- "Article 4 | 'Jesus Christ Suffered Under Pontius Pilate, was Crucified, Died, and was Buried'." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 571-594)
A couple paragraphs, pulled out of that section:
"Many of Jesus' deeds and words constituted a "sign of contradiction,"321 but more so for the religious authorities in Jerusalem, whom the Gospel according to John often calls simply "the Jews,"322 than for the ordinary People of God.323 To be sure, Christ's relations with the Pharisees were not exclusively polemical. Some Pharisees warned him of the danger he was courting;324 Jesus praises some of them, like the scribe of Mark 12:34, and dines several times at their homes.325 Jesus endorses some of the teachings imparted by this religious elite of God's people: the resurrection of the dead,326 certain forms of piety (almsgiving, fasting, and prayer),327 the custom of addressing God as Father, and the centrality of the commandment to love God and neighbor.328"The "In Brief" bit, at the end (592-594), includes this observation:
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 575)
"Jesus scandalized the Pharisees by eating with tax collectors and sinners as familiarly as with themselves.364 Against those among them "who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others," Jesus affirmed: "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."365 He went further by proclaiming before the Pharisees that, since sin is universal, those who pretend not to need salvation are blind to themselves.366"
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 588)
"Jesus performed acts, such as pardoning sins, that manifested him to be the Savior God himself (cf. Jn 5:16-18). Certain Jews, who did not recognize God made man (cf. Jn 1:14), saw in him only a man who made himself God (Jn 10:33), and judged him as a blasphemer."I've heard and read people who aren't — or aren't quite — Christians say something like 'I think Jesus was a great philosopher and moral leader: but I don't think he was God." I think they may be trying to be nice, or polite.
There's a problem with the idea that 'Jesus was a great philosopher and moral leader' — but not the only begotten Son of God, one in being with the Father, true God from true God.
Here's some of what Jesus said, during what diplomats call a 'frank and open exchange of ideas" in the Temple area:
"He said to them, 'You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.' "There's quite a bit more in the eighth chapter, then Jesus winds up with this:
" 'Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.' "Saying "before Abraham came to be, I AM" isn't bad grammar. I've written about this before. (March 21, 2009)
The scribes and the Pharisees couldn't have missed what Jesus meant. A few centuries before, on Mount Sinai, there was this dialog:
" 'But,' said Moses to God, 'when I go to the Israelites and say to them, "The God of your fathers has sent me to you," if they ask me, "What is his name?" what am I to tell them?' "Bottom line: Jesus of Nazareth said he was God.
"God replied, 'I am who am.' Then he added, 'This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.' " (Exodus 3:13-14)
Lunatics and con men say that they're God. Not great philosophers and moral leaders.
I've decided that Jesus wasn't a lunatic, and wasn't a con man. So, I have to believe that he's God. Or decide to believe contradictory things: which has been done. That's not my style, though.
There's the idea that the apostles made up the whole resurrection thing, and lied through their teeth about what Jesus said. In order to guarantee, apparently, they would be stoned, crucified, burned or otherwise killed themselves. With the exception of John. But that's another story.
- "Sunday: I've Got Lots of Time for Reflection Today "
(January 3, 2010)
- "Working on Sunday: At Growing the Christian Interior Life"
(January 2, 2010)
- "Why Did I Convert to Catholicism?"
(November 24, 2009)