Beckett: 2nd Article of the Creed – The Reign of God in Christ

“…just as He is risen from the dead, lives, and reigns to all eternity” (SC, The Second Article: Redemption).

Why does it matter that Jesus is risen from the dead? It is not only that His resurrection is the vindication of His work in His life and death. Jesus says the following words not too long before He alludes to His death and resurrection, “Come to Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Most immediately, this has to do with Jesus’ Lordship of the Sabbath in 12:1-8, but we cannot ignore its significance in the slightly wider context of 12:38-42 where Christ says, “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (v. 40). Thus, when we come to Jesus, we come to the resurrected Jesus. Luther describes well why this is hugely significant for you:

You cast your sins from yourself onto Christ when you firmly believe that His wounds and sufferings are your sins, to be borne and paid for by Him… If we allow sin to remain in our conscience and try to deal with it there, or if we look at sin in our heart, it will be much too strong for us and will live on forever. But if we behold it resting on Christ and [see it] overcome by His resurrection, and then boldly believe this, even it is dead and nullified. Sin cannot remain on Christ, since it is swallowed up by His resurrection… Thus St. Paul declares that “Christ died for our sin and rose for our justification” [Romans 4:25]. That is to say, in His suffering Christ makes our sin known and thus destroys it, but through His resurrection He justifies us and delivers us from all sin, if we believe this.

LW 42:12-13

The Divine Service, from the German “Gottesdienst,” is called such because it is God coming to us in His divine service. He comes and serves us in His proclaimed Word in the liturgy (notice they’re all strictly from Scripture), the Scripture readings, the hymns, and the sermon. He also comes to us in the Sacraments of Absolution and the Lord’s Supper, as well as Baptism whenever we remember our own or witness one in the service. As Absolution and the Lord’s Supper are regularly done, we come to Him as He first comes to us at the Table. We lay the burden of our sins before Him as He places on us the light and easy yoke of His grace. And when we hear of or witness Baptism, even that of a helpless infant, we are reminded of our own Baptism where we have died to Christ and shall rise to new life in a resurrection just like His (Romans 6:3-5), whereupon we have received the garment of Christ Himself for eternal salvation (Galatians 3:26-27). In this ministry of Word and Sacrament, the reign of God comes to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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