THE SWEDISH CATHOLIC CHURCH JESUS MANIFESTO
We rejoice over this and view this newly discovered unity as a gift of the Spirit but also as a commission we are obligated to fulfil. We must share our common faith with all those and there are many in our land who have never discovered Jesus as Saviour and friend and who have never understood that in Him God has revealed His truth.
something that is True in a world of subjective opinions and thoughts! Jesus
himself says that he is "The Way, the Truth and the Life" (John
Unfortunately there are Christians who have lost the understanding of the Bible's and the Christian faith's claims of truth. This gives us sorrow.
This has also given us the reason for writing this Jesus Manifesto. We want to try to describe briefly what we see as unique and essential in Christianity and to express our respect and reverence for the message of the Bible.
For us the meaning of life is to believe on Jesus Christ, who from all eternity is the Father's only begotten Son, but is born into time and history by a virgin.
When the early Church summarized its message about Jesus in the Apostles' Creed, it was entirely convinced that in a unique sense Jesus was "God's only begotten Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary ...".
We rely entirely on the fact that what the New Testament tells about him, and what the early Christian Church summarizes in the Confessions of Faith, is really true. The fact that in the Mediterranean culture of that time poetry, myth and legend were used to describe reality does not mean that the authors of the New Testament had the same approach.
Historical events had an entirely different significance in the world of Hebrew thought. Jesus' thought and speech bears little resemblance to that of his surroundings. In contrast, what we might call the "New Age" of that time has many striking similarities with the "New Age" today. The first Christians believed fully and firmly that what the evangelists wrote about Jesus had actually happened. So do we.
Both the Old and the New Testaments speak about a God whose most essential being transcends all that we are able to understand. But this God makes Himself known through perceptible and concrete events in history. He reveals himself as a God of love, who wants the best for people. He intervenes in the course of nature and time through miracles, signs and mighty works. In the Old Covenant He leads his people Israel out of slavery in Egypt, through the desert and into the Promised Land. The miracles contain a symbolic and deeper message they are signs of God's care for his people but if we are not open to the fact that they actually happened, we also miss the message.
We believe in a God who intervenes in the course of the world and turns history into salvation history. God enters into the midst of the ordinary life we live to heal and save us weak and vulnerable people.
When the Gospels relate Jesus' miracles and signs, we rely on the fact that they actually took place. They help us to trust in the Saviour who heals the sick and raises the dead to life, in the Good Shepherd who heals sinners and forgives those who betray Him.
When Jesus walks
on the water, quiets the storm, makes water into wine and transforms wine into
his blood and bread into His flesh (see John
If all this is simply a poetic or mystical message, then it remains poetry and myth. If it has really taken place, then it is a revolutionary message of joy.
The fact that, as so many witnesses affirm, Jesus really has risen from the dead gives us the basis to believe in our own eternal salvation.
The importance of
the question of the truth to the apostles in this connection is made especially
clear, when St. Paul, after having referred to the many witnesses and rebuked
those who said that there is no resurrection from death, says: "But if Christ
has not risen, then your faith is meaningless, and you are still in your sins.
And those who have died in the faith in him are lost. If our hope in Christ is
valid only in this life, we are of all men most to be pitied" (I Corinthians
Belief in God's incarnation in Jesus Christ "And the Word became flesh!" and in his bodily resurrection "The Lord is risen indeed!" is the basis for our faith.
All men of good will can stumble toward a type of faith in God through reading Nature's book and reflecting on our human existence. The other religions hold great treasures of wisdom and truth. But the full truth and revelation of God is found only in Jesus Christ. The Bible's message about Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world and of each person is trustworthy.
It is therefore with both great humility and frankness that we want to testify that every individual person can learn to know Jesus as his Saviour through faith and baptism. He not only was, but is and shall be the only way to fellowship with God. He leads us to His and our Father in the power of the Spirit. We want to build our entire lives on Him.