Easter 5—Cantate (Jn 16, 5–15)

Photo by Zachary Keimig on Unsplash

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

᛭ INI ᛭

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

That’s a great summary of Christ’s work: risen from the dead! But now in these last few weeks of Easter we shift our attention in anticipation of Pentecost. We focus on different aspects of the Holy Spirit. We do this by listening to Jesus in John 16. (We do this thematically rather than chronologically, which is why we take John 16 out of order.)

Anyway, focusing on the Spirit, causes us to focus on His relationship with Jesus. It also gets us to focus on the Spirit’s work and how His work relates to Jesus’ work.

Jesus and the Spirit are one. Jesus is the eternal Son of the Father, and the Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father and the Son, being the bond and unity of their love. That is how they relate to one another, but what does this have to do with you?

When you look at how Jesus and the Spirit relate to each other, and when you look at what they do, we find that it has everything to do with you and your salvation.

THE SPIRIT’S WORK IS TO GLORIFY AND DELIVER CHRIST AND HIS WORK TO YOU.

((I. All that Christ did, He did FOR YOU.))

Before we can get to the Spirit’s work, we need to look at Christ’s work first, because it’s that work that the Spirit is glorifying and delivering.

All that Christ did, He did FOR YOU. That’s why He was sent, not for His own benefit but yours. In John Jesus talks continually about His Father as “the one who sent Me.” He was “begotten of His Father before all worlds,” but also “conceived by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary.” “In the fullness of time God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law that we might recieve adoption as sons.”

He was sent to die: The Father “gave up His only begotten Son.” Jesus confesses this, too, by saying “I am going to the one who sent Me.” He goes to Him in two ways.

First, His death: “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.” Jesus became the “true rock of salvation,” “struck for the sins of His people.” He is the true “well of salvation.” “Immediately blood and water flowed out.”

Second, Jesus goes to His Father at His Ascension—”seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.” There Jesus fulfills John’s vision as the eternal fountain of salvation, the eternal source of the river of the water of life. This second, “going away,” confesses that Jesus will rise from the dead.

Jesus work continues now. He sends the Spirit! The Spirit “will receive from Me and will declare it to you.” Or as Jesus says in John 15, something will consider more in a couple weeks, “I will send Him to You from My Father.”

((Transition.))

Everything Jesus does. He does FOR YOU. We mustn’t forget this. It’s of eternal importance. No matter the line of the Creed, each line can be followed with “for us,” “for you,” “for me,” “for each,” “for all.” The Nicene Creed is explicit about this, but it’s true of any Creed, even the Te Deum! “Suffered under Pontius Pilate” for us. “Crucified, died, and was buried” for us. “On the third day He rose again from the dead” for us. “He ascended into heaven” for us. I’ll stop there to keep it short, but you get the idea.

That Jesus sends the Spirit and that He says, “I still have much to tell you,” lets us know that there’s even more to the FOR YOU, for us. It’s not only that all that Jesus did He did for you. It’s all that Jesus has (His mercy, His love, His forgiveness), He as them for you. In fact, that’s not even. It’s better than that! All that Christ has, He delivers TO YOU.

((II. All that Christ has, He delivers TO YOU.))

Jesus delivers Himself and His Work. That’s His ongoing work. He does this delivery through the Word! Not just any word: the Word of the Gospel. The message that I just told you! “All that Christ did, He did FOR YOU.” Christ uses the ministry of the Word of the Gospel to do it. (Words need a preacher.) Baptism and the Supper need someone to deliver them. Now, that gets us to the work of the Spirit.

The Spirit receives from Jesus, the eternal Son, and then He delivers it. He takes Jesus’ Word, His cross-won forgiveness, His empty-tomb eternal life, and He delivers it to you. Announces it! Preaches it! Through the ministers He does. “How can they believe in Him of whom they’ve never heard? And how can they hear without a preacher?” (Rom 10) As Jesus Himself says to His ministers: “As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you. (Jn 20)”

“That we would obtain [saving faith in Jesus], the Office of preaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted [by Jesus], for through the Word and Sacraments, as through tools, the Holy Spirit creates faith, where and when it pleases God, in those who hear the Gospel, [the good news] that they are received into [God’s] favor for Christ’s sake alone. (Augsburg Confession V)”

That’s the Spirit’s work. You can’t find His work anywhere else. “But that’s all stuff about Jesus!” Why would you expect anything else? “He will glorify Me,” Jesus says, “for He will take from Me and declare it to you.” We need to repent of seeing the Spirit’s work as separate from Jesus, and trying to see the Spirit working, moving apart from Christ’s Word and gifts. Repent of quenching, stifling, hindering the Spirit by avoiding the tools He uses: reading your Bible, hearing Sermons, receiving Absolution, forgiving one another, the Supper of Jesus’ body and blood.

Anything that glorifies the Holy Spirit, or puts His work forward as more important, is the wrong spirit to look for—“the spirit of the antichrist. (1 Jn 2)” The Holy Spirit isn’t found in your feelings. The Spirit is found wherever Jesus is glorified. The Spirit isn’t in those so-called “spiritual gifts” (tongues, for example), something that’s only been around slightly longer than our congregations. The Spirit’s preachers, preach Christ. They preach His Gospel. They deliver His Sacraments the way Jesus gave them. The teach those Sacraments the same way Jesus taught them, even through His Apostles’ whom Jesus inspired with the Spirit to write the New Testament.

((Conclusion.))

All of this glorifies Christ. That’s the true work of the Spirit. He glorifies Christ in the preaching of the Gospel. He delivers Christ in that Gospel. He glorifies Christ in the Sacraments of Christ. The Spirit delivers Christ in those Gifts. The Spirit through the Gospel and through the Sacraments makes sure that you, yes you, receive from Jesus all that Jesus did for you. After all,

THE SPIRIT’S WORK IS TO GLORIFY AND DELIVER CHRIST AND HIS WORK TO YOU.

Everything Jesus did, He did for you. Crucified, died, buried, raised. Everything Jesus has (salvation, mercy, love, forgiveness), Jesus delivers to you. He uses the Spirit to do it. ANd the Spirit does it through Jesus’ Word and Sacraments. The Bible, true Gospel preaching, Baptism, Absolution, and the Supper of Jesus’ body and blood are all spirit-filled. When we magnify the gifts, we magnify Christ, and thereby the Spirit’s at work.

THE SPIRIT’S WORK IS TO GLORIFY AND DELIVER CHRIST AND HIS WORK TO YOU.

That’s exactly what Jesus said. It’s exactly what Jesus does—FOR YOU. The Spirit’s done that work for you: at the Font, in the Absolution, in the Words of the Bible, in the Words of the Gospel, at the Supper of Jesus’ body and blood—“the words along with the bodily eating and drinking are the main thing in the Sacrament.” Jesus died for you, and in those ways the Spirit has delivered it from Jesus to you. Whether you feel it or not—it’s true!

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

᛭ INI ᛭

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