“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’” It was the authority mentioned in Matthew 28: 18 which the Chief Apostle explored this year’s Easter service.
The tomb is empty, the brothers and sisters heard during the Bible reading, taken from Luke 24: 1–12, on 9 April in Mannheim, Germany, for the Easter service. “It was very important that the women and later the Apostles saw that the grave was empty, that Jesus’ body was no longer there,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider said. The Chief Apostle explained that it was important to God that the disciples understood that the Risen One would not now appear to them as a ghost or a spirit, but as a true human being consisting of body, soul, and spirit.
The authority of the Son of Man
In the Bible reading, the brothers and sisters also heard that the angel had spoken of Jesus as the Son of Man. “This indicates that Jesus was first and foremost a real man. But for the Jews the title Son of Man had a special meaning,” the Chief Apostle explained. He was a Saviour sent by God, to whom all authority had been given. “And Jesus Christ claimed this title for Himself.” Time and again He showed that this authority is vested in Him.
- The authority of the Creator: “He walked on water, which no human being can do. He could do it because He was above the laws of nature,” the Chief Apostle said, giving an example. “He had power over the elements. He had control over the wind and rebuked a storm. He healed the sick. He had power over the dead. He raised the dead.”
- Authority over people and spirits: The Chief Apostle recalled the incident when Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had grown up, and the people wanted to kill Him by throwing him off a mountain. “What did Jesus do? He just walked right through them and they could not even touch Him.” He also cast out spirits.
- The authority to proclaim the will of God: Jesus showed the people how they were to understand the law, that is, the will of God.
- The authority to forgive sins: Jesus said, “No one else can do this, but I can.” Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace.”
- The authority to grant human beings eternal life: Jesus said, “I have come to lead you into eternal fellowship and eternal life with God.”
And then all seems lost
“And what happened?” the Chief Apostle asked, referring to the events of Good Friday: “They arrested Him, they tortured Him, and killed Him. What had happened to His authority?” It looked as if Jesus was powerless.
“And then it happened: the resurrection! Christ presented Himself, came to the disciples, and confirmed to them: ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’ And that is the Easter message: the authority of the Risen One.”
The authority of the Risen One
This is still valid today: “He acted and still acts today with the authority of God, the authority of the Risen One.”
- The authority over the creation: The Risen One is not bound by the laws of nature. This is a special comfort, the Chief Apostle said, because there is so much suffering on earth that as a human being you cannot include all the sufferers in your prayers. “We are limited as human beings,” the Chief Apostle said. “But Jesus Christ is not limited.” Jesus does not forget anyone. “In one and the same second He can be with every person, also with you.” The fact that Jesus has authority over the creation also means that He preserves it. He will see to it that the creation exists until His plan of redemption is complete, the Chief Apostle said.
- The authority over human beings and spirits: Even if the situation sometimes seems hopeless: “If there is no solution, Jesus has a solution. He can always help.” His help is sometimes different from what we expected, the Chief Apostle said, but it is always greater. And: “The spirit of evil, the devil, call him what you will, our adversary, who wants to separate us from Christ, tries everything.” But as long as I want to stay with God, He will give me the strength to stay with Him and make sure that temptation does not become too great.
- The authority to proclaim the will of God: Jesus has the authority to proclaim the will of God and to reveal the law of God: “And we know this law. It is the law of love. Love for God and human beings. This is the will of God,” the Chief Apostle said. “And His resurrection is the final proof that the power of love is greater than the power of evil.”
- The authority to forgive sins: “If the Lord Jesus forgives your sins, this grace is complete. If you worthily accept the forgiveness of sins in faith, then your connection to God, your relationship with Him, is restored as though you had never sinned,” the Chief Apostle explained.
- The authority of redemption: “God does not want to do only half a job,” the Chief Apostle explained. “He offers us perfect salvation. Our whole person, what constitutes us, is to be redeemed and enter His kingdom like the risen Christ did. Not as a soul, not as a spirit, but as perfect human beings with a body, the resurrection body.” God will make sure that we can attain eternal life.
“Dear brothers and sisters, the resurrection at Easter was the greatest proof: Jesus Christ has the authority of God,” were the closing words of the Chief Apostle. “He acted by mandate of God and with the authority of God when He was on earth. He still does so today through the Holy Spirit. Let us trust in this authority.”