As we approach Bethlehem to celebrate, it’s time to insist on some heavy theology today. So, let’s buckle our proverbial seat beats and do some soul stretching theological work out!
Jesus Christ is 100% God and, at the very same time 100% Man. As St. Basil declares “What is not assumed is not healed.” This powerful identity of Jesus Christ is at the very foundation of the Christian Faith. In fact, every and all ideologies or teachings that deviate one iota from this foundational truth ceases to be, in any meaningful way, a Christian teaching or a Christian Church. Period. Full stop. End of discussion. No exceptions. Ever. Under any circumstances!
Dogmatic enough for you? (Big Smile!)
Look at our lesson today in Hebrews 1:1-12:
IN MANY AND VARIOUS WAYS God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has obtained is more excellent than theirs. For to what angel did God ever say, “Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? And again, when he brings the first-born into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” Of the angels he says, “Who makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire.” But of the Son he says, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, the righteous scepter is the scepter of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, thy God, has anointed thee with the oil of gladness beyond thy comrades.” And, “Thou, Lord, didst found the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of thy hands; they will perish, but thou remainest; they will all grow old like a garment, like a mantle thou wilt roll them up, and they will be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years will never end.”
The testimony of just Who Jesus Christ is here in Hebrews insists we embrace the reality that, even in the earliest days of the Church’s existence, She taught that Jesus is God in the Flesh. This is not an optional doctrine, nor is it susceptible to the slippery dishonesty of a “modern” theology that tries to get around this “inconvenient” reality of how the Church understands Who Jesus is and WHY He came. To the detractors of this truth the Church says “Anathema!” (Can you tell this is a big deal to me?)
This passage says that Jesus is the Final Word of God to Humanity. Jesus is the “heir of all things.” He is How The Father Created the world! He is the direct reflection or icon of The Father Himself. He is “the very stamp of The Father’s nature. And Jesus upholds the whole universe by His word! Angels worship Him. His coming saves humanity, and His Kingdom will never end.
Jesus Christ is the meeting place of the Uncreated and the Created. He is the Only Place where God and Humanity join for the exclusive benefit of Humanity. God, being without need, is not “made better” by the Incarnation. But we Humans are engrafted into the Uncreated Life of God by the joining of Divine and Humanity in Jesus Christ. Jesus is not just another religious “guru” or the founder of just one more religious philosophy. He is the intellectual “cross” that crucifies Human intellectual pride and leaves with only two options: Embrace Him or reject Him. Embracing Him means Life. Rejecting Him means Death!
Today, do the hard work of pressing out the implications of Christmas. God has come among us as One of us! Nothing can ever be the same. And, if you have the courage, you can never be the same either. This is the Festal Joy of being Orthodox on Purpose!
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