Five in one: encounters with Jesus
Their boldness brought them before the same judges who had already executed their Master. But this did not deter Peter and John. Why? And what does this have to do with us today?
The divine service in Manza (Zambia) on 27 June 2017 began with these questions. Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider found the answers in Acts 4: 13: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marvelled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”
Peter and John followed the example of Jesus, the Chief Apostle said. They had been together with Him, had heard Him teach, and had witnessed His suffering and His miracles. “That is why they were full of courage. They knew Jesus is stronger than death.” Today too we have the possibility to be together with Jesus, the Chief Apostle said: “In every divine service we have an encounter with Jesus.”
Hearing the voice of Jesus
Of course the sermon is delivered by a human being. And humans make mistakes and sometimes also voice their own opinion. Not everything we hear from the altar is God’s word. “But through the Holy Spirit we can discern the voice of Jesus Christ in the weak man, ‘Listen, he is preaching the gospel now,’” the Chief Apostle said. This is how the will of God becomes audible. And those who model their lives on it can be certain that they are walking on the right path.
Speaking with Jesus
The Lord is in the midst of those who gather in His name, and He hears the prayers of those who pray together, Chief Apostle Schneider said. In the Lord’s prayer the congregation, for example, asks for the ability to be able to do the will of God. “He will answer our prayer and that gives us a lot of confidence,” the Chief Apostle said.“
Able to forgive with Jesus
The Lord forgives sins in the divine services. “Let us forgive our neighbour as a sign of gratitude that our own sins have been forgiven.” People perceive it as a weakness if one forgives all too readily. But Jesus forgives us in every divine service, although He knows that we will make the same mistakes again, the Chief Apostle said. “He takes the risk because he loves me,” the Chief Apostle said. “Let us show that we have this encounter with Jesus.”
Experiencing the presence of Jesus
Jesus is present in Holy Communion through bread and wine, the Chief Apostle explained, adding: “In every divine service Jesus shows us His love. He died for you, and whatever you do His love is always the same. We love Him and therefore give up our own ideas and opinions—even if this is painful sometimes.”
Hoping in Jesus
The Holy Spirit reminds us during divine service of Jesus’ promise to return soon. This gives us the strength to endure to the end, the Chief Apostle said. “We trust in Jesus because we know that He tells the truth.”
Summary: The encounter with Jesus during the divine service makes us bold. We know the path of salvation and are able to follow it, we forgive without hesitation and willingly consent to sacrifice, and we patiently await the return of Christ.