Jesus the Christ

One of the triggers for compiling the Nicene Creed was the Arian heresy. This said that, although Jesus was undoubtedly very special, He was not divine. The Council who drew together the Nicene Creed knew that He was - but that it was a matter of belief - of standing on the threshold of their Understanding and daring to gaze into the Mystery...

The Creed, therefore, seems to labour the point of Jesus' divinity! This is because the writers used image upon image to offer glimpses that might help to illuminate what the disciples had begun to proclaim - that Jesus is Lord, the glorious Son of God.

The Creed highlights that Jesus is eternally begotten of the Father. We are created by God - but Jesus is begotten from the very Being of God.

Again, we stand on a threshold and are challenged not to draw back from what we cannot explain! Meister Eckhart - a German mystic - tried to express it as something happening in the eternal now - that God is continually "giving birth" to the Son. As an explanation, it leaves a lot to be desired! - but it does emphasise that we are not dealing with an event located in one particular time and one particular place - the Birth of Jesus has cosmic and eternal implications.

It means that the Man who walked the earth took on a fully human nature - but remained "God from God - Light from Light - True God from True God - the One eternally begotten of the Father - the One through whom all things were made..."

St John the Evangelist describes this in the first chapter of his Gospel....

"In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God..."

He sees Jesus as the Creative Word who - in love and communion with God and Spirit - brought all things into being... He records the "I am..." statements of Jesus which echo the words spoken to Moses so many years before when God gave him the Name by which God was to be known "I am..."

"Before Abraham was - I am"
"I am the Bread of Life"
"I am the Way - the Truth and the Life"
"I am the good shepherd"
"I am the gate for the sheep"
"I am the vine - you are the branches"
"I am the light of the world"
"I am the resurrection and the life"

How Jesus can be both human and divine is beyond human understanding - it is another invitation to explore the Mystery and grow to a deeper and deeper appreciation of it - confident that we can never explain it away!

Drinking from the Wellspring

  • Choose one of the "I am...." statements and reflect on what it tells you about the nature of Jesus - and the nature of God...

  • Do you want to explain away the Mystery? If so - why? And if not - why not?

1999 Wellspring

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