oh if we only had power over death. Life is much better than death. The struggle for life against death even makes for a good movie, Such as the Marvel movies that are so popular right now. Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, and Spiderman are a few of the Marvel characters that fight against the bad guys.
Thanos Reigns in the Infinity Wars
Infinity Wars and Endgame are the two the biggest Marvel movies of last year. Together they are the epic battle between Thanos and all the Marvel characters. Here is a quick recap.
Thanos is the bad guy. He has a glove called the Infinity Gauntlet which has a place to put each of six Infinity Stones. Each Infinity Stone holds immense power. Thanus is on a quest to get his hands on all six. Each Infinity Stone requires Thanus to do something awful before the stone will give itself up to Thanos. For example, Thanos had to drop his adopted daughter off a cliff to get the Soul Stone.
But the result? Receiving that power nearly kills Thanos himself but gives him the power to manipulate souls. One stone closer to having all six. And then ultimate power over life and death through the universe.
What does Thanos want to do with all this power?
Thanos wants the power over life and death. He can snap his fingers and immediately half the population turns to dust and blows away. Not even all the Marvel characters, the good guys, can stop Thanos.
Wanna know a quirky fact? Wanna know the connection between Thanos and the Ascension of Jesus Christ? Thanos is a Greek word. It is appropriately used as a name for this character. Thanos is death. Thanos is the bad guy. The Marvel characters are fighting against death.
And so are you, aren’t you? The real Thanus, death himself, has power to turn all people and all living creatures to dust.
And Death Reigns In Our Lives, Too
Death is the last enemy of God to be defeated. It is said there is nothing certain in this world except taxes - and death. Positive thinking does not weaken death. Diet and exercise doesn’t not prevent death.
Last week was Memorial Day. We remembered in prayer all the soldiers who died in active duty and we gave thanks to God for what they gave to protect us. This Saturday we will have a Memorial service for Connie. We will remember how the Lord blessed her and will give thanks for the blessing she was to so many people including this congreg
The Ascension Of Jesus Is The Death Of Death
The World is defeated in the death of Jesus.
Satan is defeated in the resurrection of Jesus.
And now it is written, “after the Lord had spoken to (His disciples), He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).
Jesus is ascended that His last enemy - thanos/death. Jesus now exercises greater power than death. Jesus has all power over death. Death can no longer snap his fingers whenever he wants. Death is subject to Jesus.
Jesus is ascended to exercise His power over death in heaven and earth. Our Father gives Jesus to sit at His right hand. The right hand seat of God is not place but a position of authority and responsibility. It is one thing to have power. It is another thing to correctly use that power. Our Father gave Jesus this power and our Father gives Jesus the permission to use this power in heaven - and among us on earth. When the Creeds say that Jesus ascended and is seated at the right hand of God, that does not mean Jesus is far away from you but just the opposite. Jesus exercises all power even on earth. Jesus humbly exercises all-power to save you from death through a spoken Word; a splash of water; eating and drink bread and wine. Such non-powerful tools to exert such all-powerful strength.
Jesus Is Near To You In All Power
It is written, “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs (Mark 16:20).
Jesus did not send out His disciples alone. Jesus goes with His disciples and not as a back seat driver. Rather, Jesus is with His disciples with all the power of God. Jesus not only sends out the first disciples to preach. Jesus continues to send out disciples to preach everywhere, even here in Muscatine, IA. And Jesus is confirming the preached Word with accompanying signs.
Holy baptism is one sign that accompanies the preached Word. A sign that is more than a sign, isn’t it. Jesus gives the name of the Triune God to you in baptism. In Baptism you are buried in the death of Jesus and given the Holy Name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Baptism you receive life, even eternal life.
Holy Communion is the other sign that accompanies the preached Word. A sign that is more than a sign. Jesus’ living body, the body that once hung on the cross, is given for you to eat and to drink - Life. Holy Communion is the promise also for your body, that should die you will be raised incorruptible.
Jesus’ Power Is For You
Think about that for a moment. We don’t gather this morning as polite society singing quaint hymns of yesteryear. We gather together before the Ascended Lord to receive the power of life today as well as forevermore. That is a lot of power. But the power is not yours to do what you want with it. The power of Jesus is to live before God in faith and before others in love.
The Real Thanos Is Defeated
What next? One option is this. Give thanks to God that Jesus has power over death. Thanos is defeated not by Marvel characters but by the Son of God who is Jesus Christ our Savior. Thank you Jesus; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God, which passes understanding, will keep you, body and soul, in Christ Jesus, our Savior. Amen.