October 3, 2007
by Fr. Michael Bazzi
Theology for beginners
Oct. –Nov. 2007-10-01
- Christology in O.T. and N.T.
- We believe in one God ( The Holy Trinity )
- We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ.
- Jesus God and Man.
- Jesus one Person in Divine and human natures
- Salvation through Jesus Christ.
Fr. Michael J. Bazzi
كريستولوجيا: دراسة عن شخص يسوع
ت1 –ت2 -2007
1- الكريستولوجيا فى الكتاب المقدس (العهد القديم والجديد)
2- نؤمن باله واحد ضابط الكل (الثالوث الأقدس)
3- وبرب واحد يسوع المسيح ابن الله الوحيد
4- يسوع المسيح اله وانسان فى ان واحد
5- يسوع المسيح شخص واحد فى طبيعتين ( الالهية والانسانية)
6- لا خلاص الا بيسوع المسيح
القس ميخائيل بزي
Theology for Beginners
God Became Man
The supreme truth about the savior, for which the chosen people were wholly prepared, was that he was God. To effect the redemption of the world, God became man. The inner meaning of God’s plan, what made it redemptive, we shall not discuss yet. When we have seen what he did, we shall be in a better position to grasp how it met the situation created by Adam’s first sin, and worsened by all the sins with which men hastened to follow Adam’s. we must concentrate our attention upon what actually happened.
God became man. Not the Trinity, but the second person of the Trinity, the Son, the Word became man. Reread the opening verses of St. John’s Gospel. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by him….And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” Here we find the fact-that it was the second person who became man. And we find the reason-“all things were made by him.”
Glance back at page 39, where appropriation is discussed. Creation as a work of omnipotence, bringing something into existence of nothing, is appropriated to God the Father. But the order of the universe, as a work of wisdom, is appropriated to the Son. The order has been wrecked, and a new order must be made; it was the Son who made it.
To make it, he became man. Read the first chapter of St. Matthew and the first two of St. Luke. A virgin, Mary, conceived a son; at the time, she was betrothed, and soon after was married, to Joseph, a carpenter. The child thus conceived was God the Son. The second person of the Trinity, already and externally existent in his own divine nature, now took human nature in Mary’s womb.
His conception was virginal; he had a human mother but no human father; that which in ordinary conception is produced by the action of the father was in this instance was produced by a miracle of the power of God. He grew in the womb like any other child, and in due course was born into our world in Bethlehem, near Jerusalem. He was named Jesus, and came to be called Christ, which means the Anointed.
Of the next thirty years of his life we know little. When he was twelve occurred the only incident we are told-namely, his separation from his parents and their finding him in the Temple (Lk 2:44-51). He was a carpenter, in Nazareth, further north in Galilee. Then came the three years of his public life. He traveled over Palestine with the twelve followers he had chosen, the Apostles. He preached of God and man, of the Kingdom, and of himself as its founder; by every kind of miracle, of healing especially, he showed that God was guaranteeing the truth of his utterance. He was unsparing in his denunciation of the sinfulness of the religious leaders of the Jewish people. They could only want his death, and he gave them the pretext on which, in the name of true religion, they might kill him. For he claimed to be, not Messiah only, but God.
Upon a charge of blasphemy, they persuaded the Roman governor of Judea to crucify him.
He was nailed to a cross on a hill called Calvary for three hours until he died. He was buried, and on the third day he rose again. For forty days more he appeared among his Apostles, then ascended into the sky until a cloud hid him from their gaze. In his death, resurrection, and ascension mankind is redeemed. That is the story of our redemption in barest outline. We must try to see its meaning, or as much of its meaning as is graspable this side of death.
The first step is to pierce as deep as we may into the being of Christ our Lord. And for this we must read the Gospels. The newcomer to theology, even if he is not a newcomer to Gospel reading, should at this point in his study do what G.K. Chesterton advised-he should embark upon a reading of the Gospels as though we had never read them before, almost indeed as though he had never heard the story before. He must make the considerable effort to read what is there.
Two things especially make it difficult for us to read what is there. The first is extreme brevity of the four accounts. They are intensely concentrated, packed with meaning. We must learn to read them slowly, comparing one part with another, trying to see what they narrate or describe, living them as we read them.
The second is that we think we know it already. This can be a real obstacle to our hearing what the Gospels are actually saying. We flip through the first and second chapter of St. Luke with a vague memory of Christmas cribs, Christmas carols, and Christmas cards. We move as inattentively through the first four accounts of the passion and death of Our Lord with the feeling that we have been through it all a thousand times in the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.
Above all, we bring to the reading the popular picture of Our Lord as a nice kind man, easily pushed around, always turning the other cheek, happiest when patting small children’s heads. So strong a grip has this imaginary portrait that it can prevent us meeting the strong and complex Christ who is actually there.
Our Lord as we Meet Him
We must read, then, with the determination to meet Our Lord for ourselves, as he is. A reader coming wholly new to the story, not even thinking he had heard it before, would certainly become aware, after a while, of what I may call a double stream both of word and action. At times Our lord is speaking and acting simply as man-a great man, an extraordinary man, but not more than a man. But at other times he says things and does things that go beyond the human; what he says and does is either a claim to be superhuman, or is utterly meaningless. Nor will the word “superhuman” long suffice. He says things that only God could say, do things that only God could do.
