It is Day 66!!
Yesterday we talked about…
Why did the Son of God become man?
Why did the Word become flesh?
And we answered that question by saying
HE CAME TO SAVE US BY RECONCILING US TO THE FATHER
Remember, that was the FIRST reason
THAT WE MIGHT KNOW GOD’S LOVE
TO BE OUR MODEL OF HOLINESS
SO WE COULD BECOME PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE
Well, today, the Church
Gosh, it’s one thing to say
Jesus Christ is truly God.
Jesus Christ is Lord.
We talked about that a couple of days ago
But then the question comes up
WELL WHAT DO YOU MEAN?
What do you mean that Jesus Christ is true God and true man?
And so what happens Is we’re going to look at today
The challenges to the understanding of who Jesus TRULY IS
We know Jesus is the SecondPperson of the Trinity, become flesh
BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
What does it mean to say that Jesus is true God and true man?
What does it mean to say He's both Divine and human?
We’re going to look at a couple of different heresies
We’re going to look at the fact that the first heresies that popped up actually more denied Christs’ humanity than they denied Christ’s Divinity
The first thing was He only APPEARED to be human
He DIDN’T BECOME human
We’re also going to look at the NESTORIAN heresy
The Nestorian Heresy regarded Jesus Christ as a HUMAN person JOINED to the DIVINE Person of God's Son
We have to clarify that
JESUS IS ONE DIVINE PERSON WITH A HUMAN NATURE AND A DIVINE NATURE
He's ONE Divine person with TWO natures-Human and Divine
That’s going to be very very important
That was the Council of Ephesus that talked about that
It was also the Council of Ephesus that proclaimed that Mary is truly the Theotokos
SHE IS TRULY THE MOTHER OF GOD
Because the Person, the Being, the ONE who was conceived in her womb was TRULY the Son of God
Was from the moment of his conception had already ETERNALLY BEEN the Son of God who became man at one point in time
IT IS INCREDIBLE!!
This Divine person JOINED his Divine nature to human nature.
WHICH IS REMARKABLE!!
The Monophysites affirmed that when the second person of the Trinity, the Only Begotten Son of the Father, joined his DIVINE NATURE TO HIS HUMAN NATURE, that the human nature had CEASED TO EXIST
And so that’s why, in 451 the Council of Chalcedon confessed that His HUMAN NATURE and that DIVINE NATURE CO-EXISTED essentially IN ONE DIVINE PERSON, IN ONE HYPOSTASIS
That's the technical term here
IT IS REMARKABLE!!
But these are some of the heresies that came up and asked the question
What is it to say that Jesus is Lord?
What is it to say that Jesus is the Son of God?
It is our misunderstanding of some of these heresies and the Church's subsequent clarification of this
Since we have lacked a degree of CLARITY in the way we've articulated how Jesus Christ is TRULY God and TRULY man, there are a number of Muslim apologists who kinda twist the Catholic teaching about who Jesus TRULY is in order to deny His Divinity
For us, we want to understand who Jesus REALLY is so we can love him
So we can know the TRUTH
And we can love him in truth
But also, so that we can EXPLAIN not just to our Muslim friends but to any friend
To be able to say when they ask us, "What do you mean that Jesus Christ is true God and true man?”
“What do you mean that He is both human and Divine?”
To be able to say at least in some ways
“We're not saying this or or we’re not saying that. But We ARE saying this other thing."
That’s what we’re kind of looking at today
There might be some new words that you have never heard of before
Like Gnosticism or Gnostic Docetism
That’s one of the first heresies we're going to talk about
The name Nestorian comes from a guy named Nestorius
It just happens to be his name
So they named the heresy after Nestorius
If you become influential enough in your heresy, then you get to have a heresy named after you
Like the Arian heresy, named after Arius
What we’re looking for is the ability not only to know who God is so we can love him, but also to be able to explain
It might be some kind of words that you might not have heard
Gnostic Docetism, Nestorianism, Homoousios
You’re going to get the context as we move along
Do not be distracted or sidetracked by some words that might not be immediately apparently understandable
But know that we’re going to give some context ultimately
OK, so here we go
Let’s get started
IT IS INCREDIBLE!!
One of the reasons why we have Church Councils is because there are challenges
There are misunderstandings
There are teachings that are contrary to the faith
And so the Church has to answer and has to say
OK WHAT IS THE TRUTH?
WHAT IS IT THAT WE ACTUALLY BELIEVE?
WHAT IS IT THAT WE ACTUALLY KNOW ABOUT JESUS?
WHAT IS IT THAT WE ACTUALLY KNOW ABOUT ANY MYSTERIES OF OUR FAITH?
