We have gone through the Great Fast, we prepared ourselves to enter into the death and resurrection of Jesus, we came with Thomas to say, “My Lord and My God”, we saw His Glorious Ascension, His being taken up into Heaven and seated at the right hand of God – This Sunday tries to put into focus – Who is Jesus Christ? Who is Jesus Christ for us? Who is Jesus Christ for me? Who is Jesus Christ for you? Who is Jesus Christ for Christians of the true faith? What does the Church say about Jesus?
That’s why we remember the Fathers of the First Council of Nicea in 326 A.D. because that’s the same question they answered once and for all in solemn council and decree. Our Creed – our profession of faith in who our God is and what He has done for us – comes from this early council. The First Council of Nicea stated our faith as we profess today in Jesus Christ:
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of God,
The only begotten,
Born of the Father before all ages.
Light of Light,
True God of true God,
Begotten, not made,
Of one substance with the Father
Through whom all things were made.
Who for us men and for our salvation,
Came down from heaven,
And was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and Mary the Virgin,
And became man.
He was also crucified for us under Pontius Pilate,
And was buried.
And He rose again on the third day, according to the scriptures.
And He ascended into heaven,
And sits at the right hand of the Father.
And He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead,
And of His kingdom there will be no end.
That’s what we believe and profess about Jesus.
In Jesus we see God.
In Jesus we know the Father.
In Jesus we come to know God’s love and forgiveness.
In Jesus we discover our own calling as sons and daughters of God.
In Jesus we have one who has taken upon Himself the burden of our sin and offered Himself in our stead.
In Jesus we have an advocate who sits at the right hand of God interceding for us constantly, who knows our weakness and our frailty.
In Jesus the Kingdom of God is established once and for all.
In Jesus we have a New Covenant with God.
In Jesus we receive the bread of life and the chalice of salvation.
He is our faith, our hope and our confidence before the Father.
Since the time of the Apostles, Jesus has been perceived as the supreme value; men and women of all ages have given their lives rather than betray their Lord. His love demands reverence, acknowledgement, awe, and thanksgiving. Jesus attracts us to Himself, inspiring familiarity and intimacy. He is the Holy One of God, who is higher, purer, demanding all that is best: the best sentiments, the best efforts, and the best hopes in us. In Jesus we have not simply an awareness, but action and life consistent with this awareness. The awareness that two times two makes four, or that water boils at a specific temperature leaves us neither better or worse; such an awareness belongs to the righteous and the unrighteous, to the ignorant and to the intelligent, to the genius and the simpleton. But when we experience the holy, the sacred awareness of the Son of God, in terms of beauty, or moral perfection, or a special intuition about the world and about life, that this awareness of Jesus makes some demand, effects some change in us, invites us somewhere, captivates us, seduces us.
And only to this Jesus do we fully and joyfully surrender our lives in faith. Is it any wonder that the traditional greeting among Orthodox Christians is: Glory to Jesus Christ! That recognition that God is revealed, made known, seen, comprehended, and embraced in Jesus Christ. We give God the Glory. And we can only respond: Glory forever!