I shall attempt to illustrate this double stream in detail.
To get real value from the experience, each one should live through it for himself in the Gospels. In a way he will be living through the anguished questioning of the Apostles in the years they were with him. At one moment they felt he must be more than man; the feeling would fade only to return stronger, and perhaps fade again, but always revive.
Our Lord does not tell them at the beginning. The truth that the carpenter with whom they now lived so familiarly, whom they saw hungry and thirsty and weary, was the God by whom all things were made, was not one to be tossed casually to them or hurled violently at them. These men truly believed in God, had God’s infinite majesty as the very background of all their lives. They must be made ready to receive the truth which, presented too suddenly, would have shattered them.
So Our Lord does not tell them at once. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that he brings them to the point where they tell him – to Peter’s “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Mt 16:16), to Thomas’s “My Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28). Yet, from time to time, he did make statements which could only be a claim to be God.
Quite early came “No one knows the Son but the Father and no one knows the Father but the Son” (Mt 11:27; Lk 10:22). This is a statement of equality (and if you glance back at the section on the Blessed Trinity, you will see that it is precisely the Father’s knowledge which generates the Son). Here and there as the story proceeds come other statements-note especially, “Before Abraham was made, I am” (Jn 8:58), and “The Father and I are one” (Jn 10:30)
The Apostles heard these things—heard him forgiving sins and supplementing the law God had given to Moses, always as one having in himself total authority; saw the miracles which were the divine guarantee of his message. Yet they hesitated.
Knowing the answer we may tend to marvel at their slowness. But, as so often happens, what kept them from the answer was that they phrased the question wrongly. They came to ask, “was he man or was he god?” so much evidence for each possibility, and how were they to know that he was both? Who would have known that as a possibility, if it had not happened? What indeed does it mean, that one person should be man and god? The theology of he Incarnation must be our next consideration, what It means that the Word became flesh. Never think of this as mere theology, a proper occupation for learned men, but too remote for us. Until we have entered deeply into it, we shall not understand anything our lord said or did; we shall not have the beginning of Our own redemption.
Christ: God and Man
Understanding what Christ is —-in so far as a beginning of understanding may be made here below—is essential to understanding what he does. We can, of course, decide no to bother with understanding, to build our whole spiritual life upon love and obedience. This attitude may be at best profound intellectual humility, at worst total intellectual unconcern. Either way it is impoverishment, a refusal of nourishment which the soul should have. To be willing to die for the truth that Christ is God is a glorious thing, but there is no glory in holding the phrase simply as a phrase, the riches in it never made our own.
Christ was a carpenter, the sort of man whom any of he neighbors could have called upon to make a plough or a door frame. There was one such in every village of Palestine. What was special about this one is that at the same he was infinite God, who had made all things of nothing (including the customer whose order he was executing, including indeed his own body and soul), who enlightened every man that came into this world. To say as much as this is to speak a mystery. We must begin to know what we are saying.
The key to our making the reality our own lies in the distinction between person and nature. At this point it would be a good idea to reread pages 28-31, where these terms are examined for the light shed upon the doctrine of the Trinity. We may repeat some points of the distinction here. The nature anything has decides what it is. To take the example closest to us, we who possess a human nature, a union of spiritual soul and matter, are men. But nature, though it answers the question what, does not answer the question who. Inn every rational nature there is a mysterious something which says “I”—that is the person (and this is true not only for man, but for every angel, and as we have seen, for God himself). That which says “I” is the person is the answer to the question who any rational being is.
There is further distinction. Nature decides what a being can do; but the person does it. My soul and body make all sorts of actions possible to me, but I do them. Whatever is done, suffered, experienced in a rational nature is done, suffered, experienced by the person whose nature it is.
Left to ourselves, we might simply assume that each person has one nature; each nature (if it happens to be rational) has one person. We have already seen how wrong we should be if we made that assumption; it is simply one more way of treating man as the measure of all. In God there is one nature, totally possessed by three distinct persons. The plurality of persons over nature is reversed in Christ Our Lord, for in him the person is one, the natures are two.
That one person who in Christ said “I” is the second person of the Blessed Trinity, God the Son, God the Word. Christ is not the first person or the third or all three (in their profound way theologians have discussed all these theoretical possibilities for an Incarnation different from Christ’s). We have already seen why, when the first order of creation was wrecked, it fell to God the Son to make the new order. To make it he became man; he who from eternity possessed he divine nature did, at a point of time, take to himself and make his own a human nature, a body conceived of a woman, a soul specially created by God as our souls were.
Because Christ our Lord, uniquely, had two natures, he could give two answers to question ‘What are you?” _ for nature decides what a person is. And he had two distinct principles, sources we may say, of action. By the one nature he could do all that goes with being God_ he could read the heart of man, for instance; he could raise Lazarus to life. By the other he could do all that belongs to being man _ he could be born of a mother, could hunger and thirst, could suffer, and could die.
But whether he was doing the things of God or the things of man, it was always the person who did them. Actions are always done by the person, and in him there was but one person. Everything he did down to the smallest, in itself most commonplace, human act_ was done by God.
