Jesus responded to the Jewish leaders:
“I assure you that the Son can’t do anything by himself except what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. The Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he does. He will show him greater works than these so that you will marvel.
As the Father raises the dead and gives life, so too does the Son give life to whomever he wishes. The Father doesn’t judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to the Son so that everyone will honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever doesn’t honor the Son doesn’t honor the Father who sent him.
I assure you that whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and won’t come under judgment but has passed from death into life.
I assure you that the time is coming—and is here!—when the dead will hear the voice of God’s Son, and those who hear it will live. Just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. He gives the Son authority to judge because he is the Human One.
Don’t be surprised by this, because the time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice. Those who did good things will come out into the resurrection of life, and those who did wicked things into the resurrection of judgment.”
(Common English Bible)
So goes the parent, so goes the child. Sons look and act a great deal like their fathers. And there is no mistaking the resemblance between Father of the heavens and Son of the incarnation.
In Christianity, to see Jesus is to see God. To know Christ is to know the Lord. They are distinct, yet inextricably linked as one; each is differentiated from the other in personhood, yet united with the same divine substance.
The deity of the Father and the deity of the Son is one, equal in glory, co-eternal in majesty.
What the Father is, the Son is.
Uncreated, eternal, almighty, and sovereign is the Father; uncreated, eternal, almighty, and sovereign is the Son.
The Father and the Son are not two gods but one God.
There is only one Father; there is only one Son. Each is neither greater nor lesser than the other.
Whoever wants to be saved from guilt, shame, sin, death, and hell – and to be delivered from the injustice of the world, the failings of oneself, and the machinations of evil, should think about the Father and the Son and the Spirit, the Holy Trinity, one God.
– Athanasian Creed
So, why is all this creedal Christian doctrine of any importance? Why pay attention to such things?
Because there are many issues and problems in this world of great importance which must be addressed and dealt with. We need to have some idea of how to go about:
- Governing ourselves as a free people
- Eradicating poverty and disease
- Educating our children
- Paying taxes
- Providing excellent and cost effective healthcare for everyone
- Dismantling racism
- Seeking peaceful international relations
- Building responsible and accountable local community relationships
- Supporting small businesses
- Helping workers make a decent contributive living
- Loving our families and faith communities
It is my unshakable conviction that all these issues, and many others, need more than our collective mental attention and physical resources; these problems also need spiritual resolutions and solutions.
Seasons, years, centuries, and millennia come and go. People are born, live, and die. Generations exist and then are no more. Civilizations rise and fall. Through it all and above it all is the person of Jesus.
Christ is alive. He brings breath from dust, beauty from ashes, order from chaos, stability from insecurity, dignity from disrespect, and meaning from uncertainty. Jesus gives life, abundant and to the full.
Today, this very moment, Christ is still on the throne of all creation.
Human elections and institutions only have authority as given by Jesus, the Ruler of all.
Presently, Jesus is attentive and vigilant to people, actively interceding for us at the right hand of his Father in heaven. At this very moment, the Holy Spirit is the continuing presence of Christ on this earth, applying Christ’s redemption of humanity to the lives of millions.
Sometimes we need to remember how important our spiritual resources are to living in this world – and to clarify what’s really of ultimate significance in this old broken world.
My unwavering spiritual persuasion is this: People need the Lord. Therefore, it only makes good spiritual sense to live in ways that foster a connection with Jesus.
This morning, I did what I do every morning – whether I’m sick or well, sad or happy, facing a busy day or a relaxed day – I began my day with Scripture reading, prayer, reflection, and gratitude. And I do it with the realization that Christ is King, that as the divine/human Lord of all, his:
- authority is real
- rule is benevolent
- sovereignty is ubiquitous
- reign is supreme
- judgments are right and good
- power is mighty enough to raise the dead
The Christian tradition holds that Jesus Christ is the exalted and glorified Son of God, the Sovereign authority over every dominion. The works of Jesus bear testimony to the cosmic reality that he is Lord of all. And, if that were not enough, Jesus shares his divine power with us, his people.
In the face of Christ’s majesty, the valid and appropriate response is sheer submission to Christ’s authority.
Just as Jesus listened to the Father and obeyed the Father’s will, so we need to listen to Jesus and carry out his will.
Just as Jesus enjoyed his relationship with the Father, so we are to bask in our wonderful relationship with Jesus.
Since Jesus submitted to death on a cross and rose from the dead through God’s power, we now have access to that power by God’s grace through faith in Christ. And we are to use that divine power to take up our own cross and bear the great issues and problems of our day with all the spiritual resources granted to us in Christ Jesus.
Like Father, like Son. Like Christ, like Christians. May all followers of Jesus resemble their Lord in each word and in every way.
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.