This article of the Apostles’ Creed looks to the future, affirming that Christ, who presently rules at the right hand of God, will serve as judge over all people. This judgement, argues Lutheran theologian Aegidius Hunnius (1550-1603) in his commentary on John 5:23, must be “conspicuous and visible,” as the one who has been given the power to judge has assumed human nature, and the final judgement makes manifest to all his authority over creation.


The other work which he holds out as superior to his miracles is to judge the whole world. For just as raising the dead is a more excellent work than the healing of a paralytic, so being the judge of the living and the dead goes beyond every human dignity. But the Father does not only show to the Son as he raises the dead, but he also made him the supreme judge. …

Now we are not putting all this together from uncertain guesses and inferences, but we hear it from the very mouth of Christ when he says in his defense that all judgment is given to the Son.

Why? “Because he is the Son of Man.” For the universal judgment of the whole world will be a visible deed and a manifest judgment. Thus the presider of that consistory or court will be conspicuous and visible. This is why judgment was not fitting for the Father, but for the Son, who alone was made Son of Man by his incarnation and assumed a human nature, by which he now received the right and power of making judgment. Therefore, although the Father also is a judge of all human beings, as Abraham says in Genesis 18[:25], nevertheless he surrendered the execution of that visible judgment to the Son because he is, no doubt, the Son of Man, who, when he appears in the clouds with a visible humanity, will make known with his voice and execute the sentence of final judgment for all eternity according to the power with which he is able to subject all things to himself.

John 1-12, ed. Craig S. Farmer, Reformation Commentary on Scripture, NT vol. 4, p. 174.