“My God is the greatest!”

The partner for eternal life… Those who build a relationship with God and foster it benefit already today: they receive inner freedom, spiritual balance, and a healthy sense of self. And building such a relationship is not really all that difficult.

“Do not be afraid!” is a recurrent theme in the account of Jesus’ birth. Mary and Joseph heard it as did the shepherds. Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider referred to this in the Christmas Day service 2020, which he conducted in Strasbourg for France, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

“Do not be afraid; you have a Saviour.” This message is found throughout the New Testament, he emphasised in his sermon, which was based on John 14: 1: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” The core message of the divine service: “To have peace and freedom, let us trust in God as Jesus trusted in His Father.”

The relationship that does not fall the sky

Jesus certainly did have a very close relationship with His Father, however, this was not innate, the Chief Apostle explained. The man Jesus had to build up this relationship with God: through the study of Holy Scripture (already as a twelve-year-old), through hearing the word of God (“You are My beloved Son”), and through a life of intensive prayer. “As a man, Jesus had to learn to trust God: My God is the greatest!”

This gave the man Jesus certainty, freedom, and peace. Of course He was afraid of death, but He knew where He was going. Naturally He had to eat, sleep, and put on clothes, but He did not allow Himself to be captivated by these material things. And of course He was sad when the people did not understand Him. But this did not unsettle Him because He knew: My Father loves Me.

And, finally, Jesus was filled with the certainty: “I am not here by chance, My Father sent Me to bring salvation to all of mankind.” That is why nothing could dissuade Him from His mission: He went to sinners. He made no distinction between man, woman, child, young, old, rich, or poor; He went to everyone. And He insisted on fulfilling His mission to the end.

The awareness of being loved infinitely

Even today we still experience the real power of evil, the Chief Apostle said. “But don’t let your hearts be troubled by this. Jesus Christ is the greatest. Don’t be afraid: in the end, Jesus Christ will win.”

Of course we don’t always understand God’s ways. However, if we trust Jesus and place everything in His hands, we will experience the peace and freedom that comes from Christ. And anyone who realises that the Son of God lived, suffered, died, and will come again out of love for mankind, knows how much they really mean to the perfect God: “This is a healthy sense of self-esteem.” And it frees you from the urge to chase after money, power, and fame or likes on social networks to prove to yourself and others what you are worth.

There is enough salvation for all of mankind

We know that we have been reborn out of water and Spirit to contribute to the salvation of all human beings. Some, however, have difficulty accepting the differences between people: skin colour, tradition, way of life. Some feel challenged when things are going good for someone who is different. “It creates rejection, it creates hatred, it creates division,” the Chief Apostle said.

“We want to be witnesses of Christ and can therefore not stop at differences,” Chief Apostle Schneider made clear. The salvation that God grants to my neighbour, even if he or she is completely different, does not call my own salvation into question. We are not competing for salvation. There is enough for all people.

Let us carry on with our mission, no matter what. It is important that we continue to build and develop our relationship with Jesus Christ: through the word of God, through the study of Scripture, and through prayer. This is how this trust in Jesus Christ can grow, which gives us peace, which gives us serenity, which gives us personal balance, a healthy sense of self-esteem, and freedom.

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Andreas Rother
Chief Apostle, Divine service