Every single action of Christ was the action of the second person of the Blessed Trinity, and this includes every action done by him in his human nature. For natures are sources of action, but not doers. It is always the person who does them, and in his human nature there was but one single person, and that person God. There was no human person, for that would have made him two people, each with his own distinct nature. His human nature was complete. But it was united to a divine person, not a human person. He who said” I” in it was God, not man.
We may make this clearer by glancing at two great Christian truths_ Mary was the mother of God, God died upon the cross.
I remember the first time a street-corner heckler said to me: “If Mary was the mother of God, she must have existed before God.” I was a newcomer to the outdoor work of the Catholic Evidence Guild, and I simply gaped at him. In a superior voice he went on:” You realize, of course, or don’t you, that mothers come before sons?” The immediate answer, though I didn’t handle the question very brilliantly at the time, is that mothers must exist before their sons are born; and Our Blessed Lady did exist before the second person of the Trinity was born into human nature; that this one Son already existed in his divine nature does not alter the truth that it was in her womb that he was conceived as man, from her womb born into our world. His eternal existence as Son of his heavenly Father does not by one jot diminish what she gave him. There is nothing received by any human being from his mother which he did not receive from her.
There are spiritual souls outside the Church which find it unbearable that a woman should be mother of God: for many such the way of escape is to speak of her as mother of the human nature of Christ. But natures do not have mothers. He who was born of her as man was God the Son. She was as totally his mother as yours is yours or mine is mine.
The other truth we shall consider in this connection is that God died upon the cross. Here again I am reminded of another street-corner question of about the same vintage: “You say that God died upon the cross; what happened to the universe while God was dead?” The suggestion is made that it was not God who died on the Calvary, but the humanity of Christ. But in death, it is always someone who dies, a person; and upon Calvary’s cross, only one person hung. God the Son in the manhood that was his.
Thus it was God the Son who died_not, of course, in his divine nature, which cannot know death and which holds the universe in existence, but in the human nature which was so utterly his. Death, remember, does not for any one of us mean annihilation. It means the separation of soul and body, a separation at the Last Judgment will be ended. Upon Calvary, the body that was God the Son’s was separated from the soul that was likewise his. And on the third day thereafter they were united again. In his human nature God the Son rose from the death which in his human nature had been his.
In our reading of the Gospels, it is vital that we should never forget that every word uttered and action performed by Christ is uttered and performed by God the Son. With the words, perhaps even more than with the actions, we shall find sayings we are often tempted to call hard. The one person said “I,” in the divine nature and in the human nature, in an infinite nature and a finite nature. He could say,” I and the Father are one”; he could say, “The father is greater than I”; he could say,” Father, if it be your will let this cup pass from me”; he could say,” My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”_ It is the same person uttering the truth of distinct natures, but asserting each nature as truly his own.
We shall look further into this, meanwhile note that one value of reading the Gospel as I have urged is the new light the reading will cast for us upon God himself. We tend to think of the truth “Christ is God” as a piece of information about Christ, and so it is. But we shall suffer loss if we fail to see it also as information about God. Apart form it, we should know God as far as our minds are capable of seizing him, in his own divine nature. We should know him, for instance, as creator of all things from nothing. Although this is true, it is just a little remote, since we have no experience of creating anything from nothing. But reading the Gospel we see God in our nature, coping with our world, meeting situations known to us. Outside Christianity there is nothing to compare with the intimacy of this knowledge. It is ours for the having. It is a wonderful thing to see God being God, so to speak; but there is a special excitement in seeing God being man.
The second person of the Trinity became man. Grasp the precision of this. He did not take human nature as a mask which, when the play was over, he would triumphantly strip off. He is man is heaven and everlastingly. Nor did he simply take the appearance of a man, like the angel who guided Tobias. He did not take humanity like a garment that he could wear or an instrument that he could use. It was not simply that there were certain things he had to do which required that he must have a human body and human soul at his disposal, and that once these things were done the whole point of having them would cease.
He became man. He is as truly entitled to the name as we are. As we read the Gospels, there is one single element which might make us wonder if he were wholly man_ He does not sin. He himself challenges: “Who shall convict me of sin?”; and the Epistle to the Hebrews can say (4:15) he was “tempted in all things like as we are, without sin,” or, in Monsignor Knox’s translation:” He had been through every trial, fashioned as we are, only sinless.” But sin is not a way of being man; it is a way of misusing manhood. We misuse ours often enough; he never misused his. So he was more completely man than we.
This completeness has been a profound trouble to great numbers of Christians. To them it was a beginning of trouble that God should have become man at all, but somehow they accepted it_ always with the feeling that he did not really do it in its totality. Somehow they felt that the dignity of God would be safeguarded by some want of completeness in the humanity he assumed. Thus very early the Docetists taught that his body was only an appearance, whereas St. Peter had said (1 Pt 2:24), “Who his own self bore our sins in his body upon the Tree.” But the Docetists were only a kind of crude beginning. What really started heresy after heresy was the desire to escape, not from Our Lord’s body, but from his soul.
