Christ Centered

Photo by Luo ping on Unsplash

We claim to be “Christ-Centered”. And in our reading of Holy Writ we teach that the Scriptures all point to Christ, and that he is their fulfillment.

We catch our clues from Scripture itself. For instance, Jesus is recorded to have said to the religious authorities of his day, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me” (Jn. 5:39). And many of those leaders refused to come to Jesus that they might have life.

Even Jesus’ handpicked followers had trouble connecting the dots. They were hopeful that Jesus might be the long-awaited Jewish Messiah prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures. Certainly the great signs and wonders Jesus performed lent credibility to this hope. But when the Master started to talk about his suffering and death, they began to have doubts. They did not know that the vocation of Isaiah’s Suffering Servant was to be equated with the conquering Messianic King. They never imagined suffering and death as a means of victory. They were not anticipating a Suffering Messiah dying an atoning and substitutionary death.

But starting with Genesis, the first Book of the Bible, God’s master plan for his creation is laid out. You have the account of a good creation corrupted by sin, and then the Lord God going immediately to work to redeem and restore it. Already you have Jesus pointed to in chapter three when the Lord God speaks to the serpent, that is the devil, that the seed of the woman would deliver a fatal blow to him. Then in chapter 12 you have the election of Abraham and his descendants chosen for a special vocation to bless all people. And by Genesis’ end you have the future seed of the woman hinted at in Jacob’s blessing to Judah and his tribe.

Space does not permit me to continue. But consider the Apostle Paul’s words, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Ro. 10:17). Indeed, we are Christ centered!

Since You Asked…

What does the Pastor’s Stole signify? (the stole is the colored strip of cloth that loops around the back of the neck and hangs from both shoulders)

The stole represents a yoke such as would be used to link and employ an ox with a plow or cart. When a work animal is yoked to a task, that animal comes under the rule and guidance of its master. As Christians we are to be yoked to Christ (cf. Mt. 11:28-30). We are to fear, love, serve, and obey the Lord Jesus Christ. The Pastor’s stole is therefore not only a sign of ordination in the Lutheran Church, but it visibly reminds the whole congregation of our servant hood to Christ.