Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter – I John 5:1-8

1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.

Today is not just any Thursday. It is Ascension Day, forty days after the resurrection of Jesus. If you want, you can read about that in the first chapter of the book of Acts. Many years after Jesus ascended and many years before any of us were born, Martin Luther met with another great reformed of his day, Ulrich Zwingli. This happened in the German city of Marburg. They agreed on many things but they had a sticking point on the presence of Christ. Zwingli wanted to assert that Jesus was not here, he was up in heaven. After all, we read in Luke that the Lord ascended.

Luther was adamant in his rejection of this idea. He may have called Zwingli some not very nice things at this point. Zwingli asked Luther then, “Where do you think he went?” Luther’s response was, “Into the cosmos!” Jesus did not leave, He changed the way He is present to be sure, but He did not leave. He is keeping that promise to be with us to the end of the age.

John’s first letter has largely been asserting this for the prior four chapters and today we read the upshot of the presence of Christ. We are born of God, God is in us, we are in God. And that means, because we are God’s children, we overcome the world. We are animated by His love which is the keeping of His commandment, namely to love one another.

Today, do something loving for someone. Be the presence of Christ in this world. Celebrate Ascension Day or as the Germans call it: Christi Himmelfarht.

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