Dr. Carl Fickenscher, Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Ind., discusses the Propers for Ascension Day and the Seventh Sunday of Easter with Pastor Todd Wilken (mp3, 57:18, 23.1 MB, 2015-May-13)
THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD
(14 May 2015)
The Ascended Lord Jesus Is with Us Always in His Church on Earth
After He rose from the dead, the Lord Jesus presented Himself alive to the apostles, “appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). When He ascended to the right hand of the Father, He did not orphan His Church, but He fills all things in heaven and on earth and gives gifts to His disciples. Even now, through His Church, He continues “to do and teach” (Acts 1:1), preaching “repentance and forgiveness of sins” (Luke 24:47), even “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Though the cloud hid Jesus from the sight of His disciples then, and He remains hidden from sight even now, He remains with His people through His Gospel and Sacraments. He comes to us by the word of His apostles, by the promise of His Father and by the power of the Holy Spirit, whom He pours out upon “the church, which is his body” (Eph. 1:22–23). In this holy, Christian Church, we bless God and worship Christ with joy, for in His Church He blesses us with forgiveness, lifts us up in His hands and seats us with Himself “in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:20).
SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
(17 May 2015)
1 John 5:9–15
Our Great High Priest Preserves Us in the Name of His Father
On the eve of His Passion, Christ Jesus intercedes for the disciples as their merciful and great High Priest. He prays that His Father would protect them “from the evil one” and preserve them in His name (John 17:11–12, 15). Along with His prayer, Christ Himself comes to the Father by His self-sacrifice upon the cross, thereby consecrating Himself for the sake of His disciples, “that they also may be sanctified in truth” (John 17:19). To that same end, He speaks to them in the world and gives them His Father’s Word, that is, Himself. His apostles, in turn, have written these things “to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). For “this life is in his Son,” whom He has given by His Word, and “whoever has the Son has life” (1 John 5:11–12). By this apostolic testimony, disciples are gathered together “with one accord,” as one Body in Christ, “devoting themselves to prayer” and waiting upon the Lord in “the upper room” of His Church on earth (Acts 1:13–14).