From the very, very beginning the first heresies denied not so much Christ's Divinity as His true humanity
For gnostics it was the material world that was evil, it was fallen
And it was what we needed to shake off
And so they would say that, "No it would be improper to Divinity to actually take on humanity, to actually get hungry, to actually digest, to actually sleep…”
AND NOT ONLY THAT…
To suffer and to die, that was so abhorrent to them that they denied Christ's humanity in the first place
From apostolic times, from the very beginning, the Christian faith has INSISTED the true incarnation of Jesus Christ come in the flesh
THAT IS SO IMPORTANT!!
There’s also the other heresy in the third century
Paragraph 465 says, “The Church in a Council of Antioch had to affirm against Paul of Samosata that Jesus Christ is Son of God by nature and not by adoption…”
Because Paul of Samosata was saying that he was the Son of God BUT ONLY BY ADOPTION
Meaning here is the Gospel story that talks about how Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River
The Holy Spirit comes upon him
And the Father declares "This is my Son."
And so Paul of Samosata would claim that “Well, that's when the Father ADOPTED Jesus. If He had Divinity, that's when it came upon him."
And the Church is like, “NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT!!”
Very, very important to recognize that Jesus is the Son of God by nature, NOT BY ADOPTION
WE are sons and daughters of God BY ADOPTION
Jesus Christ is UNIQUE
He is the Son of God by NATURE
ALWAYS, ALWAYS the Son of God.
Next we have the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea
You know what year that was
That was 325 AD
It’s one of those years that people just remember
Put that in the old brain bucket
There was a guy named Arius
And the Arian Heresy was MASSIVELY, MASSIVELY popular
And so the Church had to speak out against the Arian heresy
And what happened?
The Council of Nicaea
In what Year?
It said that “NO, the Son of God is BEGOTTEN, not MADE
CONSUBSTANTIAL with the Father…”
We say that EVERY SINGLE SUNDAY
That Greek word is Homoousios
OF THE SAME SUBSTANCE
Arius had said that the Son of God came to be from things that were not
There was a time when the Son of God DID NOT EXIST
And very very important in the Council of Nicaea that we clarified and affirmed JESUS CHRIST IS ETERNALLY BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER, OF THE SAME SUBSTANCE, CONSUBSTANTIAL WITH THE FATHER
So whenever you say that, this Sunday coming up
Realize we say that because there was the heresy that DENIED the fact that Jesus is true God and true man
After this, we have the Nestorian Heresy
All these things, they kind of swirl a little bit too
Sometimes they happen chronologically
And sometimes they happen concurrently
The Nestorian Heresy regarded Christ as a human person, joined to the Divine person of God's Son
And so the Council of Ephesus in year 431 AD
Had to declare that JESUS IS A DIVINE PERSON WITH TWO NATURES
A nature that is HUMAN and a nature that is DIVINE
He has Divine nature and human nature
HE’S ONE DIVINE PERSON
Paragraph 466 says, “...The third ecumenical council of Ephesus in 431 confessed ‘that the Word, uniting himself in his person the flesh animated by a rational soul, became man. Christ’s humanity has no other subject than the divine person of the Son of God, who assumed it and made it his own, from his conception. For this reason the Council of Ephesus proclaimed in 431 that Mary truly became the Mother of God by the human conception of the Son of God in her Womb…”
Mary is the THEOTOKOS
So, obviously, Mary did not exist before the Son of God existed
He is eternal
He is the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF THE FATHER
He is before all things
He is the WORD ETERNAL
Mary was born IN TIME
Mary is a HUMAN BEING
Here's what the Council of Ephesus said
“Mary is Mother of God, not that the nature of the Word or his Divinity received the beginning of his existence from the Holy Virgin, but that, since the holy body, animated by a rational soul, which the Word of God united to himself according to the hypostasis was born from her, the WWord is said to be born according to the flesh.”
THAT IS THE VERY IMPORTANT PART!!
That’s THE HUMAN NATURE
The Holy Body animated by rational soul which the Word of God united to himself, according to the hypostasis was born from her
The Word is SAID to be born according to the flesh
THIS IS SO SO IMPORTANT!!
We call Mary the Mother of God NOT because it’s not meant to be simply a TITLE of honor to her
Although, what an incredible honor
It's saying something about JESUS
It is saying, that from the very moment of his conception, the Eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, UNITED TO HIMSELF HUMANITY, so that the being in Mary's womb is the second Person of the Trinity
That one Person, one Divine Person, with a human and Divine nature
THEREFORE THE CHILD TO WHOM MARY GAVE BIRTH IS ACTUALLY GOD!! 🤯 🤯 🤯
MARY IS THE MOTHER OF GOD!!
