Gen. 1:1—2:4a; Ps. 8; Acts 2:14a, 22-36; Matthew 28:16-20.
Begetting, These, are the begetting of the heavens and the earth when they were created… (v. 2:4a).
In the beginning God established shapeless, primordial stuff in a watery deep, devoid of order. Over this cosmic chaos hovered the HS awaiting God’s word. With stuff of creation, a time-space continuum existed alongside heaven’s eternal.
In the course of time God spoke by his Son. At his word the Spirit breathed his voice into the dark lifeless broth, “and there was light” (v. 3); thus, began God’s creative begetting in the world.
The first creation describes an enveloping union of sky and earth. God’s begetting is followed through six days, when man and woman were fashioned in his image for rule in the creation witnessing God’s goodness and holiness.
If you wish to know the character of the Creator-God, it translates into mankind’s physicality out of that which was void, shapeless, and empty. Our intended nature is revealed in man and woman’s body and spirit. Instead by sin man became agent of Satan’s deconstruction of God’s “good” creation; a return to lawless disorder.
To go against one’s given nature is illogical and necessarily self-destructive. But here we are, inheritors of Adam’s sin, born to doubt God’s love for us rather choosing to believe our end is death and decay, “a place of [our] own” apart from God with his church (cf. Acts 1:25).
On account of mankind, the first creation was cursed; but not the man and woman, still “elections have consequences”. By sin, the marriage of sky and earth, and the generations of mankind to the present, have steadily been on trajectory to destruction and chaos (Gen. 3:17-19).
Mankind, bereft of God’s Spirit, vainly searches for identity independent of God; all the while living in denial of purpose and fear of end. We conclude with Protagoras, that, “man is the measure of all things…”; good luck with that.
Human wisdom deceives of our identity; we are like Oedipus the King, believing himself enlightened savior of the city. In truth Oedipus, having unwittingly killed his father and taking his wife as queen, was cause of curse. When the truth of incest and curse was manifest, Oedipus plucked-out his eyes to walk the world in darkness.
In the course of deconstructed decay, God spoke his word into our dark condition, insinuating the Light of another revelation and wisdom, a more gracious truth against man’s insistent return to the dust of death; a new begetting in a new creation from above by Son and Spirit (Jn. 3:5, 7).
This Festival day heads-up “The Time of The Church”; appropriately, we celebrate God’s grace in a new time-eternity continuum of the new creation. The Holy Trinity is from everlasting to everlasting, unchangeable; and yet in Christ, by the Spirit there is revelation of God’s character in the physicality of Jesus. God is love (1 Jn. 4:7, 8) possessing a heart that is dynamic and responsive toward the “apple of [his] eye” (Ps. 17:8).
Observe the trinitarian dynamic of Love from our Gospel. Jesus, crucified and risen Lord, gathered his Apostles to a mountain in Galilee of the Gentiles; although they worshipped him, “some doubted” (Mt. 28:17). Doubted what?
In context his command to go into all the nations to baptize and teach. Apostolic doubt was against the wisdom of being sent to the Gentiles, the nations. Such charge they knew was way beyond their abilities, true enough; but what they failed to comprehend was true identity, both of Jesus and themselves as core NT church with Jesus as Lord in these last days.
Like “doubting Thomas”, who adamantly rejected Jesus’ real resurrection presence and so his command to feed at the Holy Supper (see Sermon, Lent 5A), now some Apostles doubted his command to extend universal salvation “to all nations”.
Jesus assured the “worshipping” apostolic doubters, declaring, he has been given God’s authority and would be with them always (vv. 18, 20). In Christ, and only in Christ, “all things are possible” (19:26).
Jesus is God’s beloved Son, baptized Lamb, true Israel, replacing OT disobedient and faithless Israel brought out of Egypt (Ex. 4:22, 23); thus, Matthew assigns to Jesus the word of Hosea, “[O]ut of Egypt I called my [S]on” (Mt. 2:15b; Hos. 11:1c).
Not only does Jesus, as Man, stand before the Father, true Israel, true Son; neither is he alone. In union with his apostolic church he is with true Israel with new Israel in our physicality of Baptism into Christ’s death and resurrection.
Jesus, having “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Mt. 28:18b) sends his church into the world to bear his resurrected wounds that vindicating his rejected word and flesh on the cross. As God’s Son, Jesus is not only Crucified Messiah, but importantly for his church, our Risen “Lord”.
Love’s dynamic requires the church’s response as well; she no longer comprehends the first creation’s “Elohim”; nor ancient Israel’s covenant “YHWH”. For you and I, new Israel in Christ, God’s Name whom we bear is “Father” and “Lord”. The HS is no longer Spirit of Christ, but “Lord” who has proceeded to the church. By the Athanasian Creed we confess, “So the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Spirit is Lord; and yet there are not three Lords, but one Lord”.
Love does not change God’s character; but love’s dynamic changes the Triune Name to include the Baptized; as church we possess the name of our Lord; we are “new Israel”.
By sin and curse from false gods, like Oedipus, men walk the world blind to our identity in Christ; rather than being blessing to the heavens and the earth, our sins and unbelief continues to curse.
But God sent his Son, by the Spirit’s hovering, whose voice spoke to Mary’s ear. By that begetting, heaven for nine months resided in Mary’s womb fulfilling Eve’s office, “mother of all living” (Gen. 3:20). By the fruit of Mary’s womb, the divinity of God’s Son was knit into the fabric of her flesh. Thus, God’s ordering Light entered the world to overcome sin’s deconstruction in new creation.
At his Baptism Jesus received the HS. Word and Wisdom would work the mighty works of God, bringing about for men a new sonship begotten from above, joined to Jesus in the gift of the Spirit.
On the cross, Jesus, our sin bearer, at the Father’s will offered himself for the sin of the world. For a time, Jesus abandoned by God, was sub-human, emptied and formless (Ps. 22: 6, 14; cf. Isa. 53:2b, c). On the cross Jesus’ flesh was the primordial stuff of God’s new creation.
Still Jesus’ plea, “Father, forgive them…” (Luke 23:34) impeled God to his own character: Light, Love, and fidelity to his Word extant in his Son’s physicality for the new heavens and earth. Our Eucharistic participation with Jesus’ crucified and risen flesh out of the grave is essence of the church’s apostolic worship and Jesus’ sending to the nations.
On Easter day, God revealed Jesus, his new Adam, calling to mind the David’s prophesy, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you” (Ps. 2:7); overcoming Satan’s wiles, temptations of sin, and the dust of death. Now Jesus’ risen flesh is the Fruit, formerly denied mankind, but now availed from the Tree of Life.
This festival of The Holy Trinity we return to St. Matthew’s opening verse, “The book of the begetting of Jesus Christ...” (Mt. 1:1a; Ps. 2:7) in whom we have our begetting from above. Amen.