100% + 100% = 100%

Text: Luke 5:20-21
When he saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven you.’ 21Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, ‘Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ (NRSV)

Who indeed can forgive sins but God alone?  The identity of Jesus as both 100% human and 100% God has plagued Christianity over the centuries as we have tried to explain the math. Obviously, it is not a mathematical equation but a Christological assertion of the personhood of the second person of the Trinity.

Of course, the math behind the Trinity does not work either. 1+1+1 does not equal 1 in any other mathematical formula but, this is what we say about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit when we claim that they together makeup the one and only God of the universe, co-equal in power and authority.

I am not opposed to using gender neutral language for the first person of the God head.  But I also believe that doing so has caused us within Christianity to subconsciously think of Jesus as some lessor being under the authority of God.  When we substitute the word God for the first person of the Trinity that Jesus clearly refers to as Father, we hear ourselves saying that “Jesus is speaking to God” or “Jesus is praying to God” or “Jesus is following the direction of God”.  All of this makes it sound like Jesus is NOT God, which simply is not true according to our beliefs in a Trinitarian God made up of three independent and co-equal persons.

John in his opening salvo in the Gospel of John, takes on this question and clearly comes out with the co-equal position of Jesus in the Godhead even though he shows Jesus as voluntarily becoming submissive to the first person in the Godhead while he becomes incarnate in human flesh. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.  And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-5 & 14).

So, Jesus is God and can and does forgive sin.  Jesus has revealed to us the truth of God and in him we see the heart of God more clearly than in any other place because Jesus IS God. 100% + 100% = 100%, at least in this case.

Pray with me:

God of love and God of humanity I humbly thank you for coming to us in the person of Jesus. You have taken on our sin and forgiven that sin by giving yourself up for us.  What wonderous love is this that you should die for me a sinner.  AMEN.

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