Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Mystery of Revelation

Jesus Christ is the object of both Old Testament expectation and New Testament recollection. Christology is the Church’s attempt to summarize faithfully the biblical witness concerning who Jesus Christ is. In a way which expresses the mystery of God’s revelation without trying to solve it, the Church confesses that Jesus Christ is wholly divine and wholly human, that he was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary or, as John tells us, that “the Word became flesh” (1:14).

1. The Word Became Flesh
Jesus Christ is fully God because he is the Word or Son of God from all eternity. The one God exists in three ways of being: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It was God himself as the Son or Word who became flesh. The Word became flesh only because he freely chose to do so. His becoming flesh to reconcile us as sinners with God was a wholly miraculous act of grace. In becoming flesh, the Word wholly remained the one eternal word of God. Though begotten of the Father before all time, the Word was born of Mary in time, so we may rightly describe Mary as the mother of God. This description emphasizes the full humanity of Jesus Christ as well as the identity of this one man with the Word of God himself.

2. The Word Became Flesh
In becoming flesh, the Word of God did not become an angel, an animal, or humanity in general but a particular human being: Jesus of Nazareth. The Word did not stop being the Word but did start being the Word as this particular person. In contrast, the man Jesus never existed apart from the Word but only came into being as the Word became him at the moment he was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

At an even deeper level, by becoming flesh the Word assumed not just human nature as created good by God but human nature as corrupted by sin. In other words, by becoming flesh the Word wholly identified himself with us—his sworn enemies. Yet even in the flesh, the Word of God did what we could not do: he remained sinless, he remained a person free for God in humble obedience. He accepted God’s judgment and relied solely on God’s grace. He rejected the heroism we love.

In so doing, and because Jesus Christ is wholly divine and wholly human, he is God’s representative to us and the one who represents all human beings before God. As such he remains the revelation of God to us and the reconciliation of all human beings with God.

Copyright © 2019 by Steven Farsaci.

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