Rev. John J. Bombaro, Ph.D. (King’s College, University of London) is a missionary of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, serving as the Assistant Director of Theological Education at the Luther Academy, Rīga, Latvia.
Our passage from Romans steers us between these two dangerous misconceptions: The mythical monster Scylla of believing the body to be evil on the one shore, and the beast Charybdis of believing the body constitutes all there is on the other.
In the Church, the cry is, “He loves,” and it is that message which transforms our worldviews from taking to giving, from radical individualism to trans-demographic inclusivism, from selfishness to selflessness, from “tolerate my rights” to “loving rightly together.”
Peter’s monumental sermon on Pentecost declares the kingdom purposes and divine saving work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit which culminate in the new world order with Christ in charge, governing in the power of the Spirit.
If God was going to save the world, and reclaim His global kingdom, then the exiling, the confusion, the ignorance and scattering had to be ended. Pentecost signals this dramatic reversal in a spectacular way.
In the middle of the spring, on a run-of-the-mill Thursday, the ascension interrupts the mundane to herald the extraordinary: Christ is in charge and is present on earth as he is in heaven, guiding history for the sake of his church.
This pericope is not merely for the anxious, the persecuted, and the humbled. It is also for the self-reliant, confident and accomplished because at one time or another, they too will be anxious, persecuted, and humbled.
Jesus suffered for our sins. He died for us. This is the supreme example of the principle our text has been unfolding. It is all about meeting wrong with right, rendering good for evil, and answering malice with love.
You have been chosen to come out of the darkness and into this marvelous light, the light of the Resurrection. You are a people who constitute an exodus from racism, sexism, elitism, classism and now participate in a new race of human beings who are, through baptism, the foundational cure for the evils of these things in human society.
Nor can we see how God’s hand will guide us through every challenge of this life, we have to believe it. Afterwards, we see how it happened, but in the midst of challenges and trials, we walk by faith and not by sight.