Ps. 29; Isaiah 6:1-8; Acts 2:14a, 22-36; John 3:1-17.
Saved, For God did not send the Son into the world in order to condemn the world. Rather, [he sent the Son] so that the world might be saved through him (v. 17).
For John the Evangelist, Jesus’ elevation on the cross is the glory shared with the Father before the foundation of the world. Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension to The Ancient of Days (Dan. 7:13,14) is singular exultation and kingdom content.
God’s love of creation orders and governs his reign in Jesus’ sacrificial death. Forgiveness through that death, deems us righteous before God; we are made holy in his Baptism; newly begotten in water and Spirit, “holy (perfect) as he is holy” (Mt. 5:48).
Nicodemus inquired; “How can a man be born when he is old?”, thus putting Jesus’ baptism into play (Jn. 3:4a). Jesus explained the Spirit’s work of in-breathing as voice of Christ (v. 8). The upshot, one must be begotten of the Father by water and the Spirit (v. 5) as the first creation (Gen. 1:1-3; 2:7).
So, what’s the new creation point; sin and holiness, each an agent of separation. The Festival of The Holy Trinity heads-up “the Time of The Church”, that celebrates God, wholly other; yet joined to his creation in the man Jesus. God is separate from all that is profane, common, and unclean; Baptism separates to cleanliness.
Man, made in the “image and likeness of God” (Gen. 1:27), was united with his Maker in holiness for dominion; but sin also separates. Sinners separated from Source of life are dead. Death is separation from God, a condition, we are unable to reverse; how does one claw back to heaven to possess rejected holiness? It would seem death is permanent.
Holinesses from the common, profane, and unclean, is peculiar to God. Since the Fall we are conceived in sin (Ps. 51:2) so by nature impious and unable to achieve holiness of ourselves. Holiness must be gift of the One who alone is holy, our on-going celebration through the remainder of this “Time of The Church”.
On the cross, Jesus looked on his mother, whom he calls “Woman” and on the “his beloved disciple”. To the woman, “[B]ehold, your son!”; to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” (Jn. 19:26, 27). Thirsting, Jesus drank the vinegar of “wild grapes” from Israel’s faithless harvest (v. 29; cf. Isa. 5:2c).
The woman and disciple beheld Jesus’ passion, as picture of the church’s Word and Baptism. The woman and disciple beheld God’s glory in the Son’s death, through whom we have new life and holiness by new wine; the “chief” of Jesus’ signs (Jn. 2:10, 11).
Jesus’ work “complete” (19:30) handed the Spirit to the Father for life of his church. Ascending to the Father (20:17) Easter morning, Jesus then presented to his brothers delivering the church’s patrimony to the Apostles, the HS for reception of the New Covenant in his blood.
Breathing on his Apostles, he commanded, “Receive the HS” (v. 22) for the holy things of his sacrificial death: “the Spirit, the water, and the blood” (1 Jn. 5:8); the Triune’s baptismal gift for the church.
Today Peter concludes his Pentecost Sermon, proclaiming the church’s new existence from her thrice-holy Godhead in the new place of worship Presence; the flesh of the Son through the HS.
When the crowd heard Peter, many believed, and being bereft, asked, “What shall we do?” Peter responded, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the HS. For the promise is for you and for your children…” (Acts 2:37-39).
Others reject the gift; attesting the mystery of evil and the cross’ judgment; if rejection is irrational, nonetheless it is demonstrable. In the wilderness Israel rebelled against their Savior-God; judgment devolved from fiery serpent bites.
All sinned; none were guiltless, any more than you or I. Graciously, God extended an option to imminent death; look on the elevated bronze serpent by Moses, and live; refuse, and die; for unbelief of God’s Word many died (Num. 21:6, 9).
Jesus answered Nicodemus about new birth in old age: salvation, as with the ancient Israelites, is a new begetting, “[J]ust as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, in this way it is necessary that the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes might in him have eternal life” (Jn. 3:14, 15).
Judgment occurs at the cross; look-up for salvation as the woman and disciple, and live; refuse, holding Jesus’ crucifixion of no account, and die. Here is evil’s mystery: those refusing to look on the Light, prefer the darkness (v. 19); it is inexplicable.
The church is community in the Way possessing the holy things of Christ’s death in which there is Spirit and Life. God in Christ has put death to death; new life comes in our fidelity to these gifts where God has placed his Name.
Baptized sinners hear Jesus’ word, voice of the Spirit. In faith of that Word, we receive, on unclean lips eucharistic coals, the holy things of Jesus’ death, his sacrificial flesh and blood for restoration to God’s holiness.
By these holy things of the cross, we discern that God inquires, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Beyond OT prophets Jesus’ NT priesthood responds, “Here am I! Send me” (Isa. 6:8). Amen.