Jesus teaches Heavenly Things John 3:1-15
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Though a mystery, the Triune God comes to dwell with His Church this morning in the divine liturgy. This is why the liturgy is called “Divine Service” and “Holy Mass.” God is here with His people that we may receive His forgiveness, strengthened in the holy faith and go into the world which He created as holy people, born of water and the Spirit, knowing and trusting that He is our Father in heaven and we are His beloved children here on earth. In earthly means, He creates faith and justifies us, making us holy. Faith then is not just an individual pursuit, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit that pours out grace in Baptism, the preaching and hearing of the Word and in the blessed Sacrament of the Altar. All of these things Jesus taught, instituted and gave His Apostles teaching them to do as He commanded. All of these things bring His promise to those who receive them. For Christ Jesus shows us the things that we need to look beyond the earthly things and see the heavenly things that He was sent to give His Church on earth, and in this teaching of our Lord we come to know the heavenly Father who loves us so. For whoever believes in the Son knows the Father and the Son of Man is lifted up so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
In the Gospel lesson for the Day of Pentecost we see that the Holy Spirit teaches His Church all things. He teaches the Church the words of the Lord who calls on us to keep His Word in the face of all opposition – from inside and outside of the Church. When the Church loses sight of the heavenly things, she becomes enslaved to earthly things. We are indeed flesh born of flesh. Yet Jesus teaches us that that which is born of Spirit is spirit. He guides us with His Spirit, which we received in Holy Baptism, to hear, learn, and keep His Word, to gather with His saints in heavenly worship, and to live godly lives here. In the Spirit, we are born anew with the hope of eternal life and we can see and enter the kingdom of God. We can see that Jesus came down from heaven, though being from all eternity with the Father and the Spirit. We can see that He taught with authority as one who even the unbelievers said that God was with Him. He brought teaching of the kingdom of God and showed this kingdom to them in Himself – teaching the Gospel, healing the sick, raising the dead. He was lifted up on the cross for us and our salvation and crushed the power of the serpent over us, making atonement for all sin, and making possible for us the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. He ascended into heaven. Christ still teaches His Church in the holy writings, the law, prophets and psalms, in the writings of the Apostles and Evangelists, keeping us in this holy faith. Only in Christ are we born again, our eyes opened to the Scriptures and in the breaking of the bread. Like Nicodemus, we ask, “How can these things be?” Jesus answers,”We speak what We know and testify what We have seen.” If we are to believe the heavenly things that Jesus teaches then we must also believe the earthly things He teaches. In Jesus we receive the witness of the heavenly Father by the Spirit. As He knows and testifies to us so we hear and receive His witness and, though sinners, we see the kingdom of God. As He has come down from heaven so He will bring us up to heaven. Once again we taste of these heavenly things at the altar. He is given all authority in heaven and on earth, and reigns together with the Father and the Spirit, one God, forever blessed. Amen.