Who is Jesus?

 
   Christ on the Cross with the Virgin and Saint John  , c. 1597, by Jacob Matham, Dutch from the  Philadelphia Museum of Art

Christ on the Cross with the Virgin and Saint John, c. 1597, by Jacob Matham, Dutch from the Philadelphia Museum of Art

When Adam and Eve, the first humans, disobeyed God and fell into sin, death entered the world, but God promised that he would send one of their descendants, the new Adam, who would defeat death and the power of the devil (Genesis 3:1-15). After this promise, humanity lived in expectation of a savior who would restore them to the paradise that Adam and Eve experienced in Eden. Throughout the years, God continued to send prophets who foretold the coming of God’s promised savior.

God fulfilled all of his promises when the eternal Word (λόγος) of God, the Son, chose to become a man to save all of humanity from sin and death. (John 1:1-3, 14) He was born of the Virgin Mary and was named Jesus (Luke 1:30-38). He was fully man and lived a life of perfect obedience to God (Hebrews 4:15). During his ministry, Jesus went throughout Israel healing the sick, raising the dead, forgiving sins, and preaching the good news that he had come to save the world from sin and death.

In order to save all of humanity from sin and death, he took the sin of all the world on himself and gave up his life, dying the death that all of humanity deserved (2 Corinthians 5:21). But Jesus did not stay dead; after three days, he rose again from the dead and appeared to hundreds of people to show that he had gained victory over death (1 Corinthians 15:3-7).  After continuing to teach his followers for a short time, he ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father (Romans 8:34).

After his Ascension, Jesus instituted his New Testament Church to proclaim to all the world that since he died for all and was raised from the dead, all who believe in him will also be raised to live eternally with him. (Romans 6:5) In this same Church, he continues to come to his people, forgiving their sins and giving them his promise of eternal life with him.

For more about Jesus, read the Second Article of the Apostles’ Creed and its explanation from the Small Catechism.

How does Jesus come to us today?

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, he taught that he would continue to come to his Church through his Word. This Word comes to us today in a variety of different forms that Jesus instituted during his lifetime.

One of these ways that Jesus comes to us is in Holy Baptism (Mark 16:16). When the water of Baptism is combined with God’s Word, Jesus cleanses the person being baptized from all sins and gives his Holy Spirit and the promise of eternal life (Titus 3:5-7). For more information about Holy Baptism, click here for the explanation in the Small Catechism

Another way that Jesus comes to us is in the word of forgiveness spoken by his ministers. After his resurrection from the dead, Jesus gave the Church the authority to forgive sins on his behalf (John 20:22-23). Jesus continues to forgive the sins of all his followers in his Church through the words of his called servants. For more information about Holy Absolution, click here for the explanation in the Small Catechism.

Our Lord Jesus also comes to us in the Sacrament of the Altar, which he instituted on the night before his death (Luke 22:19-20). As he promised on that night, he gives us his body and blood in this sacrament for the forgiveness of our sins. He continues to come to his church in this sacrament to forgive our sins and strengthen our faith until he comes again on the Last Day (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). For more information about the Sacrament of the Altar, click here for the explanation in the Small Catechism.

Where does Jesus do these things?

We receive all of these gifts from Jesus every week during the Divine Service, just as he has come to his Church for the past two millenia. In the Divine Service, Jesus reminds us of our Baptism, forgives us our sins in the Absolution, speaks to us in the reading of the Holy Scriptures, and gives us his own body and blood in the Sacrament of the Altar. We invite you to join us on Sundays at 3:00 to receive God’s gifts in the fellowship of his Church!