There were those who said that he had no human soul, his divinity performing the functions of a soul in the body where in he redeemed us. The Church remembered the terrible phrase he uttered in the Garden of Gethsemane: “My soul is sorrowful even unto death.” May more people admitting the soul, denied it intellect or will. Both these faculties are worth a closer look, if we are to grasp at once the completeness and the mysteriousness of our Lord’s humanity.
As God, Christ Our Lord was omniscient, he knew all things, and his knowledge was infinite. What could such a person do with a finite intellect, which would only learn some tiny fraction of the things he already knew? In fact he did, and did with joy, all that could be done with it, for he was truly man. His body was real, and his senses were real; through them the external world made its way to his brain very much as it does to ours; and his human intellect proceeded to work upon their evidence as human intellects are meant to. The person who in one nature knew all things did, at St. Luke tell us; in the other nature grow in wisdom. Technically this is called experimental knowledge; in addition, the Church tells us, he had by God’s gift two other ways of knowing: infused knowledge, of the kind the prophets had, God forming directly in their minds knowledge needed for the work he has sent them to do; and the Beatific Vision, the direct knowledge of God we shall all have in heaven. Observe that both are kinds of knowledge that the human soul can receive.
Towards the end of the fifth century the Monothelites began to teach that while Our Lord had a human intellect, he had no human will. (This was the heresy which cause a Council of the Church to condemn Pope Honorious_after his death_ for not condemning it with due vigor.) In a sense it is simply another form of the objection against Our Lord’s finite intellect. He himself answered it in Gethsemane when he prayed to his father,” Nor my will but thine be done.” There was never disharmony between the finite will and the infinite, but one was not the other.
The real horror of this heresy, little as its adherents saw it, is that it would mean that the human heart of Christ lacked the power to love. For love is act of the will; and whatever mystery there may be in imagining a person with an infinite intellect and a finite, an infinite will and a finite, it is simply mystery. It does not horrify us like the bleakness of a human soul that could not love.
We have begun to think of the love of our Lord’s human soul. It was, as human love must be to be wholly itself, love of God and love of man. The Gospels are filled with both.
What needs to be said about this love of man can be said quickly_ it is the one thing that every Christian knows about him, in fact that everyone knows about him. But we have seen earlier a common misunderstanding. He is not a merely amiable person who goes round telling people he loves them. In fact, he hardly ever tells anyone that. There is not a trace of sentimentality in him, no sugar at all. His speech is abrupt, realistic, not often melting. It was not from his speech that men learned his love for them; it was above all from his actions. But learn it they did; and it was one of his disciples who uttered what is perhaps the most wonderful phrase of all religion, “God is love.” St. John was combining the two truths he had come to know, that Christ is God and Christ is love.
What will startle the reader coming new to the Gospels is the intensity of Our Lord’s devotion to his Father in heaven. The first words recorded of him are,” Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” his last words on the cross were,” Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” He speaks to or of his Father scores of times. more than once we are told that he went apart from the Apostles to pray to his heavenly Father.
Here we come to the third form of a difficulty which we have already considered twice. How can a person pray, when he is himself God? Every act of Our Lord, whether in the divine nature or the human, was the act of the person that he was. When Christ prayed, it was the second person of the Trinity who prayed. And prayer is, of its very essence, the utterance of finite creature to the infinite God. Once again we face mystery, yet some small gleam of light we can get. It is the function, the duty of a person to utter his nature; having taken and made his own a human nature, God the Son must utter it, and this includes uttering its adoration and thanksgiving and petition. But realize that though it was truly human prayer, it could not be simply as the prayer of men who are no more than men. Our Lord could teach his Apostles to pray; but we do not find him praying with them.
Because he had a real soul and a real body, Our Lord had real emotions too. Love, for instance, can be perfectly real simply as the total turning of the will to the good of others, without having any emotional accompaniment. Angels, we are told, love like that. But it is an odd man who has never known the emotion of love, a man, in that at least, not like Our Lord. He loved, and must have shown his love, since one of his disciples_St. John_ is especially “the disciple whom Jesus loved”; and one gets a strong sense of his love for the family at Bethany. Lazarus and Martha and Mary.
He wept too_ not only over dead Lazarus but over Jerusalem. And he could storm in anger. The long attack quoted by St. Matthew (ch 23) upon the Pharisees is the very high point of invective, stimulating perhaps to us who are not Pharisees, but terrifying to every man who has ever examined his own conscience.
The temptation is to continue with the man we meet in the Gospels. Let us consider one final question which in a way is a summarization of what we have been discussing. What does a person who is God do with a human soul?
Clearly he does with it all that can be done with it, using every power it has to the uttermost of its possibility. And that is something that no merely human person has ever done. Most of us use our minds when we have to, under compulsion so to speak, and not very brilliantly. The geniuses of our race are a constant reminder of our own mediocrity. But not the greatest genius does all with his soul that can, by the uttermost use of its own possibilities, be done. In fact, men do show a certain development in their realization of the human soul’s possibilities; there have been very considerable advances in the last hundred years in the understanding of the mind’s powers. Men have glimpsed the possibilities of a profounder control, for instance, of soul over body. Our Lord had to wait for none of this, for he had made that soul of his, and it had no hidden surprises for him. He knew what it could do.
He could do all that could be done with his human soul_ but not more. We have seen that man’s destiny is to do something which by nature he cannot do_ see the face of God. He cannot do it, not because his own use of his nature is defective, but because unaided human nature cannot do it. That superb, that incomparable soul of Christ was given sanctifying grace. It was indwelt by the Holy Spirit, so that indwelling became a new thing. And that is the indwelling which is ours.
Suffering and Death
Once we have come to some understanding of who and what the Redeemer is, we are in a better condition to see into the meaning of the redemption.
For the state from which humanity needed to be redeemed it would be well to reread the section on the Fall of Man. Here we may summarize briefly the principal element in it. Owing to sin and its origin, the race had lost its union with God; a breach lay between. Where God and man had been at one, they were now at two: till at-one-ment, atonement, was made, heaven was closed to the race’s members.
God could, of course, have simply written off the race as a failure. He could, as simply, have forgiven the sin. He did neither. He chose that the sin committed in human nature should be expiated in human nature.
For the act by which Christ redeemed us was a wholly human act. The life he offered as sacrifice was his human life; an offering of the divine life would have been meaningless. The suffering was in his soul and body; the death was the separation of his soul and body.
In him, humanity gave its all, holding back nothing. Here was a total obedience as against the disobedience of man’s sin, a total acceptance and self-surrender as against the thrust and self-assertion of man’s sin. And all this was wholly in human nature.
But he who preformed the act was God. Actions, we have seen, are always in the nature, but the person does them; and the person whose human nature this was, in whose human nature all this was done, was, is, God the Son. Because he was truly man, his sacrifice was truly human, so that it could be set against the sin of the race. But because he was God, his act had an infinite value, by which it compensated, outweighed, not only all the sin men ever had committed but all they ever could. That, in essence, is why it is redemptive.
Every act of Christ was infinite in value because he who performed it was God. Why then did he offer his death and not some lesser act_ the tears, for example, that he shed over Jerusalem? It is always perilous to think one knows why God does one thing and not another. His ways are unsearchable, our mind is not his.
But the least we can say that had he chosen some offering less than his life, there would have been a permanent feeling in the mind of man_ not dissatisfaction exactly, but not total satisfaction either. We should have been left with the sense that in our redemption Christ’s human nature had played only a token part, leaving the infinity of the divine person to do the whole work. Whereas he chose that his human nature should give its all, leaving the person to provide only the infinite value which human nature by itself never could provide.
Observe the words “he chose.” No man could inflict death upon him against his will. He says that he will “lay down” his life for his sheep. “I am laying down my life to take it up again afterwards. Nobody can for me of it; I lay it down of my own accord” (Jn 10:17-18). He did not choose that men should slay him, of course. But since men willed to slay him because he had fearlessly spoken the word of God against them, he chose to let them do the worst that was in them. Through love, he himself would be the victim offered in sacrifice; they would slay him, he would offer his death for the sins of all men, including his slayers.
It is essential at this point to reread what Matthew (ch 26), Mark (ch 14), and Luke (ch 22) have to tell us of the Agony in the Garden. In Luke (22:37) we have the key to an understanding of what was to happen there and on Calvary. Jesus says a phrase of Isaiah_ “He was numbered among the malefactors”_ must be fulfilled in him. It was a way of referring to the whole passage in which the phrase occurred. So we read Isaiah 53_ a short chapter in which we came upon “Despised and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows …..he has borne our infirmities and carried our sorrow…he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins; the chastisement of our peace was upon him and by his bruises we are healed…..The Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all. He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened not his mouth; he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter.”
He would take upon himself the sins of men that the offering he made of himself might be real expiation. In Gethsemane we get some glimpse of what the taking meant to him. For nothing he does is fiction or pretence. He could not make his own the guilt of other men’s sins, for guilt can be only in the sinner. But he took the burden of them, the weight_ above all, the weight of the sorrow that we, all men, should have felt for our sins and have not felt. It all but killed him.
He prayed to his Father, “Let this cup pass from me, yet not my will be done but yours.” He was praying to be spared not torture and crucifixion but the weight of all humanity’s sinfulness, including your and mine.
His Father, answering his agonized prayer, sent an angel “to comfort him”_ “comfort” meaning “strengthen.” For that hour he lived. Death waited for Calvary.
Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension
In the ordinary of the Mass a grouping of words occur which, unless we realize that no word is wasted, we might simply take it our stride, not noticing the remarkable thing it is saying. (I for one thus took it in my stride for thirty years or thereabouts.)
After the consecration the priest says that we offer the sacrifice in memory, not of Christ’s passion only, but also of his Resurrection from the grave and, as well, of his glorious Ascension into heaven.
The Resurrection is not simply a sign that one man has conquered death; the Ascension is not simply a way of letting the Apostles know that their Christ had really left this world. Both have their function, along with Calvary, in our redemption. Both belong to the completeness of the sacrifice by which the breach between the race and God was healed, grace was made available in a new abundance and a new richness, heaven was opened to the members of the race.
