- Name: Rev. Geoffrey A. Wagner
- Occupation: Pastor [LCMS]
- Location: Elizabeth, CO
- Quote: I always recall one from C. S. Lewis: ...[It] is not the remembered but the forgotten past that enslaves us.
- More Info: Read here
You know it’s coming, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You’ve dealt with the pain for far too long, and nothing you’ve done has been able to settle it. It’s time to have it taken care of. The appointment was made, and good for you it is same-day. You arrive, are ushered to the back. There’s a pinch. Your breath-rate increases as you hear it; the whine of the drill. Finally, the cavity is being filled. It’s agonizing and unpleasant, but you know the end result will be good; in a little while, the pain will be gone, and you will be able return to normal oral activity.
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.
What a strange text for this evening; today, we celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord, and today’s Gospel lesson mentions the Ascension only in passing: “So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.” We get almost nothing with regard to what it meant for Jesus to ascend into heaven and sit down at the right hand of God.
These last three weeks we have been jumping around through the 16th chapter of St. John’s Gospel. It’s the day of Jesus’ betrayal into the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes; the day He will celebrate His last supper with His disciples. Jesus is preparing His disciples for the time that He will no longer be with them and His church as He had in the three or so years since His baptism. While He will soon be taken from them to be crucified and die for their sins and the sins of the world and on the third day rise again—events which on a few occasions He had told them would happen—Jesus’ tenor would indicate that what He is referring to this time is something different.