Word of the Month

Deciding

December 2007

Holy Scripture reports that Jesus was carried into the temple after His birth in order to be presented to the Lord. This was a prescription of the Mosaic Law. There were some individuals among the people of the Jews who assessed this event properly. For example, we can read of Simeon. In this child he recognised the promised Messiah, the Saviour—and brought this to expression in wonderful words. He also said: “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against” (Luke 2: 34). There is no talk of glitter and glory here. Rather it is a clear statement: wherever the Son of God goes, wherever He appears in the commission of His Father, a decision will be required—one will be required to take a position.

The Son of God later made it clear again and again that a decision is required. He is destined for the fall and rising of many—and indeed, many have fallen on account of Him. Such people rejected Him or did not follow Him. Others were even annoyed at Him. But there were also others who aligned their lives by His words. They looked up to Him and esteemed Him—which brought salvation and joy into their lives.

So it is also today. Wherever the Son of God is at work, a decision is required. And this is not something that we can simply do once—for example, at confirmation—and consider it done and over with. No, here we must decide again and again. The Son of God expects and requires decisions of us.

I will go even further: wherever the Apostle ministry is active, wherever the gifts proceeding from Jesus Christ are available, there is a decision to be made. Are we for it? Do we adjust our lives in faith, or is it a burden to us? A golden median, which we would probably be only too happy to follow, is of no significance in God’s eyes. There is no such thing.

That is my Christmas message: Let us decide anew, let us again take up a position in our hearts! Is the gospel a source of strength for us? Does it provide orientation for our lives? Or is it just a peripheral matter to us?

Wherever the Son of God appeared in His time, opposition was quick to surface. He is a sign which will be spoken against! Wherever He revealed Himself as the Son of God, opposition immediately followed. When He forgave sins, many thought to themselves: “How does this fellow dare to do such a thing? How can He forgive sins?”

This has not changed in our days either: wherever the divine gifts are revealed, wherever God’s word is audible and grace is accessible, there is also opposition. Simeon expressed it quite clearly: Jesus Christ is a sign which will be spoken against. This was not even expressed only as a possibility—i.e. that He might be spoken against—but rather as an irrevocable fact: He will be spoken against! Therefore this is not something that should irritate us.

Today people try to discover everything they can about the life of the Son of God. They want to know what really happened in those days. That is not at all reprehensible, but ultimately it will always remain a question of faith. We will not be able to track down the Son of God by scientific means, but will always run up against some sort of barrier. And then the question often comes up: “Will you decide for or against Him?” No one will be able to avoid this question. Let us decide!

(From a divine service by the Chief Apostle)

 

The New Apostolic Church International wishes you much peace and joy in the coming days of Advent and Christmas.