Jesus is the core

If I had the chance to meet Jesus, then… This is what people sometimes say, especially when they are despairing over their faith. They want to meet the author of it all. And this is possible, even today.

The motto of the new year is “Together in Christ”. Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider uses this message to make clear how quickly and easily we can meet Jesus—if our eyes are open for Him. The motto “Encountering Christ” will be unfolded bit by bit in the Sunday sermons in January.

Many who met Jesus during His lifetime, were amazed at His wisdom, His authority. For them, He was someone who knew what He was talking about: “And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7: 28–29).

The authority on love

Many of His contemporaries were amazed and deeply impressed by Jesus’ teaching. His doctrine distinguished itself from that of the Pharisees in terms of how they assessed the Mosaic Law. Jesus was not worried about good health, prosperity, and high esteem as a reward granted by God to those who kept the Law. On the contrary, He assured the poor, the suffering, and the humble of God’s blessing and taught that the love of God is the salvation that He makes accessible to human beings.

Jesus spoke with divine authority. He did not interpret the will of God, but proclaimed and revealed it. This distinguished Him from the teachers of the Law, the scribes, who were active in Palestine.

Fellowship with the Son of God

This authority must be experienced today as well, which is not necessarily always that easy, because a person must believe that God is faithful. And the believer has to reciprocate this faithfulness. However, the reality that we often perceive does not seem to be in agreement with the word of God. And yet God calls and elects human beings and asks them to follow Him. He calls them into fellowship of life with Jesus Christ. This fellowship can be experienced already today.

Faith leads to salvation

“Your faith has helped you,” the Lord would often say to those whom He healed. It is so important that we understand Him in His full depth. Salvation cannot be earned by merit, good deeds, and a good Christian life: such works are the result of a steadfast faith, not the other way around. Important is a steadfast and true faith. It is not enough to call oneself a Christian, go to church regularly, and to praise and pray to God. Above all, true faith consists of doing the will of God. The point is to keep the Ten Commandments and, above all, the commandment of love. This is the kind of faith that decides on our priorities and our relationship to our neighbour.

The good shepherd

What comes after all of this? “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9: 36). Reading this makes one sad. A shepherd without sheep. How is that supposed to work? The sermon on the last Sunday in January will talk about the fact that Jesus is the good shepherd. Many of the people He encountered were without orientation. He showed His loving care to all of them. In the process He not only limited Himself to Israel, but was open to the rest of humanity.

Those who profess the cause of Jesus to others make it clear that Jesus Christ is the way to fellowship with God. Personal opinions should retreat in the hearts of those who are actively engaged in the mission God has assigned them. After all, only in this way is it possible to make room for a perspective that transcends daily life and its problems.


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Peter Johanning
4.01.2022
Divine service