True God and True Man
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Although the Jews found it hard to believe that Jesus was God, today we sometimes find it heard to realize that Jesus is truly man. Some of the statues and pictures of Jesus that we see can give Jesus a stiff, unreal look. We sometimes think that Jesus was not really a man but, rather, God "disguised" as a man. This is not true at all. If it were, Jesus would never
have felt hunger, thirst, or the
need for sleep. But in fact he felt all of these things. The Gospels
give us many glimpses of a Savior who was fully human; getting tired of having
too many people around at times, falling asleep in a boat while the apostles
battled a storm, enjoying the company of little children, building a campfire
and fixing breakfast for his apostles. Jesus took part in everything our
human life has to offer. As the Epistle to the Hebrews states, he was
"like us in all things but sin".
As God the Son, Jesus existed from all eternity. At a certain point in history, he took on a human nature and was born of the Virgin Mary. (A human nature includes not only a body but a human mind and soul as well.) From then on, Jesus had two natures, divine and human. Yet, he remained one Person, not two. You will remember that "nature" means "what you are" and "person" means "who you are". If you asked Jesus, "What are you?", he would say "God and man". We do not know exactly how the union of the divine and human natures "works". It is one of the mysteries of our faith which we will not fully understand even in Heaven, though we will understand it much better there.
In his love, the Father sent Jesus to be an example for us. It is one thing to hear sermon after sermon about obeying God's law. But Jesus taught us how to obey the Father by the way he lived. He showed real love to everyone. He forgave his enemies. Most important, he obeyed his Father in everything. Obedience is hard for all of us. It may mean setting aside our own plans and wishes to carry out those of someone else. It may mean doing things we do not like, doing them because God has told us to.
But God's own Son showed us that he, too, would humbly obey God's plan for him. As man, Jesus did not like the idea of pain and death any more than the rest of us. But he wanted to do the will of his Father whom he loved, so he went to his death freely and bravely. When we remember that even God's Son, the Lord of the Universe, was willing to obey, it should help us to obey as well.
Jesus became man in order to be, not just our Savior, but also our brother and friend. We can talk to him about our joys, our problems, and our temptations. He will always understand. If ever we are not sure what to do, we can ask in prayer, "Jesus, what would you do if this happened to you?" Then he will remind us of what is right and wrong, and he will give us the courage to do what is right. If we should fall into sin, we can turn to Jesus, knowing he wants to forgive us and restore us to his friendship.
Used with the permission of The Ignatius Press 800-799-5534
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