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Jesus, Human and Divine

Last week I posted an article, “Do People Understand What Jesus Does for Us?” In that article, I discussed Jesus’ action to save us from our sins. My inspiration for that article came from Clear and Simple: How to Have Conversations That Lead to Conversion by Andre Regnier (Ottawa, Canada: Catholic Christian Outreach. 2018).

Now, I would like to offer some reflection on another idea presented by Regnier in this book. He discusses how many people profess faith in some way without really knowing “what they are saying “yes” to” (37). He calls their “yes” a “naive yes” (37), that it “lacks love or any kind of personal dimension. It is not the kind of assent Christ is asking for” (38).

What does your “yes” to God mean? How strong is your yes?

It is unfortunate that some people don’t take faith seriously. Everyone wants to get into Heaven but they want to do so on their own terms. This is nothing new. The Jews who opposed Jesus wanted a messiah but they wanted one according to their expectations. In the Old Testament, many prophets were persecuted when they called the people to repent and change their lives. People didn’t want to have to change.

Regnier goes on in his book to discuss how people seem to have lost, even denied the “divinity of Christ.” He points that without the “divinity of Christ, most everything we believe in crumbles” (75). Without his divinity, Jesus is just another human being. One might still consider Jesus a prophet but people have a history of not listening to prophets.

Jesus is divine.

There was much discussion of the two natures of Jesus in the first five centuries of Christianity. Is Jesus human? Is Jesus divine? Could He be both?

Jesus is both. In his days walking on Earth, Jesus was human and divine. Nothing changes that. However, in our human struggle to understand this, it took four to five centuries of the Church listening to the Holy Spirit to come to understand this.

There was much intellectual discussion about the two natures of Jesus Christ. However, believing in the two natures of Christ is not simply an intellectual question (cf. 93). It also requires conversion of “heart and will” (36). We must allow ourselves to be moved by the Holy Spirit.

If the Church spent four or five centuries working on understanding the two natures of Christ, where do we find what they came to know?

It is spoken every Sunday at Mass. It is the Creed. Here, I speak of the Nicene Creed. (The Apostles’ Creed is also an option for Sunday Mass but I look to the Nicene Creed for its fuller expression of the question of the divinity of Jesus).

Yes, Jesus is human. As we recite in the Creed, Jesus, through the Holy Spirt “was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man.” There is our faith in Jesus’ humanity.

What about his divinity? This too is found in the Creed. Jesus is identified as:

the Only Begotten Son of God,
 born of the Father before all ages.
 God from God, Light from Light,
 true God from true God,
 begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father.

Jesus and God (along with the Holy Spirit as described later in the Creed) are one, “God from God, Light from Light.” Jesus is “consubstantial” with the Father, meaning they are of the same substance. We struggle to understand this in our humanity but we believe it in faith.

Why is it important for us to believe in Jesus’ divinity as well as his humanity? It is in his humanity that He suffered for us. It is in his divinity that we are saved through his suffering (for more on his suffering, see my recent article, “What Was the Worst Part of Jesus’ Suffering?”). It is because we know of his divinity that we know what He teaches comes from God. What Jesus teaches is not the teaching of one human being. It is the teaching of God. We should listen.

It is in believing that Jesus is fully human and fully divinity and knowing that He died so that we might have entire life that we find serenity (see my recent article “The Serenity Prayer”).

Peace,

Fr. Jeff
P.S. For more on the Creed, check out my five-part video series, We Profess, We Believe.

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