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John 16:1-15

 

"I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.

 

"I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

 

"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you." (ESV)

 

Having What's His

Lucia, Martyr

13 December 2013

Christ received the full possession of divine powers according to His human nature in time at His incarnation of Mary. The things He received He always possessed by reason of His divinity, which He shared fully with His Father. Our Lord says it so simply: "All that the Father has is mine" (Jn 16:15). And yet He also comes into possession of these things, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (Mt 28:18). How could He be given that which is His from all eternity? How could He receive what He always possessed? It would be like my taking earrings from my wife's jewelry collection and wrapping them for a Christmas gift and putting them under the tree. In what way could such a thing be considered a gift received by her, if what she is receiving is hers in the first place? How can the son receive what is His from eternity? The person of the Son is unique in His incarnation. What He has from eternity by reason of His divine nature, He also received according to His human nature. So He both "has" and "receives" things. We can only get at this by analogy. Why should that be surprising to us? He is God and we are not. What may apply to us, does not necessarily apply to Him.

 

His reception of divine honor and glory, power and dominion according to His human nature of the Virgin Mary is accomplished for our good and salvation. This conferral of divine gifts to the human nature of Christ is a harbinger of the divine blessings which accrue to us humans by reason of that incarnation. He takes our nature, that we might receive what He confers on that nature by His conception and birth of Mary. In my opinion that is what the early Greek church fathers, like Athanasius of Alexandria, meant by "deification:" Christ becomes man that we might become God. Of course, the Greek fathers were not saying that man is literally deified! They were not proto-Mormons. They knew the first commandment as well as we do; there is no other God but Him. However, they also wanted to be radically clear that the incarnation meant that the divine blessings which Christ possessed according to His human nature and by right of His divinity are conferred on poor sinners whom Christ has taken into His kingdom by baptism. We are so identified with Him that what is His becomes ours by faith through adoption in Him.

 

What Christ shares with His Father, He shares by reason of His nature. What we share with Christ, He shares with us by reason of our adoption into His Father's family through baptism into Him (Rm 8:15). So, we do not have the divine gifts by nature, but by donation from Christ. He does not deify us, but gives us the benefits of His incarnation as a gift. The incarnation is the assumption of the manhood by God. That assumption changes our status in God's sight. As the Christmas carol cries: "Long lay the world in sin and error pining, 'Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth." Our status changed by the assumption of manhood into God. What He received by the incarnation, He gives us by grace.

 

Athanasius of Alexandria

 

"We may understand all things have been delivered to the Savior. What He did not previously possess has been delivered to Him. For He was not man previously, but became man for the sake of saving man. And the Word was not in the beginning flesh, but has been made flesh subsequently (Jn 1:1, 14), in which flesh, as the Apostle says, He reconciled the enmity which was against us and destroyed the law of the commandments in ordinances, that He might make the two into one new man, making peace, and reconcile both in one body to the Father (Col 1:20; 2:14; Eph 2:15-16). However, that which the Father has belongs also to the Son, as also He says in John, 'All that the Father has is mine' (Jn 16:15), expressions which could not be improved. For when He became that which He was not, all things were delivered to Him. But when He desires to declare His unity with the Father, He teaches it without any reserve, saying: 'All that the Father has is mine' One cannot but admire the precision of the language. For He did not say 'all things the Father has He has given to Me,' lest He should appear at one time not to have possessed these things; but 'are mine.' For these things, being in the Father's authority, are equally in the authority of the Son.

 

"We must also examine what things 'all that the Father has.' For if creation is meant, the Father had nothing before creation and proves to have received something additional from creation. Far be it from us to think this. For just as He exists before creation, so before creation also Father has what He has, which we also believe belongs to the Son (Jn 16:15). For if the Son is in the Father, then all things that the Father has belong to the Son. So this expression defeats the perversity of the heterodox who say that 'if all things have been delivered to the Son, then the Father has ceased to have power over what is delivered, having appointed the Son in His place. For, in fact, 'The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son' (Jn 5:22). But 'the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped' ( Ps 63:11), for although He has given all judgment to the Son, He is not, therefore, stripped of His lordship, nor because it is said that all things are delivered by the Father to the Son, is the Father any less over all.  They are separating, as they clearly do, the Only-begotten from God the Father, who is by nature inseparable from Him, even though in their madness they separate Him by their words, not perceiving, the impious men, that the Light can never be separated from the sun, in which it resides by nature. For one must use a poor simile drawn from tangible and familiar objects to put our idea into words, since it is overly bold to intrude upon the incomprehensible nature of God." 
 
Athanasius, On Luke 10:22. 3
 

Prayer

Loving God, for the salvation of all you gave Jesus Christ as light to a world in darkness. Illumine us with the light of Christ, that by the merits of His passion we may be led to eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

For shut ins, especially Juanita Duffala, Joyce Backs, Anita Markwardt, Robert Frerking, and Rita Baker, that the Lord would watch over them and strengthen them in body and soul

 

For Vicar Chad Smith, that his Lord Jesus would endow him the divine gifts from the Word

 

For those who struggle to feed themselves and are suffering famine, that the Lord would grant relief agencies the capacity and the will to provide the help that is necessary to those who are suffering 

Art: WEYDEN, Rogier van der  Annunciation Triptych  (c. 1440)

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