Photo by Arthur Savary on Unsplash
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
“Because I live you will live also.”
INI + AMEN.
Jesus makes Pentecost promises. He makes His Pentecost promises to you. “The Father will give you another Helper,” He says. That’s the Spirit. But you won’t just have the Spirit, you’ll have Jesus, too, because in the coming of the Spirit you also have Jesus. “I will come to you,” Jesus promises. We rejoice today because of His final promise, “Because I live, you will live also.”
Jesus promises the Spirit. He also promises what the Spirit will do. He also promises what He will do you for you. Jesus makes big promises on Pentecost. They’re promises that fill us with peace and hope. His promises aren’t empty. He will do them. He really will. His last one is the best one for today, for everyday of our lives, really:
YOU WILL LIVE BECAUSE JESUS LIVES.
((I. This means you’ll rise from the dead.))
“Because I live you will live also” means that you will rise from the dead. YOU WILL LIVE BECAUSE JESUS LIVES. “He is risen indeed! Alleluia!” Not even death itself will keep you down. No cancer, no bad heart, no accident, no nothing will keep you dead because Jesus isn’t dead anymore! In His own suffering and death, Jesus swallowed up all our sufferings that are just a preview of our death. He came back to life and left His burial clothes and tomb behind to show us that we will leave our graves and caskets behind when we get up and walk out of them just like Jesus did.
“Because I live you will live also,” is Jesus’ promise, and He delivered that promise to you in your Baptism. It’s a never-ending promise. In Holy Baptism you were made a “fellow heir with Christ,” as Paul says in our Epistle Reading. You were united with Christ, with His death, and with His resurrection, too. Now, you’re a child of God, an heir of eternal life. You will be glorified with Jesus, raised from the dead! YOU WILL LIVE BECAUSE JESUS LIVES.
And when you’re risen from the dead, you will see Jesus. You will be with Him, in His Father’s Kingdom forever. Jesus promises that, too. “You will see me,” He says. Face to face you’ll see Him. You’ll see His wounds, and you’ll rejoice forever that He was wounded for you just so you could be there with Him. “Worthy is Christ the Lamb who was slain!” That’s how He will “manifest Himself to you.” He will come again in glory and reveal Himself for all to see as your Savior who’s always loved you, who loves you, and who will love forever.
That all sounds great and all, but there are times where this falls a bit flat, doesn’t it? We believe it, and then we don’t. We trust it, but yet we wonder. We struggle with doubt and unbelief.
We hear Jesus’ promises about the eternal life, about the resurrection from the dead, but when we look at our experiences in this life, the struggles and the bad things that happen, we shrug off the promises, and think, “So what?”
Yeah, we know that we’ll end up standing in Christ’s presence forever, but that’s a hard pill to swallow when the here and now can sometimes be pretty terrible. Maybe we start to wonder if Jesus really does love us. He says He does, but that’s some future thing, and in the meantime it seems as if we’re on the receiving end of something other than His love. “Maybe I just don’t love Him enough…”
((II. In the meantime, Jesus doesn’t abandon us.))
Repent of all that. Jesus really does love you. He shed His blood and died for all your doubt and unbelief. For your not loving Him He loved you to the end. For your doubting His dying-on-the-cross-for-you love, well, that’s what He died for. He really does love you.
And in the meantime, until He will fully keep His promise, “because I live you will live also,” He doesn’t abandon. Yes, there’s bad stuff that happens. We don’t have to like it. Jesus doesn’t like it! It’s another reason He died and rose! And so He continually makes His promise to you over and over and over again. He doesn’t want you to forget it. He wants you to cherish it, to believe it, to hang on to it. “Because I live you will live also.”
He does give you the other Helper, the Spirit. “He dwells with you and will be in you.” He prays for you when you don’t know what to pray. You have the Spirit “to be with you forever.” Jesus comes to you, too. He won’t leave you “as an orphan.” You aren’t an orphan. You’re baptized, and so Jesus blesses you, like He promised to “Judah and Jerusalem” in our Joel reading.
Here He “restore our fortunes,” which are His gifts and His promises. We “keep,” which means, we “cherish” or “guard” or “cling to”, what He’s done for us and told us. And so He “manifests Himself to” us. He reveals Himself to us. He comes to us. He will on the Last Day of course, but He gives us a preview of that, a foretaste in the Supper of His body and blood.
We love Him, what He’s done for us, what He gives to us, and so we not only have His “commandment,” we “cherish” it: “Eat, drink—My body and blood, given and shed for you.” And Jesus promises, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will resurrect Him on the Last Day.” Or as He simply puts it today: “Because I live you will live also.”
Jesus makes Pentecost promises. He makes His Pentecost promises to you. “Because I live, you will live also.” Sometimes that’s all we’ve got. But He’s true to His promises no matter what. YOU WILL LIVE BECAUSE JESUS LIVES. You really will. He’s promised. He’ll do it. He doesn’t make empty promises. You’ll rise from the dead. His Font and His Body and Blood say so.
In the meantime, we cling to those things. We cherish them, love them, keep them. We love Him and what He’s done. There’s no need to reject Him and His gifts. To use up others for our own gain to cope with our problems, like the nations used up Judah and Jerusalem in Joel.
“Because I live you will live also” means that you will rise from the dead. YOU WILL LIVE BECAUSE JESUS LIVES. Not even death itself will keep you down. No cancer, no bad heart, no accident, no nothing will keep you dead because Jesus isn’t dead anymore! You’re in on that. You’ve got the Spirit, you’re baptized. You’re a fellow heir with Jesus, and He promises: “Eat, drink—My body and blood, given and shed for you” “because I live you will live also.”
INI + AMEN.