Saturday, October 11, 2008

Who is Jesus Christ?

I came across this piece while I was preparing for CLP Talk # 2.

"Now unless the speaker is God, this really is so preposterous as to be comic. We can all understand how a man forgives offenses against himself. You tread on my toe and I forgive you, you steal my money and I forgive you. But what should we make of a man, himself unrobbed and untrodden on, who announced that he forgave you for treading on other men's toes and stealing other men's money? Asinine fatuity is the kindest description we should give of this conduct. Yet this is what Jesus did. He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was the party cheifly concerned, the person cheifly offended in all offenses. This makes sense only if He really was the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin. In the mouth of any speaker who is not God, these words would imply what I can only regard as silliness and conceit unrivalled by any other character in history".

- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


Anonymous said...

There is an intriguing aspect to what CS Lewis said if we consider the following:

- Jesus' declaration that "the things that I do you will also do, and greater ones besides..:" and "I am the vine and you are the branches..."
- Romans 12:5 "so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another"

Was St. Paul just making an analogy in Romans? What if he was referring to a higher truth? That we are all one and that the idea of one Sonship is not just a mental aid to help us picture what a church is but an absolute truth, a reality which we, even now, are struggling to understand. If we are all connected to each other as one body, then it follows that someone who commits a sin, even if he was on the other side of the globe, offends the whole body and consequently has offended you and me. Though the act may have been against another person, it is still an act against me. He therefore needs my forgiveness.

Jesus forgave others their sins and He said that what He did we can also do. Yet, if St. Paul wasn't talking allegorically, then there is a reason for me to forgive someone else his sins. In a sense, to be a true Christian is also to be able to forgive the whole world. And if we are all one, our enemies are also part of us. It is no wonder then that Jesus taught us to love our enemies and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Because our neighbor IS ourself.

Conversely, if I commit a sin, I need all of your forgiveness. Perhaps the difference is that when Jesus forgave, he also did it in behalf of the whole world because He has the authority as the Head of the Church, as the Head of the One Body. He represents the whole Sonship while we can only represent our individual selves. Still, it does not detract from the fact that someone who does wrong needs our forgiveness, even if we don't know them and they us. And to forgive is to do what Christ did.

As far as I can see the concept is consistent with His other teachings. For example, He taught us to give and told us that when we give we get it back and more. In the context of one body, we get back what we give because in reality we are giving to ourselves when we give to others. He taught us to do unto others what we would have others do unto us. This would become literal because when we do something to others, we are doing it to ourselves! He taught us that the yardstick we use to measure others will be used to measure us. He said "judge not and you won't be judged". When I judge someone, I judge myself. And if I forgive so, too, will I be forgiven.

God bless,
- TE

WillyJ said...

That's a remarkable point. Actually last night our HH topic was "Praying for our Enemies", as we were trying to establish what a true sense of community this requires. I guess this part renders more insights, more than enough for another round of HH sharing next time.
Thanks and God bless.