How Dependent Are We on Jesus Christ?
JEHOVAH GOD is “the Father, to whom every family in heaven and on earth owes its name.” He is the Universal Sovereign Lord and the only one to whom our worship is to be properly directed.—Eph. 3:14, 15; Acts 4:24; Luke 4:8.
Nevertheless, we are totally dependent on Jesus Christ in our worship of Jehovah, as well as for any hope that we have of everlasting life. How could this be so?
It is because, originally, the human race alienated itself from God. In fact, the father of the race, Adam, sold his posterity into sin. (Rom. 7:14) The price he received for the “sale” was the doing of what he wanted to do in place of obeying his Creator’s instructions. He set out with his wife Eve for selfish enjoyment of living and running his affairs for his own pleasure. What this would mean to their offspring may have meant little to him.
We see a similarity in the attitude of some people today. They want to enjoy life for themselves, using dangerous drugs and committing immorality that can have a devastating effect on their children in the form of physical and mental abnormalities and loathsome diseases. But the present “pleasure” is all that counts with them. Others are not too concerned about trying to improve matters for the coming generation—enjoying their own life now is their pursuit.
HUMAN RACE NEEDED HELP FROM GOD
So humans from Adam’s time till now have been in a bad state, the sin inherited from this original father permeating them and increasing in the earth. (Rom. 5:12, 16) Their desperate situation was well expressed by the psalmist: “Not one of them can by any means redeem even a brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” No, the price was too “precious,” too high, as the psalmist stated.—Ps. 49:6-9.
But God was not defeated by this situation. He knew how to make salvation for mankind possible, and he had at hand the means for this. So, to Jehovah God goes the credit and praise as the Author and Arranger of our opportunity for life. But in this arrangement God himself made us all subject to his Son Jesus Christ. Everything that we get we receive because of God and through his Son. Even our prayers to God must be addressed in Christ’s name. (John 15:16; 16:23, 24) He is in complete charge of all humankind. Decision for life or death is in his hands. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” said Jesus.—John 14:6.
THE EXALTED POSITION Of JESUS CHRIST
As to our dependence on him in knowing and serving God, Jesus said: “All things have been delivered to me by my Father, and no one fully knows the Son but the Father, neither does anyone fully know the Father but the Son and anyone to whom the Son is willing to reveal him.” (Matt. 11:27) Just before he ascended to heaven he told his disciples: “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.” (Matt. 28:18) Since that time he has occupied a position on his Father’s throne.—Rev. 3:21.
Christ is also our great High Priest, though not a priest of the Jewish Aaronic priesthood. Of this latter, earthly priesthood, we read: “Many had to become priests in succession because of being prevented by death from continuing as such, but he [Jesus Christ] because of continuing alive forever has his priesthood without any successors. Consequently he is able also to save completely those who are approaching God through him, because he is always alive to plead for them.”—Heb. 7:23-25.
At this present time Christ Jesus is the one who judges us. He said: “The Father judges no one at all, but he has committed all the judging to the Son.” (John 5:22) Of course, he does this at the Father’s appointment and in full harmony with his Father’s will and laws. He is in constant association with his Father and, as he said: “The Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative, but only what he beholds the Father doing. For whatever things that One does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”—John 5:19.
Besides being a judge of the living, Jesus Christ has also been empowered to judge the dead. The Christian apostle Paul told the Athenians: “[God] has set a day in which he purposes to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and he has furnished a guarantee to all men in that he has resurrected him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31) In order for Jesus Christ to judge the dead, he must be able to summon them before him, and this he does by resurrecting them. He himself said: “Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.”—John 5:28, 29.
When will this be? This will be after the destruction of wicked humans at the “war of the great day of God the Almighty,” the binding and abyssing of Satan and his demons, and the start of Jesus Christ’s thousand-year reign. (Rev. 16:14; 19:11-21; 20:1-3) During this reign the human race is in the hands of Jesus Christ, and he judges them as to life—their attaining of perfection—or as to death—their meriting death because of failure to avail themselves of the provisions for life. The apostle Paul says that “he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. As the last enemy, death is to be brought to nothing.” (1 Cor. 15:25, 26) Christ has the authority to judge and the power to destroy those who are disobedient to God’s laws and who refuse to respect the kingly rulership that God has given him. He even does away with death. Since sin is the cause of death, he removes all Adamic sin from those who are obedient to him. (Rom. 6:23; 1 Cor. 15:56) He brings them to perfection, and when he pronounces them perfect, they will be as perfect as was the first man Adam when created. During the thousand years, Christ does all this work. And, in fact, he is doing all judging now.—John 5:30.