Does that make sense?
Now again, not that she PRECEDED the Eternal Son of the Father
But that she TRULY gave birth to a DIVINE PERSON
Therefore, she is the Mother of God when she gave birth to Jesus Christ - a Divine Person, with a human and Divine nature
It's not about Mary
What it is about is here’s how FULLY Jesus has united HIS DIVINITY to OUR HUMANITY
And so we have the Monophysite Heresy in Paragraph 467, “The Monophysites affirmed that the human nature had ceased to exist as such in Christ when the divine person of God’s Son assumed it.”
Yeah, at some point here’s God's Divinity, the second person of the Trinity, who became one of us
So there's human nature at the beginning
But then it was kind of like this
This humanity that Christ assumed GETS LOST IN THIS SEA OF DIVINITY
And the example was like Alka-Seltzer
Here’s a tablet of Alka-Seltzer
That would be the humanity that gets dropped into this sea of divinity
And it just kind of DISSOLVES
It just goes away
And the problem with this
Because that would say, “Yeah, there's’ the incarnation. God became one of us!”
But then the HUMANITY PART just dissolved away
The problem with that is that it means that Jesus DID NOT ACT AS A HUMAN BEING
That His life, His miracles, His suffering, His death, His rising from the dead weren't done as a human being but simply were done as a Divine being
GOD DID THIS!!
Even the whole purpose of the Incarnation is to bring God close to us and us close to Divinity
If He absorbed and essentially obliterated our humanity, then that doesn't come close to us
The Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in Paragraph 467 says, “Following the holy Fathers, we unanimously teach and confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, composed of rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father as to his divinity and consubstantial with us as to his humanity.”
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!!
The humanity of Jesus DID NOT CEASE TO EXIST
It did not get obliterated like a Alka-Seltzer in water
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!!
Paragraph 467 continues, “He was begotten from the Father before all ages as to his divinity and in these last days, for us and for our salvation, was born as to his humanity of the virgin Mary, the Mother of God.”
And so goes on
It hammers it home…
Paragraph 467 in the small script, “We confess that one and the same Christ, Lord, and only-begotten Son, is to be acknowledged in two natures without confusion, change, division, or separation. The distinction between the natures was never abolished by their union, but rather the character proper to each of the two natures was preserved as they came together in one person (prosopon) and one hypostasis.”
THIS IS JUST REMARKABLE!!
Jesus being one Divine person having a Divine nature and a Human nature is not just technical
It’s not just kind of “we like to know the nuts and bolts or how the engine works, or whatever you want to say and ‘whatever is under the hood”
Because it actually matters to us
It MATTERS that Jesus is fully God
Because if He wasn't fully God, we couldn't be redeemed
It also matters that Jesus is fully human because if he wasn't fully human WE couldn't be redeemed
And so here is Jesus who, in one Divine Person, has a human nature just like ours, in all things but sin, He became like us
IN ALL THINGS BUT SIN
Also has a Divine nature
WHICH IS JUST REMARKABLE AND INCREDIBLE!!
The Roman liturgy says in Paragraph 469, “What He was, He remained. And what he was not, he assumed.”
That he wan’t human but he assumed humanity
What he was, he remained, Divine
And what he was not, he assumed, human
And the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, who, just remarkable, golden tongue
IT IS DEEP!!
Paragraph 469 continues, “O only-begotten son and Word of God, immortal being, you who deigned for our salvation to become incarnate of the holy Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary, you who without change became man and were crucified, O Christ our God, you who by your death have crushed death, you who are one of the Holy Trinity, glorified with the Father and the Holy Spirit, save us!”
IT IS INCREDIBLE!!
This is exceptionally long today, but this is deep
Don’t be discouraged if you’re like “WHAT?”
“I still don’t know who Nestorian or Nestorius is”
“I don’t know the Arian heresy yet”
What we need to know is JESUS IS ONE DIVINE PERSON WITH A HUMAN NATURE AND A DIVINE NATURE
Again, as it says very clearly
Without confusion, change, division, or separation
And that means God has made himself our BROTHER
So that we could become SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD
IT IS INCREDIBLE!!
Tomorrow we’re going to talk about HOW IS THE SON OF GOD MAN?
IT IS REMARKABLE!!
IT IS INCREDIBLE!!
It might, in some ways, be CHALLENGING
Hang in there
This is worth it
It is worth doing the work because we NEED to know who Jesus is
We NEED to know what is the meaning of the Incarnation and how does it affect our lives
Fr. Mike is praying for you that you made it through today
Keep pressing play tomorrow
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!