What Christians believe about Jesus

Beloved, we are now already God's children..... 1 John 3:2

Jesus is the clearest sign of the love that God has for us!

The Word becomes Flesh 

The most wonderful event in human history was when the Son of God became a man. A human being just like us. As St John puts it in his Gospel: the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (1 Jn 1:14). This is what we mean by the word incarnation: God became man. 

Why did God become a man? It was because this step was the key to the divine plan God had for the redeeming of men and women from sin and from the rebellion that began with Adam and Eve. It was through the sending of his only Son that human beings were restored to friendship with God. 

This is why Jesus calls his coming and his message the Good News. God loved us so much that he not only sent angels, prophets, kings and judges to reveal his plans and his goals but he then sent his Son Jesus to enter into our human history in order that we may be free from being controlled by sin and once more taken up into the Divine Life that changes us. 

All of this happened, not 2 because we were so good and faithful. God sent his Son when we did not deserve it. It was a free gift, a free gift to each and every one of us. St Paul wrote a great hymn to the Christian Philippians that speaks about this: 

Though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be held onto, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men and women (Philippians 2:6-7). 

For St Paul this is very important because Jesus is setting an example for us on how we are called to be living in the Kingdom of his Father. He came as a servant. He came not for himself but for others and the whole of his life was spent in living for others: in obeying his Father and in showing love to those he met - saints and sinners in the same way. It was in doing this that he brought those men and women into a share in God's life. 

Paul reminds us that there were no limits to this love. It is easy to love those who are special to us, to love those with whom we 3 are related but it is harder to love those we do not like; to love strangers, our enemies, those who try to harm us. We can easily put limits on how we love. But this was not the way of Jesus. He loved even to death, death on a cross. He was a servant to loved even when it meant that he would lose his life. He even loved those who nailed him to the cross: Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. That is the example of love that those who follow Jesus are called upon imitate. Christians are called to love as Jesus has loved. 

Go out into all the world and live what you proclaim that all may believe!

Jesus: Born of Mary, Born of the Virgin 

When God sent his Son to be born of Mary he did so to fulfil the promise of the prophet Isaiah who said that the messiah would be born to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary (Lk 1:27). But Joseph was not the human father of Jesus. He is the foster father of Jesus. Mary became pregnant with the Son of God through the power of the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:31,35). Mary is the true mother of the Lord and the Church honours her with the title Mother of God. This title is important because it makes it clear that Jesus was truly God and truly human.  

Some Background: Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit and was born in Bethlehem in Judea somewhere between 6 and 4 B.C. He lived his life under the rule of the Roman Emperor and was crucified on Calvary where he died, a young man in his early thirties. His life is mentioned not only in the Gospels but also in Jewish and pagan writings. 

Jesus Christ: Truly God and truly man 

At the very heart of our Christian faith is the belief that Jesus is truly God, fully God and at the same time he is truly man and fully man. Both of these are important for God's plan to restore his children to himself. He shares in the same divine life of God his Father and the same humanity as we have - though he does not sin. How this happens remains a mystery of faith but we know it is true because God has revealed it to us. 

In the Gospel of John, Jesus gives himself the title that God had given to Moses in the burning bush when the people were asking who sent you. He told them I am sent me. Jesus then told the Jewish leaders: truly, truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I am (8:58). As Christians we join with John in proclaiming that we believe ...the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth (1:14). In faith we believe that Jesus, the Word of God is eternal and is one with the Father and equal with him.  

The Redeeming work of Jesus

It is through the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus that all men and women are redeemed. Redemption has two parts. It means that we are set free from being controlled by sin. It also means that we are restored to life with God once again. The sin of Adam and Eve was a sin of disobedience. They chose to do what they wanted and refused to follow the directives of God. This sin of disobedience meant that Adam and Eve and all of their descendants after them, lived at a distance from God. With the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, which was a life and death lived in total obedience, men and women were once again restored to life in God. 

What God had wanted from the time of Adam onwards was our redemption. He wanted us to live with him in love. This is why he sent his Son to become a man. As God and Man, Jesus loved his Father and lived in total obedience to his will, even when that obedience meant that he suffered, died on the cross and was buried in the grave. It was because of the love of Jesus for his Father and for us that the power of sin and death over us is broken. Not only that, but the way to a new life, a new creation has been opened up - in Jesus. For those who live in the Way of Jesus this New Creation becomes a reality. In our being saved from sin we are freed for life and through baptism we live in a whole new creation. 

How does this redemption work today? 

When God raised his Son from the grave he took him to himself in heaven where he now sits at the right hand of his Father. From there he rules over and guides the Church which is the tool that he had formed to continue his work of redemption. Jesus continues to work in creation and does so through the faith community that gathers and ministers in his name. Jesus is the New Adam and it is in Jesus that we now able to understand what it means to be fully human and fully alive. We no longer judge people by the ways of this world but in the light of Jesus. Christians are called upon to live as Jesus loved, to see things through the eyes of Jesus, to speak as Jesus spoke and to serve and obey as Jesus obeyed. By doing this God's New Creation grows and spreads in the world under the power of the Holy Spirit. So it is that the work of Jesus in bringing his Father's redeeming love to all continues in and through His Church. If we wish to judge discipleship and ministry, it can only be judged in how it makes Jesus known to others.