Lent 2 Saturday
“No one ascends to heaven except he who descended from heaven, namely, the Son of Man who is in heaven.”
Reason cannot accept this strange way of talking so as to perceive how these things fit together: descending and being on high at the same time, and ascending again and always having been on high. This cannot enter into any man’s heart or thought, 1 Corinthians 2:9. “It is impossible,” says reason, “that “descending from heaven” and “nevertheless remaining on high” could be true at the same time.” This is why we Christians are exceedingly foolish people that we believe something that is impossible, which directly militates against reason…If others do not want to believe this, let them go their way…We must stick with the testimony Jesus Christ, God’s Son, brought down with him from heaven. We must believe this testimony, which is also what the Christians do…Descending here means that the one who never left his Father’s side was sent by the Father into the world. And the Son who remained in heaven became man as Mary’s son…And he did not only come into the flesh, but also descended into death, the tomb, even into hell. Yet at the same time, as a mighty God, he not only was and remained here on earth but also in heaven. For no place or location can comprehend the divinity completely, as it is written in the prophet Isaiah, 66:1, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.” And the same also ascended again to heaven, while he at the same time was seated at the right hand of God, his heavenly Father, without interruption. In fact, according to the divine nature, he remained there forever, while he at the same time was revealed here on earth and appeared in person and bodily as a man who had taken on body and soul like we, who was crucified, given vinegar for drink; who was buried; who died; who descended into hell, while he does not lose anything in terms of his divine nature. There no other person who is called God, who was God from eternity, than the one who assumed the human nature. And so there is one Son, the Son of God and Mary, and when he is born of the virgin, he assumes human sonship from the mother. Reason cannot comprehend this, but we must believe it, and Holy Scripture testifies that Christ is true God and also became a natural man. This is why both are true: He remained on high forever. And he descended without any change or alteration of the divine nature, assuming sonship from the mother…Now, since there is only one Son, there cannot be two sons. Rather, the one Son descended and ascended and remained on high. This is why it can be said correctly that God’s Son descended and ascended, although descending took place only according to the human nature. But since the two natures are in the indivisible person of Christ, the properties of the human nature are ascribed also to the divine nature…We distinguish the natures like we distinguish body and soul, but the one person remains. Accordingly, Christ did not suffer for us only with his body and soul, but also as God’s Son, as we confess in the Creed…We did not ascend to heaven. But the one who descended, ascended, and remained on high–that is Christ. What, then, should we do? Should we despair? No, for he shows us the way by which we are to ascend, John 14:6. And he explains why he came into the world and how he prepared a sure and good bridge on which we can ascend to heaven without danger. And that bridge is himself. He explains the ascending, descending, and remaining on high in the following verse, saying that these things did not happen without reason. For “just as Moses raised up a serpent in the desert, so the Son of Man must be raised up, so that all who believe in him, will not be lost, but have the eternal life,” John 3:14.