Let us pause a moment upon this Sacrifice. For us it is of all actions the highest, since by it our race was redeemed. From the beginning, men, though they did not know what ultimately would be wrought by it, had yet seen sacrifice as the highest act of religion. It was a public act, performed by one for the people; by it something was withdrawn from man’s personal use, made sacred, offered to God in profession that all that man had was God’s.
Of course, that a man should offer is not the whole story; unless God approves and accepts, all is vain. There were occasions in the Old Testament where God showed his approval publicly _as by sending fire from heaven upon the offering.
But only in the supreme sacrifice of our redemption does God show his approval and acceptance publicly, totally. In restoring him to life, God gives the visible sign that the priest who offered his own body and blood in a sacrifice was wholly pleasing to him .In the Ascension God shows visibly that he is actually taking to himself that which has been offered to Him.
Christ Ascends to his Father, to be with him forever, with the marks of his sacrifice still in his body, but now glorious_ the everlasting reminder that man’s sin has been expiated, that the breach has been closed between God and men that they are again, as they were in the beginning, at one. So the Epistle to the Hebrews (7:25) shows Christ in heaven, “ever living to make intercession for us.”
At the Last Supper, Our Lord had told the Apostles that he must go; and, answering their anguish, he gives as the all sufficient reason that if he does not go, the Holy Spirit will not come. For Christ, everything is in that. The order broken by Adam’s sin has been reestablished, or rather, a better order has been established; that was for the second person. Now is the time for such a rich flowing of gifts as the souls of men have never known. And gifts are the fruit of love, and so are appropriated to the third person, who within the Blessed Trinity is the uttered love of the first person and the second.
At the Last Supper Christ had promised his followers that when he went to the Father, he would send the Holy Spirit. At the Ascension, on the point of going to the Father, he told them to return to Jerusalem, and await the Holy Spirit’s coming: who ten days later descended upon them_ on Pentecost (the word means “fiftieth,” summing the forty days from Resurrection to Ascension, and the ten days from that).
Before proceeding to the great question of how we are to be made partakers of Christ’s redemptive act, we may cast a brief glance at the vanquished in the great conflict fought upon Calvary, the one who had been victorious in that first conflict in the dawn of our history_ Satan.
It has already been noted that as the Passion draws near, Our Lord is continually conscious of the Enemy, mentioning Satan again and again. Satan was conscious of Christ too, but he did not know Christ as Christ knew him. It is ironical that he rushed upon his defeat_ for, we are told by St. Luke and St. John, and it was he who moved Judas to betray the Lord to his slayers.
Truth, Life, Union
At the Last Supper Our Lord uttered the words which are at once the formula of our redemption, and the charter of his Church. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No man comes unto the Father but by me.”
It is possible to have known and loved the phrase all one’s life, yet not have given much actual thought to what it contains; there is so much splendor in the saying that one may fail to grasp what is being said. To anyone whose experience this has so far been, it will be valuable to pause now and make his own examination of those superb words, before going on to read mine.
A first thought may be of wonder why, if Our Lord is the Way, there is need for more; why are truth and life added? If he is the Way, when you have found him you have found all. But the two additional words are there to challenge us. With them we are face to face with reality at one frightening and stimulation. It is the reality St. Paul expressed: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12).
Salvation is not handed to us on a dish; in no sense is it a laborsaving device. What Christ does for men are what men cannot do for themselves, not what they can; what they can, they should. To have found the way is not the end; it is the beginning. The way is not the goal. Only the goal is, for us, permanence; the way may be lost.
We might lose the way, as we might lose any way, either by wandering from it through error, or by lacking the strength for the effort_ the “fear and trembling”_ which following it to the end demands. As against the danger of losing the way we need truth. As against the danger of falling by the wayside we need life_ Our Lord came that we might have life “and more abundantly” (Jn 10:10)_ the life of sanctifying grace.
And what in any event does Our Lord mean by calling himself the Way? We have just heard the answer: “No man comes unto the Father but by me.” It is in union with him, and only so, that men come to that everlasting union with God which is their destiny.
Salvation then involves truth, life, union with God_ Man.
How these are to be ours he tells in the words he utters on a mountain in Galilee between his rising from the dead and his rising into heaven t present the sacrifice of our salvation before the throne of God. To the Apostles_ the eleven still with him_ he says: “Go and teach all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded. And behold I am with you all days even to the end of the world” (Mt 28:19-20).
Observe how closely this follows the great formula of the Last Supper truth, life, union
The great Christological text of St. Paul
is found in Ph 2:5-11. Here the preexistent Christ is in the form of God and equal with God; the incarnation is an emptying of Himself and the assumption of the form of a salve_ a very probable allusion to the servant of the Lord_ humiliation and obedience to death by crucifixion. As a result of His mission, God has glorified Him and given Him the name of Jesus, a title of adoration, and a confession that Jesus is Lord. This one passage sums up the principal themes of Pauline and even of NT Christology. The transcendence of Jesus, so clear in this passage, is more apparent in the Pauline writings than it is in the Gospels; but A. Feuillet has drawn attention to a number of passages of the Synoptic Gospels which imply preexistence and transcendence, particularly the use of the phrase “I am sent” (Mt 15:24; Lk4:43) and “I have come” (Mt 5:17: 9:13:10:45 :20:28; Mk 2:17 : Lk 5:32). He who receives the disciples of Jesus receives Jesus Himself, and he who receives Jesus receives the one who sent Jesus (Mt 10:40). Jesus compares Himself to the beloved son sent by his father (Mk 12:6), and presents Himself as eschatological king and judge (Mt 25:34-40). The greater reserve in the use of these themes in the Synoptic Gospels certainly reflects the reserve of Jesus Himself; but they are not pure creations of the apostolic Church.
