Losing Is Finding

Jesus: Human and Divine

Losing Is Finding
Sunday, March 15, 2015

Have this mind in you, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped at, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself even more and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. –Philippians 2:5-6

The Christian religion believes that Jesus is both fully human and fully divine at the same time. Rationally this is a contradiction, and yet this is the same enlightenment goal for all of humanity. Jesus let go of his identification with his divine self; he “emptied himself” of his divinity, as we see in the phrase above, but he didn’t lose it all. In fact, through this act of kenosis Jesus revealed divinity on a whole new level. This is the great paradox of the Gospel.

This seeming contradiction is true for us as well, but from the opposite side. We have to let go of our identification with being merely human—and all the humiliation of our human faults and limitations—which is a lot of letting go. In letting go of your shame, guilt, and powerlessness, you do not lose yourself, but fall into your foundational and grounded self. This is your True Self, or divine self in God, which now stands revealed, substantial, and infinite—as you—your own unique amalgam of quite ordinary humanity and divine DNA.

It is theologically and formally incorrect to simply say, as most Christians do, “Jesus is God.” The Trinity is God, and the Eternal Christ is God. But Jesus is a third something—a god-man—which offers humanity an utterly new possibility and dignity from God’s side. If you can’t imagine it in Jesus, it is very unlikely you will be able to imagine it within yourself. That is why I personally need to believe in Jesus’ divinity. This does not to make Christianity the “only true religion,” but it does make Christianity, in its mature forms, into a code-breaker, a short cut, a simplification about what is happening within reality. Without Jesus putting it together for us, I doubt if we could even imagine that divine and human could be united into one person.

I encourage you to read this meditation at least twice and let it rearrange your understanding of what we mean by salvation, and what it means that Jesus is called our “savior.” I do believe that the Jesus mystery holds, manifests, affirms, and enjoys the entire pattern, process, and privilege of what it means to be a human person. Believe it first in him, and then you can perhaps dare to believe it in yourself.

Gateway to Silence:
Jesus came to show God’s Love.

Image credit: Christ surrounded by angels and saints (detail). Mosaic of a Ravennate italian-byzantine workshop, completed within 526 AD by the so-called “Master of Sant’Apollinare,” Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy.