John 14:2b, “I go to prepare a place for you”.
Matthew 28:20b, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
These two texts set forth in bold relief the question set forth in the catechism. If Christ ascended into heaven, “Is not Christ then with us even to the end of the world, as He hath promised? Answer, Christ is very man and very God; with respect to His human nature, He is no more on earth, but with respect to His Godhead, majesty, grace, and Spirit, He is at no time absent from us.”
The Lutherans differ from the Reformed on this answer. They believe that when Christ arose from the dead, divine qualities were transferred to His human nature, e.g. omnipresence. This explains their view of the Lord’s Supper, that Christ is literally present IN the bread and wine because His human nature is everywhere present. In contrast the Reformed teach that Christ’s human nature was changed in the ascension (glorified) but still retained the limitations common to man. The ascended Christ can be only one place at one time, he was on earth, but through the ascension is now in heaven. Christ said, “I go”, He means, I go away.
At the same time, Jesus assured His disciples that He would remain with them always. The question is, how does He remain with us? The catechism correctly answers this in two ways, first according to His divine nature He is everywhere present. This is “His Godhead”. Being personally God, Jesus also possessed all the virtues of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One of the great attributes of God is to be everywhere present. This defies our imagination, but is taught in the Bible. In the second place, Christ is with us also according to His Spirit, Whom He sends to us to abide with us. Through the Holy Spirit, He blesses us with all spiritual blessings including grace.
Even though we may answer the question posed above as yes, the ascended Christ can be in two places at one time, we still need to exercise caution. In the subsequent question and answer we are reminded that these two natures of Christ are never divided or separated. The person and divine nature is greater than the human and yet joined to it.
The ascension helps us understand our wonderful Savior.
Rev Jason Kortering (Wife: Jeannette)
Ordained: September 1960
Pastorates: Hull, IA - 1960; Hope, Walker, MI - 1966; Hull, IA - 1970; Hope, Redlands, CA - 1976; Loveland, CO - 1979; Grandville, MI - 1984; Minister-on-Loan (Hope PRC, Walker, MI), Singapore - 1992
Emeritus: 2002Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Rev._Jason_Kortering
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