Creed: Jesus Christ
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth; And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.>
Let’s read the Apostle’s creed again. (slide 3-4) Look at the screen.(slide 5) The middle section of Creed that is highlighted, that’s the section that talks about Jesus. 60% of creed is about Jesus. 85% of world religions believe there is God, and most of them also recognize that Jesus is a good man, good teacher. But only Christianity, only we are the one who confesses Jesus as our Christ, our Messiah. Christ is Christianity. Like I said last Sunday, “Creed” means “I believe.” I believe that Jesus is our Christ, our Messiah. Last Sunday we confessed that we believe God the Father almighty, maker of all the amazing universe and at the same time loving father, loving parents who are so intimate to us. And today, we are going to the next section of Creed about Jesus.
Today we are going to answer this question, (slide 6) “What does it mean for us to trust in Jesus Christ?” Like I said, there are millions of people who think Jesus is cool, nice person, awesome teacher, very spiritual inspirer like Mohamed or Buddha. But we who gather here this morning call him our Savior. That means we put our whole trust, our entire being in him. So this question is a really important question, maybe the most important question. “What does it mean for me to trust in Jesus Christ? Not just knowing him, or talking about him, but placing our whole trust in him.
Well I recently found that one of the definitions that you have about me is “mean sister.” No, I am not! It is like when I ask you a question, “Who do you think I am?” I am 100% sure one of you will say, “A mean sister.” Well…
Jesus asked the same question to his disciples in Luke chapter 9. One day Jesus asked a question to disciples, “Who do you think I am?” I can picture the disciples like covering their faces, looking at each other, poking one another saying, “You go first”, “No, you go first” like our confirmation kids do when I ask questions. “Well, this guy says you are so on so.” “That guy says you are a prophet.” “Someone told me you are a teacher.” They started saying what all these other people said who Jesus would be and Jesus won’t have it. Jesus stopped them and looked into their eyes saying, “Who do YOU think I am?” So Peter kind of stepped forward, looked back at Jesus and said, “You are the Christ, the Messiah, the anointed one. You are sent from God.” The Creed helps us to say the same thing just like Peter did.
There are four things in Creed that talk about Jesus, and we are going to take one by one. Look with me at the first. (slide 7) And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord.. When you and I say this line, (slide 8) that means that you and I trust Jesus to be our Leader. Now this takes us back to the first century, and in the first century there was only one leader whose name was Caesar. He was ruler of Roman Empire, from England to North Africa, from Asia to Spain, 1/4 population of the world lived under his empire. Here’s what they do. They come to a village, they conquer, and if you are lucky enough to survive, then they demand you immediately start paying taxes to Caesar. Caesar would take those taxes to build his military machine even stronger, greater and more violent so that they can conquer the next village. And then the next one, then the next one. And then they force you to swear loyalty to Caesar. They didn’t believe Caesar was just a guy, they believe he was the divine son of god. And they make you to swear loyal to Caesar by declaring this, “Caesar is leader.” Yet, back corner of the Roman Empire that they called Judea. There was a no name child born into a no name family in a no name village. He was born into a manger, a trough, not into a palace. He never conquered a village, never controlled an army. He didn’t have wealth. He didn’t even own a home. He never travelled outside of his country. He just simply walks around fields and villages and says, “God has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bring release to the captives, to bring sight to the blind, to set free everyone who’s been oppressed.” This is what he would say and people started to follow. And you know what? At the end of his ministry, Jesus was executed for treason for being an enemy of the state. Then, there was something amazing happening among people. There were hundreds of people who said they eyewitnessed to the fact that this man, Jesus of Nazareth had actually risen from the grave. They watched him to be killed and then after he had risen, he had come to life and they would say I ate breakfast with him on the beach, I touched him, I heard him, I saw him. He was laughing, I was crying with him. He’s alive and so they started to say this, “No, Caesar is not lord. Jesus is Lord.” (slide 9) These three words were the most dangerous words that you could possibly say. They could get you killed on the spot and yet they would declare them louder. Many of them were imprisoned and tortured, but they said the words even louder though because they would I’ve seen it and I’ve heard it. I can’t say any other things. Caesar is not lord, Jesus is Lord! It was true them, and it is true today. Church, Jesus is Lord.
Peter, the same guy who said to Jesus that he is our Lord and Savior, he wrote it later. Let’s read it out loud. (slide 10) “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:15 , NIV) Peter is saying when you and I reject for him the way of Caesar, for the way of the world, when we do that, we are actually saying pretty subversive and countercultural and powerful. When we say we reject the way of the world for Jesus, that means we reject inequality that so prevails the world, that means we reject the way of violence and domination and conquering. We reject the way of fear and of oppression and of racism and of prejudice. We reject all of that when we say Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Lord. What this means for me is the way of forgiveness defeats unforgiveness. The way of joy defeats the way of despair, the way of bitterness. The way of peace defeats the way of fear, the way of anger. The way of love defeats hatred and violence.
