THE BIRTH OF JESUS
(A Trilogy)

A: JESUS: TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN
B. JESUS: NO SWITCHING
C. MARY THE MOTHER OF GOD

A. JESUS: TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN

When we are conceived we receive a human (physical body) nature, and at the same time God places in it a person to inhabit that body. We are persons with a human nature. We are human beings.

When Jesus was conceived of a human mother, He received a human (physical body) nature, but God did not create a new, human person. Instead, the Second Person of the Trinity, a divine person, took up residence in the human body which began to grow in Mary.

What we have is the mystery of the Incarnation — one person, God, now has two separate natures. One person is a Divine Being with no mother, and He is also a human being with a real mother.

The fact that the Second Person existed from eternity, does not change the fact that when He came to earth to become a real human being, He had a real mother -- and so He became Jesus. And that Person in that human body is God. Mary is the human Mother of THAT PERSON.

B. JESUS: NO SWITCHING

The early centuries of the Church struggled with the question “Who was the Jesus Who lived among us?” The Church was confronted with a mystery that boggles the human intellect. As each explanation was proposed, it was measured against what was said in scripture. Those opinions which clearly did not measure up, were rejected as heresies. By eliminating what was clearly wrong, the truth began to emerge.

Heresies concerning Jesus can be grouped into several general classes:
Jesus was God — but not really a man.
Jesus was a man — but not really God.
Jesus was neither God nor man -- but he looked like a man.

There was also a heresy that implied that Jesus was part God and part man. I have heard this view implied — though not expressly stated — in homilies. When scripture quotes Jesus as saying that He does not know the day nor the hour, the homilist contradicts scripture and says, “Of course He knew. He was God.”

Some people seem to think that the historical Jesus walked around as a normal human being, but when He needed to know something or saw people in need of healing, He switched on His divinity, taking hold of the Divine powers which were His by right, then having worked His mighty deeds by His own Divine power, He switched back to being an ordinary person like one of us.

Jesus did not have a built-in toggle switch.

Scripture is emphatic about the fact that He was "like us in all things, except sin." In Phil. 2:6, 7 “... though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men....”

In John 14:28 Jesus says “the Father is greater than I” but in John 10:29 He says that “I and the Father are one.” Apparently contradictory statements. Both statements are by a divine person, but one refers to the human being and the other to the divine being. We know what Jesus is saying, but we do not understand the mystery behind the statements.

After the finding in the temple, He returned to Nazareth where He grew in wisdom and age. God, in His divinity, doesn't grow in wisdom; but the man Jesus does advance in wisdom and age.

The Divine powers which were rightfully His, were deactivated, unavailable, put in deep freeze as it were, and not available to His human nature.

How did He perform His mighty deeds? Through the power of the Holy Spirit Who rushed in to fill Him. He was Charismatic.

C. MARY THE MOTHER OF GOD

While our mother delivers our body into the world, she is not merely the mother of our body but of the person who occupies that body. In the case of Jesus, that person is God.

From eternity God has a Divine nature, but He decided to take on something new (a profound mystery!) -- a human existence. For such an existence He needed a mother to give Him a physical body for His human nature. And thus Jesus, the human being, came into existence.

Without Mary, Jesus does not exist, and we are in big trouble. Without Mary, God does not have a human nature and redemption cannot take place. Without Mary, God does not become "like us in all things, except sin." Of course, God had many options, but He always chooses the best. And His very best way was through Mary.

How all this is possible is a mystery, but that doesn’t change the facts. Mary is the Mother of Jesus, Who is God; God is also the human being Jesus. God’s human nature was indispensable for our salvation. God needed a human body. Human beings rejected God; only a worthy Human Being could restore the friendship. Scripture confirms Mary’s position in the words of Elizabeth as she calls Mary “the Mother of my Lord”

As Jesus grew in age and wisdom, it was His mother who helped form Him and sensitize Him to the Father and to the Holy Spirit. What a tremendous work She did in Him. The gifts of the Holy Spirit poured into Jesus, and it was through the power of the Holy Spirit — not by switching to His own Divine Power — that He worked wonders.

Jesus is our model. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father” (John 14:12).

The Holy Spirit wants to act in us even more powerfully than He did in Jesus, so that God may be glorified, and that the prayer of Jesus may be quickly fulfilled: "Thy will—be done!—on earth (just) as it is in heaven.”

Awesome!