During our last class, one statement struck me. And has been filling my mind ever since. We were discussing if Jesus became man in order to die for man, or if he came to die for God. It was concluded that Jesus became man in order to die for man.
I propose something different.
I would like to think that Jesus died for God. Out of his great love for the Father. Jesus became man, suffered, died and rose again all because of his love for his Father. And he sent the Holy Spirit to us so we can also live to die for God.
Why? Let us look at who God is, so as to know why Jesus would die for Him. In the Old Testament, we see three significant characteristics of God: His nearness, his holiness and his uniqueness. His nearness to all of us, His children. He was a very personal God who spoke to His children. His holiness, He is the embodiment of sanctity and grace. And His uniqueness, there is no other God aside from Him.
In the New Testament, all these characteristics were enhanced by the coming of Jesus. God’s nearness was completed in Jesus. Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promises and truths. God’s holiness was seen in Jesus and his life, as he led us all to purification and a more sanctified life – especially seen through his passion and death. And God’s uniqueness was proven by Jesus through his being human and divine. He surpassed what we thought of ourselves, and showed us how much more we could be.
So we see the “awesome-ness” of God, and how we got to know Him even more through His son, Jesus. This relationship between Father and Son is also enhanced by their relationship with the Holy Spirit. The relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit is Divinity. Not only their relationship, but each of them is Divinity. We are part of humanity, but we are not humanity. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not part of Divinity, they are Divinity! This has always been the truth. There never was a never in terms of the Father, Son and Spirit.
Very difficult to imagine, and more difficult to understand. And because of that difficulty, there arose many heresies over the centuries. People believing the Divinity of the Father alone, or that Jesus was a demi-god, or that we can never truly know anything… but here lies the beauty in the coming of Jesus, and the teachings of the Church Fathers. We get to know the truth of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit through Jesus’ life, teachings and actions.
It is said that the better we know God, the better we know ourselves. But how can we know God, if not through Jesus Christ? The more we know Jesus, the more we understand why he did what he did – why he gave up his life – we can get to know ourselves more.
I see Jesus’ coming into the world as a testament to his love for his Father. His suffering and death as an example of self-giving love to his Father, which we should all emulate. His obedience unto death, His passion for teaching, His ministry of curing the sick – all these point to how we should also live our lives.
Yes, Jesus died for our sins. So that we can be freed from the bondage of Original Sin. But he also died because of his incomprehensible and incomparable love for his Father. And he sent the Holy Spirit so we can achieve the same. And that is what I hope to achieve with my life as well.
I want to have this crazy, passionate and inspired love for God. I want to follow the example of Jesus and live every waking minute of my life for Him. I want to teach, I want to cure (maybe in layman’s terms today, we can use evangelize and do good works). I want to be able to suffer for my Father. And even die for Him. I want a life focused on Him and doing His will.
Is that selfish? I think not. Because to do His will, you have to evangelize. And you have to do good works. And so I will have to make sure that I grow in holiness, that I grow in excellence and that I grow in charity. I have to work hard for my ministry and give it 100%. I have to make sure that whatever I do, God is glorified.
So yes, it will seem that I am giving my life for my fellow man. But in reality, that charity for others is but an effect of what I am truly living out – a life focused on the Triune God.
Did Jesus die for man? It may look like he did everything to save us from our sins, but more importantly, he did all this out of an undying love for his Father. And that is what we must emulate as well.