In the epistles Jesus is the Messiah of the Jews (Rm 9:5; 10:4);In the Johannine epistles, as in Jn, the confession that Jesus is the Messiah is the primary article of faith (1 Jn 2:21; 4:2;5:1). The Messiah accomplishes His mission through His suffering and death on behalf of sinners (Rm 5:6,8;14:9;1 Co 15:3). Paul knows nothing but Christ crucified (1 Co 1:23; 2:2), and Paul is crucified with Him (Gal 2:20) as all Christian must suffer with Him (Rm 8:17). God has reconciled man with Himself through Christ, indeed God is in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Co 5:18f).
thus outlined appears as a consistent development of certain themes and beliefs which have their origins in early Israelite religion. It is faith in the power and will of Yahweh to save and takes form as Israel learns more clearly what that power is and how it exercised, how it is the moving force of history, and what it means to be “saved”. There is a certain desecularization of an idea which in its earliest form is rather social and political than moral and religious. Through its history Israel learn that salvation is not achieved through cultural and political institutions: Salvation is achieved only through the intervention of Yahweh, and since the obstacle to salvation is man’s refusal to accept it, the intervention frequently takes the form of judgment Messianism precisely understood, i.e., with reference to a personal human agent of deliverance, brings out the human factor in deliverance: while it is the work of Yahweh, it is a work in which man must share.
While the Messianism of extra biblical Judaism lies somewhat outside our scope.
It is necessary to allude to it because it is presupposed in many NT allusions. As Messianism is reconstructed from the apocryphal books, it appears to have been rather thoroughly secularized into into a hope of a Jewish empire, established by intervention of God. This made it necessary for Jesus to use great reserve in the employment of Messianism terms, which refer to royal Messianism. The Messianic future looked to the restoration of the kingdom of Israel and to the consummation of the world. There is no consistent conception; sometime the restoration of Israel is followed immediately by the consummation, at other times there is no earthly kingdom of Israel at all, but the entire messianic consummation is extraterrestrial. Not infrequently the earthly kingdom is said to endure 1000 years before the consummation; this idea passed into early Christian thought.
The nations are judged or destroyed and Palestine is renewed and turned into an earthly paradise. The Messiah Himself is likewise not consistently understood; but often he is a preexistent superhuman being who comes from heaven. He is the conqueror of the nations and the ruler of the earthly kingdom. The importance of the priesthood in later Judaism, particularly under Hasmonean rule, led to the conception of two Messiahs, a Davidic royal Messiah and a priestly Messiah of Levi or Aaron. This idea, formerly known in only one apocryphal book, has now appeared also at Qumran.
On messianism in the NT cf Church; Israel; Jesus Christ;Kingdom.
بعض النبؤات التي قيلت في يسوع المسيح
من العهد القديم وتحققت في شخصه
|1- الوعد بالمخلص 2- الميلاد 3- حياة يسوع 4- آلامه وموته 5- قيامته ومجده|
|أ- تك 15:3 “واجعل عداوة بيتك (الحية) وبين المرأة ونسلها، فهو يسحق رأسك وانت ترصدين عقبه”||1- الوعد بالمخلص:|
|ب- تك 10:49 “لايزول الصولجان من يهوذا ولا عصا القيادة من بين قدميه الى ان يأتي من تطيعه الشعوب”.|