Let us read the next line together. (slide 11) …was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate… When we believe in these words, that means (slide 12) 2. It means I trust Jesus to be my example. In the seminary, the professor in the very first theology class asked us a question, “How do you think Jesus could be both divine and human? What percentage?” I thought, 50 and 50? And the professor said, Jesus is 100% human and 100% divine. He was fully God but also same time fully a human. I think sometimes it is easier for us to think that Jesus’ divinity than his humanness. Right? Jesus was just a regular man who is walking around without no halo on his head and no angel’s sining voices. That means he gets hungry and thirsty, he gets tired, he gets every feeling that we experience. He sobbed, he grieved. All the temptations that we experiencee, Jesus gets it. He fully and completely gets it. When I was a teenager, I was a super sensitive girl. What word do you know I used the most when I had arguments with mom? “Mom, you just don’t get it!” Mom hated this word. Now I think she got it, but just didn’t want to deal with me.
Because Jesus has been here, he completely gets us, what we feel, what we experience. This is why we trust Jesus as our leader, but also he is our example to pull us forward because Jesus blazed the new trail for us, Let’s read Ephesians together. ( slide 13) “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us[a] and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Ephesians 5:1-2 (NLT)” See, Jesus shows the new way as our example how to fully alive, how to fully human who God made us to be in God’s image. Paul doesn’t say a whole bunch of stuff that I got to do to follow Jesus. He says Christ is your example and it means your life is filled with love, love for Christ, love for others, for your neighbors, even for your enemies, love for yourself. Paul says Christians follow the example of Christ that was filled with love! By the way you are off the hook if you are not a Christian. Christ’ follows now please think about it. How are we doing with this these days? Are we being broken and poured out for others like Jesus was broken and poured our for us? Are we allowing him to fill your life with the love of Christ for himself and for others?
Now look with me the next thing that Creed teaches us about Jesus. Look at this an d read it together. (slide 14) …was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead…. When we believe in these words, that means (slide 15) 3. It means I trust Jesus to be my deliverer. Let’s continue to read this Bible verse from Hebrews. (slide 16) “14 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.” Hebrews 2:14-15 (NLT)
In January first 1863 Abraham Lincoln sat down and wrote these words. “I hereby proclaim that all persons held as slaves in any state where any part of state shall be thence forward and forever free.” Thousands of African Americans dances on the day of emancipation, the day of liberation for Lincoln’s greatest delivery of them from slavery. Lincoln was the great liberator. Even I grew up in Korea the opposite side of the earth reading his autobiography and admiring him. He was a great deliverer. Later when his body was carried from Washington to Illinois for burial they say that thousands upon thousands of people lined the railroad check tracks just to get a glimpse of the emancipator. When his body went through New York, the town, there was an African-American woman who was a former slave, she brought her son up to the railroad track to see Lincoln’s body as it went by and then she lifted her son up high above her shoulders and she said to her son, “Take a long look, honey because that man died for you.”
Dear my friends, our Creed, it lifts us up high enough so that we can see our deliverer Jesus Christ our Savior. Our Creed lifts us up high enough to tell us that “Take a long look. Jesus Christ died for you!” We’ve been set from slavery to sin and death. This is Love, this is grace. Whoever believes in these words, whoever places their trust in Jesus, God will deliver them from death to eternal life just like God delivered Jesus from the grave to heaven! This is the good news that Jesus delivered us and he set us free! We are here to rejoice and be thankful for this!
Our Creed wants to declare one more thing about Jesus. Let’s say it with me. (slide 18) …ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. . The last words are hard to understand, aren’t they? What about the slow and the alive? Are they out of luck? Right? “quick” is another way to say living or alive. So it means, when Jesus comes back, he shall judge the living and the dead. When we believe in these words, we are trusting Jesus to be our security. (slide 19) Can we read it out loud? 4. It means I trust Jesus to be my Security.
When we were little ones, whenever I teased, tormented Alexa, she always had a word at me. She stood up and spoke to me, “I am going to tell mom on you!” You know my mom was very when she was angry. Then she turned around and started looking for mom, “Mom! Mom!” Then I stopped everything that I was doing to her begging “I am so sorry Alexa, don’t tell mom! I am so sorry! I am not going to do this again!” You know, mom was my sister’s security that can help her, protect her, and give her a sense of security knowing that mom will help me always, mom will scold the big sister and make me feel relieved. To us, Jesus is our security that always helps us, protects us from any harms, and gives a sense of security that makes us so relieved and peaceful. Anytime we can run to Jesus for protection, help and comfort that only Jesus can give us. Jesus is our security.
Let’s read it out loud. (slide 20) “23 Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 24 God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NLT)
God will make this happen for the faithful ones on Christ. See this promises that Jesus is coming again. He’s going to come, he’s going to make everything in heaven and earth, he’s going to make it all new and redeemed. Jesus’ resurrection will make the entire universe resurrected, too. Everything broken will be reconciled. This means no more tears, no more griefs, no more awful news stories, no more prejudice, no more violence, no more fear, no more hate. All of these will disappear because Jesus is coming again!
Actually Jesus already spoiled the ending for us. He rose again from the dead. He’s already showed us the death has been already conquered forever. It has no claim on us anymore if we simply believe in Christ as our security. Isn’t that great? Jesus was an invitation to the world back then, and Jesus is still an invitation to all of us today. Just simply believe in him as your Savior and Lord, then he will be your deliverer and your security that always goes with you wherever you go, whatever you do. Thanks be to God. Amen.