He always has the last word!

What a know-it-all! How self-righteous! These are some fairly harmless opinions often expressed in reference to people who always want to have the last word. And if they happen to be right three times in a row, people just think of them as downright unpleasant. But how is it with Jesus Christ, the salvation of mankind?

Jesus Christ is the salvation of the world—so reads the theme series for the divine services of the New Apostolic Church in the first month of the new year. This Jesus Christ bears many personal names: He is Saviour, true Man and true God, the Alpha and the Omega, the Teacher, the “easy yoke”, and so on. It is hardly possible for any human being to comprehend Him in all His fullness. But we can come close. Here are some examples:

  • In general Christendom, the 6th of January is celebrated as Epiphany, the feast of the Lord’s appearing. It is at this time of year that believers commemorate the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. The first epistle of John (1: 1–3) teaches that Jesus was a real Man with a real body. He is “that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life.” He was a Man among men, and yet also God. And we can perceive Him with our senses even today because we can still hear, see, and feel Him: the incarnation of Christ is tangible to human beings today in word and sacrament.
  • The Son of God is the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega: “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last’” (Revelation 1: 17). He has always been and He will always be. We are to give Him first place in our hearts and remain true and faithful to Him until the last. That is the endeavour of every Christian, namely to think as Christ would think, to act as Christ would act, and to live as Christ would live—until the end. At the end, however, He will have the last word—the last decision will also be up to Him, and no one will be able to prevent Him from completing His work.
  • Jesus Christ is also the great Teacher. He taught us that we should always act on the basis of love, that we should always pursue reconciliation—and He Himself is an example to us in this: His words and actions correspond perfectly to one another. We human beings can learn this from Him! With the commandment to love God and our neighbour, Jesus taught us His nature. Love was the foundation for all of His actions, and this love was also the driving force behind His sacrifice. And His disciples are to be recognised by the love they have for one another! To fulfil His instructions is an “easy yoke”. In Judaism, the yoke upon the shoulders serves as an image for the burden of the Torah: it was difficult—too difficult—to fulfil its demands. By contrast, however, the yoke which the Son of God places upon us is easy. Why? It does not require the impossible, it does not require anything exaggerated of us. He has already exemplified His words in His own actions.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is the Lord. He is the firstfruits from among the resurrected. He is the King of our hearts, the good shepherd. He is the bridegroom. He has established church, ministry, and the sacraments for the salvation of all mankind. He is the Lord of all! He is the beloved Son in whom God is well-pleased!

Let us hear Him.

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Peter Johanning
Divine service, Doctrinal statements