|ج- عدد 17:24/19 “يخرج كوكب من يعقوب ويقوم صولجان من اسرائيل…. من يعقوب يخرج سيد فيهلك كل ناج من عار”.|
|د- تث 15:18 “يقيم لك الرب الهك نبيا مثلي من وسطك ومن اخوتك، فله تسمعون” (انظر متى 17:5).|
|ﮪ- 2 صموئيل 7: 12 – 13 ،16 ” سيخرج من نسلك من يبني بيتا لاسمي واثبت ملكه الى الابد”.|
|و- اخبار 17: 13، 15 “انا اكون له ابا وهو يكون لي ابنا ويكون عرشه ثابتا الى الابد”.|
|ز- 2: 6 -7 ” اني مسحت ملكي، قال لي انت ابني واليوم ولدتك”.|
|ح- اشعيا 2:4 “في ذلك اليوم يكون نبت الرب مجدا “.|
|اشعيا 7: 14 ” ها ان العذراء تحبل وتلد ابنا وتدعو اسمه عمانوئيل”.|
|اشعيا 11: 1-9 “يخرج غصن من جذع يسّي (مهم جدا) ويحل عليه روح الرب”.|
|اشعيا 28: 16 “سأضع حجر زاوية في صهيون”.|
|ارميا 23 : 5 “ستاتي ايام اقيم فيها لداود نبتا بارا “.|
|ي- زكريا 3: 8 “ﮪاءنذا آت بعبدي النبت|
|ك- ملاخي 3: 1 “ﮪاءنذا ارسل رسولي فيعد الطريق امامي”.|
|أ- مز 72: 10 “ملوك ترشيش وجميع الملوك يسجدون له”.||2- النبؤات عن الميلاد|
|ب- مز 132: 16 ” في افراتا (بيت لحم) اقيم نسلا لمسيحي”.|
|ج- ارميا 31: 15 ” صوت سمع في الرامة ندب وبكاء”.|
|د- دانيال 9: 24 ” سبعون اسبوعا لمسح قدوس القديسين”.|
|أ- عدد 21: 8 “اصنع لك حيّة نحاسية”.||3- حياة يسوع|
|ب- مز 40: 8 “ﮪاءنذا آت لاعمل بمشيئتك يا اللـه “.|
|ج- مز 89: 37 ” ليدومّن نسله للابد وعرشه امامي”.|
|د- مز 110 ” قال الرب لسيدي اجلس عن يميني ليدين الامم”.|
|مز 118: 22 ” الحجر الذي رذله البناؤون صار حجرا للزاوية”.|
|مز 8: 22 ” من الازل اقمت قبل ان كانت الارض”.|
|اشعيا 2: 1 “هو يعلمنا طرقه ويحكم بين الامم”.|
|اشعيا 9: 1 “الشعب السائر في الظلمة ابصر نورا”.|
|اشعيا 40: 3 “صوت مناد في البرية”.|
|اشعيا 42: 1 “هوذا عبدي الذي اعضده جعلته نورا للامم”.|
|اشعيا 65: 17 “ساخلق سموات جديدة وارضا جديدة”.|
|ارميا 31: 32 “ﮪاءنذا اقطع عهدا جديدا “.|
|دانيال 2: 31 ” التمثال / حجر كسره …يقيم اللـه مملكته الى الابد”.|
|دانيال 7: 13 ” من فوق الغمام ظهر ابن الانسان”.|
|يوئيل 2: 28 ” سافيض روحي على كل بشر”|
|زكريا 9: 6 “افرحي ياابنة صهيون ملكك سياتي راكبا على حمار”.|
|خروج 12: 45 ” عظما لاتكسروا منه”.||4- آلام يسوع وموته|
|مز 22: 2 ” انا دودة الارض الذين يروني يسخرون مني”.|
|مز 41: 10 ” من اكل الخبز معي رفع عقبه علي”.|
|مز 69: 22 “في عطشي سقوني خلا”.|
|اشعيا 52: 13 “هوذا عبدي منظره لم يعد منظر انسان”.|
|اشعيا 53: 1 – 12 “نظرنا اليه ولا منظر له فنشتهيه ، حمل آلامنا /طعن بسبب معاصينا”.|
|ارميا 11: 19 “وكحمل اليف يساق الى الذبح”.|
|زكريا 11: 12 “وزنوا اجرتي ثلاثين من الفضة”.|
|زكريا 12: 10 “افيض على بيت داود روح النعمة”.|
|مز 16: 10 “لانك لن تترك نفسي في مثوى الاموات، ولن تدع قدوسك يرى فسادا”.||5- قيامة يسوع|
|مز 91: 11 ” لانه اوصى ملائكته بك ليحفظوك”.|
|زكريا 2: 14 ” اهتفي وافرحي يابنت صهيونفهاءنذا آتي واسكن في وسطك”.|
من انت يارب؟
Who are you Lord? Acts 9:4
هذا السؤال سأله شاؤول(بولص) على طريق دمشق وسأله كل مسيحي حتى اليوم.
جواب يسوع لشاؤول ” انا هو يسوع المسيح ” حوّل حياة القاتل والحاقد والمتعصب الى حياة حمل وديع مبّشر عظيم وشاهد للمسيح حتى اخر حياته.
ياترى ماهو موقفنا نحن كذلك حين نسأل يسوع اليوم ويقول لنا انا هو يسوع المسيح؟
( غلا 3:27 ” انكم جميعا ابناء اللـه بالايمان بالمسيح يسوع، فانكم وقد اعتمذتم جميعا في المسيح قد لبستم المسيح. انكم جميعا واحد في المسيح يسوع، فاذا كنتم للمسيح انتم اذن نسل ابراهيم وانتم الورقة على ما قضى العهد)
في ثلاثة دروس سنختصر الاجوبة عن من هويسوع وماهو موقفنا منه نحن الذين نحمله.
( يسوع المسيح في العهد القديم – نسل ابراهيم )
( يسوع المسيح في العهد الجديد)
( يسوع المسيح في اللاهوت)
1- نؤمن بالـه واحد ضابط الكل
2- وبرب واحد يسوع المسيح ابن اللـه الوحيد
3- يسوع المسيح الـه وانسان في آن واحد
(كيف يتحد الالـه والانسان في شخص واحد)
4- يسوع المسيح شخص واحد في طبيعتين-
طبيعة الهية وطبيعة انسانية
5- لاخلاص الا بيسوع المسيح
انا لست حيا بل المسيح يحيا فيّ ان مُتّ وان حييت فـللمسيح غلا 2:20 / فيليبي 1:21
القس ميخائيل بزي