Making the love of God perceptible

Making the invisible visible is every Christian’s mission. And Jesus showed us how we can do that. The whole idea of what we do is to show what the nature of God is like: pure love.

“He [Jesus Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” This passage from Colossians 1: 15 was used by the Chief Apostle in a divine service on 29 November 2020 in Schaffhausen in Switzerland.

Not one without the other

“The Son of God is the image of God the Father. He is God,” Chief Apostle Schneider made clear. “When you speak about Father and Son it does not mean that the one was there before the other.” These terms are a reference to their inextricable link and intimate connection. “The one cannot exist without the other,” he said.

“Both are omnipotent, both are omniscient, both are perfect,” the Chief Apostle went on. The Son is the God whom people kept turning their backs to. And the Son is the God who came to earth Himself to help mankind. “If you think about this you will be able to really grasp the love of God.”

Encountering God in man

“Because Jesus had come as a man, the people could meet God, speak with Him and touch Him.” In fact, the Chief Apostle said, “After His incarnation God was no longer invisible. The people were able to get an exact idea of what He was like.”

Jesus showed what God is like: “He loves us, He cares for us. He is the God of grace. He is very close to us and shares our lot, shares our joy, shares our sorrow and troubles. He is close to the poor and to the sinners. He does not reject anyone. He is there for everyone.”

The firstborn is not alone

“Jesus Christ is the firstborn over all creation,” the Chief Apostle said and went on to explain what that means. “He will inherit the glory of God. He was the first new human being who was exactly as God wanted man to be. He is the first man who resurrected from the dead and ascended to the Father.”

And finally: “Jesus Christ is the firstborn of many brothers. That means that He will not remain alone.” And why? “Because God has created and wants to create many more new human beings through the rebirth out of water and Spirit.”

Worshipping and praising the eternal God

“Through the rebirth we have all become new creatures in Christ.” But there is one huge difference, the Chief Apostle said. “He is the head of the church, everything revolves around Him. He determines what is to be done. He rules His church.”

“It is very important to me that we don’t forget who Jesus Christ is,” Chief Apostle Schneider said. “When He speaks it is the word of God, which remains forever. He is the Son of God! Let us worship and praise Him and be thankful to Him.”

Face to face in the end

We are to grow into the image of Christ, the Chief Apostle went on. Mind you: “Not into the image of God, that is not possible. God is and will remain perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, and glorious—this we will never attain as human beings,” stressed the Chief Apostle. But, he said, we can act like Jesus Christ. He was a man and we can act as He did.

“He was hungry and thirsty. He was happy, He wept, and sometimes He was even angry.” And as a man He did not know or understand everything either. But the most important thing to Him was His relationship with God.

“Through us Jesus Christ is to become tangible reality: in our love and care for others, our intercessions, forgiveness, mercy and compassion,” the Chief Apostle said. “If we act in such a way, the Lord can come and take us with Him. Then we will be able to see the almighty God face to face, as Jesus sees Him as the resurrected man.”

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Andreas Rother
Chief Apostle, Divine service