Greetings in Jesus Christ!
Jesus died, and Jesus rose! And then, for the next 40 days…
Jesus’ cross and Jesus’ empty tomb are the center of our faith, but the New Testament story of Jesus’ saving work does not end with that first Easter morning.
“He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3 ESV). Luke also records that the risen Jesus spoke to two men from Emmaus about the Gospel, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27 ESV). And again, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:44–45 ESV).
What a joyous task we have been given — as a Seminary, as pastors and deaconesses, and as Christ’s church — to continue this life-giving work begun by Jesus immediately after His resurrection victory. To proclaim the Easter message with conviction: “Christ has triumphed! He is living!” And to teach others all that the Scriptures say concerning Jesus, His saving work, His kingdom and His will. The Gospel-centered teaching work of Jesus during the 40 days after His resurrection will be continued to the end of the world! It is the work we are privileged to continue, with Jesus’ help, at our seminaries, in our congregations and in our missionary and evangelism efforts in our own communities and around the world. Thanks be to God!
When those wondrous 40 days came to an end, our triumphant Lord ascended into heaven, right before the wondering disciples’ eyes, until He was hidden by a cloud. That Jesus ascended into heaven is also a great joy and comfort to us today. Jesus has not abandoned us, but has taken up His dominion and reign, ruling over all things for the good of His people. He is continually speaking to God the Father on our behalf, interceding for us. And Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us, an eternal city where we will dwell with Him, in joy and peace, forever.
Jesus Christ — dying for you, rising again for you, teaching for you, ascending for you, reigning for you, praying for you, preparing a place for you. What love He has for us! What power He wields for us! What plans He has for us!
As we reach Commencement and the end of another academic year, we rejoice to be disciples of Jesus, taught by our Lord. And we rejoice to participate in preparing servants of Jesus who will serve the church and the world by bearing witness to “what is said in all the Scriptures concerning him!” We are so thankful for you, our alumni!
In Christ’s love,
Dr. Thomas J. Egger