This week we will be discussing the Resurrection and Ascension as set forth in the last third of the second article of the Creed. Please read Chapter 6 “He Ascended . . . and Will Come Again” of Luke Timothy Johnson’s The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why it Matters. Also, please read 1 Corinthians 15 where Paul provides us with a beautiful understanding of the significance and nature of Jesus’ Resurrection.
The paradigm that this portion of the Creed adopts is that of Jesus as a victorious conquering King. Jesus was defeated and put to death by the powers of this world. But in the Resurrection, he reverses the loss and the death sentence, and defeats death itself. He is victorious. In the Ascension, he is elevated to a position of kingly power and authority and comes to share in the power and the authority of God the Father himself. As Martin Luther puts it in his Large Catechism:
But what is it to become Lord? It is this, that He has redeemed me from sin, from the devil, from death, and all evil. For before I had no Lord nor King, but was captive under the power of the devil, condemned to death, enmeshed in sin and blindness. . . . Those tyrants and jailers, then, are all expelled now, and in their place has come Jesus Christ, Lord of life, righteousness, every blessing, and salvation, and has delivered us poor lost men from the jaws of hell, has won us, made us free, and brought us again into the favor and grace of the Father, and has taken us as His own property under His shelter and protection, that He may govern us by His righteousness, wisdom, power, life, and blessedness. . . . And after that He rose again from the dead, swallowed up and devoured death, and finally ascended into heaven and assumed the government at the Father’s right hand, so that the devil and all powers must be subject to Him and lie at His feet, until finally, at the last day, He will completely part and separate us from the wicked world, the devil, death, sin, etc.
So as we read through this part of the Creed, do not look at its affirmation as simply conveying historical facts. Rather read it within the mythic language of the Creed we discussed last week, which thereby allows us to see and understand the very present reality of Jesus’ victory in which we all share.
Dinner is at 6. Menu is chicken and mushrooms. Discussion at 6:45. Hope to see you here.
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 15:54-57