However, Christ does not do this for his own glorification. He does it all in order to present the perfected human race to Jehovah as righteous members of His universal family. For all things actually belong to God as Creator. (Rev. 4:11; Isa. 40:25, 26; Ps. 50:10-12) The account regarding the thousand-year reign of Christ reads: “Next, the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has brought to nothing all government and all authority and power,” and, “when all things will have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone.” (1 Cor. 15:24, 28) What joy Christ must have in anticipating this event!
Thus Jesus Christ will have nothing of which to be ashamed when he hands over the Kingdom to God, the real Subjugator of all things. But even after Jesus has finished his millennial reign with its judgment proceedings, it will still remain true that “God is the One who declares them righteous.” (Rom. 8:33) In harmony with this basic fact Jehovah now proceeds to put to the final test those whom Jesus Christ hands over to him in their human perfection. In order to have this decisive test applied, Satan and his demons are loosed from the abyss where they have been imprisoned for the thousand years. Then those who selfishly succumb to the test that these demons bring upon them will be annihilated in the “second death” from which there is no resurrection. (Rev. 20:7-15) On the other hand, those who maintain their integrity and loyally uphold Jehovah’s universal sovereignty will be rewarded. He will justify them or ‘declare them righteous’ and will bestow upon them the gift of everlasting life in their human perfection on a paradise earth.
THE NEED TO RECOGNIZE CHRIST’S POSITION NOW
Now, besides being High Priest, Jesus is Head of the Christian congregation. (Col. 1:18) While there are elders and “gifts in men” who are of great help to the members of the congregation, they are merely servants to minister to the needs of the family-like congregation. (Eph. 4:8; Luke 22:26; 1 Cor. 3:5) It must be remembered that they are not the head, the ‘masters over our faith,’ the ones from whom our spiritual food comes, but only fellow workers under Christ. (2 Cor. 1:24) The apostle Paul said: “No matter how many the promises of God are, they have become Yes [affirmed, fulfilled, realized] by means of him [Jesus Christ].” (2 Cor. 1:20) Also, ‘[Christ] has become to us wisdom from God, also righteousness and sanctification and release by ransom.’—1 Cor. 1:30.
We must therefore recognize Christ as real, not as in the background, but as present with us, as God’s chief representative alongside us to care for, strengthen and protect us at all times. We should realize his nearness. He will help us in difficult decisions. When we are confronted with severe opposition, he “will give [us] a mouth and wisdom, which all [our] opposers together will not be able to resist or dispute.”—Luke 21:15.
At John 6:51, Jesus Christ points out the dependence of the world of mankind on him in the words he spoke to the Jews: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread he will live forever; and, for a fact, the bread that I shall give is my flesh in behalf of the life of the world.”
During Christ’s millennial reign all his earthly subjects, those surviving the coming “great tribulation” and those resurrected from the dead, will be privileged to feed on this heavenly manna by exercising faith in the sacrifice of Christ’s perfect humanity, with everlasting life in view.—Rev. 7:14, 15; John 5:28, 29.
Consequently, we should keep in mind the position in which Jehovah has placed his Son. We should study his words in the Bible and be careful to observe his leadings. One who is an elder should always look to Christ’s leadership, his example, his direction and his words, as Head of the congregation.—Col. 1:18.
We remember at all times that Jehovah is the One to be worshiped, but that God has chosen to give honor to his Son. (John 5:23) The very purpose of Jesus in making his sacrifice and doing his work was to turn mankind to the true worship of Jehovah and to restore them to perfection, all to God’s glory. All this works for the happiness of humanity, whom God and his Son love and for whom God gave his Son. The Son willingly cooperated by suffering that we might live.—John 3:16.