Experiencing the powers to come already today
“Let us celebrate Easter together,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider called to the faithful in the central divine service that was broadcast worldwide, and went on to explain why we have every reason to celebrate even in the middle of the coronavirus crisis.
Hundreds of thousands of New Apostolic Christians experienced this divine service at home—either on the Internet or by telephone. For, after all, the fight against the virus does not allow for any gatherings at this time.
Faith in times of crisis
“It is certainly a very special Easter,” the Chief Apostle said. For the pandemic is causing a lot of suffering and sorrow across the world. But: “Corona is merely one line more on a long, long list of plagues.”
“Our hearts go out to the people,” the Chief Apostle said. “We pray for all those who are suffering. And we are grateful for the many people who are making such an effort.” He also encouraged the faithful to follow the guidelines of the authorities in an exemplary manner.
He said that the coronavirus crisis is neither a sign for the imminent return of Christ nor is it punishment from God. For God is a God of love and not of punishment. And: “Our hope in the return of Christ is not based on signs, but on faith in Christ.”
A joyful and secure future
Easter, the resurrection of Jesus, is something so powerful and so momentous that we have every reason to be grateful to this day, the Chief Apostle said. For especially in this time we can experience the presence of Jesus Christ also at home behind closed doors, he said in reference to the Bible reading from John 20: 11–20.
The fact that we have every reason to celebrate Easter this year he explained using the Bible text from Revelation 1: 17b–18: “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”
- Jesus Christ was the first to have received the resurrection body and enter the kingdom of heaven. Those who remain faithful to Him can experience the same.
- Through baptism with water and the Spirit the Son of God gave man of His life. Those who believe in Him can already today experience the power of the future world and thus the peace of God and the joy of Christ.
- The power of Christ over the keys of death means: “Physical death is not an obstacle to salvation. The activity of the Holy Spirit continues in the beyond.”
- This is what the keys of hell stand for: “Jesus Christ can redeem from the remoteness from God and lead us to Him. He wants to continue with this.”
“He will return,” Chief Apostle Schneider emphasised. “Those who remain faithful will resurrect. That is our future, that is our joy, that is our assurance.”
On the way to Holy Communion
In conclusion, the Chief Apostle spoke about Holy Communion, which cannot be celebrated in the online services that are currently taking place. Jesus Christ Himself instituted this sacrament, he said. “He defines how we celebrate it. We cannot do with it what we want.” And Jesus instituted it as a meal of fellowship, a prerequisite that is currently not given. God wants to remind us: “Holy Communion is a grace which I bestow upon you.”
“Let us use the time to prepare ourselves for the first Holy Communion that we will be able to celebrate again,” the Chief Apostle appealed. Especially in view of the great Lord’s Supper, of which Jesus spoke to His disciples: “And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table” (Luke 22: 29–30).