Grace to you!
"Tell me," a skeptic asked, "How a poor man from Nazareth could be God?"
Someone may have confronted you with this or similar questions. Some believe the history of Jesus is so commonplace, so ordinary, that he couldn't be God.
Nothing is new under the sun. During the time of the Lord, many asked questions like the one above. "Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? Yet we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from" (Jn 7:27), so said the skeptics. In other words, they doubted the identity of Jesus as the Christ because they felt "it's too ordinary to be true."
Every day, similar refrains are heard in the hearts and on the lips of many people. Many errors about the identity of Jesus are preached also. Such errors include the following: Jesus is the superman. Some see Jesus as one who was adopted to become God by God the Father (adoptionism). Some claim Jesus is merely a moral teacher like many others. There are numerous other claims. Venerable Bishop Sheen called these sorts of heretical teachings, old errors, and new labels.
Who is Jesus? Jesus himself never spared confronting skeptics who confused his identity. He knew their hearts and their thoughts. God, and only God, can read the innermost part of the human heart (cf Ps 139:2). Jesus read theirs so well that he answered their doubts concerning what they did not know, namely, the Father. If they knew God the Father, they would have known the Son as well. Ignorance of God the Father is ignorance of God the Son, and ignorance of Jesus Christ is ignorance of the mystery of the Trinity.
Therefore, here lies one of the core questions for us this Lent. What is the source of our knowledge of God?
The problem of those skeptics was that they based their source of information about Jesus on empirical, materialistic origins of Jesus—his lineage, birthplace, and family. Their problem was scientism, explaining reality only on the evidence of empirical scientific knowledge.
It will be difficult, if not impossible, to know Jesus as Lord based on mere logic or empirical verifiability only. Also, reason alone, as Pope Pius XII said (cf. Humani Generis), has limitations based on its nature to grasp the profundity of divinity. We need faith, too, to see the gray areas, the bigger picture. Revelation by God is the stuff of which faith is made. As St. Thomas Aquinas said, "We cannot assent to that which has not been revealed." Faith avails us what our senses cannot perceive.
Have you sometimes been surprised by the gift of faith or the profound insight from God? It comes upon you, and you shout, "Oh, now I get it."
If we can connect with Jesus Christ, allow him to lead us to the knowledge between him and his Father this Lent, we will discover what the mystics say, “I found him. The one whom my soul loves.”
Pray: Lord Jesus, make me know you and through you, the Father and the Spirit. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Friday, Lent, Week 4; Wisdom 2:1a, 12-22; Jn 7:1-2, 10, 25-30]
Father Maurice Emelu, Ph.D., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth and inspiration. They are designed for a general audience. They may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons.