Who is Jesus?
Truly God, Truly Human.
He’s the Son of God of course. And in that designation “Son” is wrapped up a world of meaning.
First, Jesus is the full and complete revelation of God. Jesus makes the invisible God visible to us and real in a way we can access and engage. To be truly the Son of God, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, the only begotten of the Father. That is important so we can understand that Jesus wasn’t our idea; he was God’s. God, out of love for us, made it happen.
Jesus is also the “Son of Man.” God is a mystery beyond our understanding but Jesus is one of us, born of a woman, like us in flesh and blood. Jesus knows what it’s like to be a human being, to suffer weakness and temptation, to hunger, to laugh and to cry, to love and to be afraid, to be frustrated, angry, happy, and hopeful. He knows what it’s like to grow up in a human family, to upset his parents, and to leave home and set out on his own. He knows acceptance and rejection. He even knows what it’s like to suffer and die. Though he did not commit sins, he carries the burden of our sins and suffers the consequences of them. Jesus does it all for us
There is a kind of cosmic principle that governs life in this world that is expressed in various ways. For instance, we say, “What goes around, comes around” or “you reap what you sow.” People sometimes use the term “karma,” common to Hinduism and Buddhism, a word that represents the natural, impersonal law of moral cause and effect found in the universe. Simply put, we say that you pay for your sins.
Well, Jesus picked up the tab. Whatever you did, said, or even thought that was wrong, Jesus took the hit for you. At Mass we call Jesus the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Jesus was accused, arrested, brought to trial, judged, condemned, and put to death. That about covers it for all of us who are guilty of sin.
To ancient people who made their living off their flocks, lambs were considered the most valuable possession of the tribe, their hope for the future. In an annual ritual, one of the lambs, supposedly the best one, was offered to God as a sacrifice to pay the price, the cosmic debt owed by the people. The lamb was offered for the forgiveness of sins.
In the forgiveness of sins we also have healing, and Jesus is the healer. The gospel stories of Jesus link his many miracles of healing with forgiveness. Our sins, and the sins of all the world, bring about conflict and discord. When we sin, we set ourselves against the purpose for which we were created: to know, love, and serve God and to be happy with God forever. Sin, in other words, takes away our peace, our ease. Forgiveness restores peace to the soul, reconciles the person with the purpose, and sets the person once again on the path to fulfillment. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, the healer who reconciles humanity with God.