A friend asked me to write some short descriptions of some of the events in Jesus’ life on earth. It struck me to post them. Now, you really can’t get in depth in just a couple of sentences. But here is my go at it.
The Nativity – God, the Creator of the Universe, becomes part of His own Creation. He who was outside of time, enters human history. He who created matter, takes on a human body. He who is infinitely powerful becomes a helpless baby. Humans are not just another animals. God Himself became one of us.
Jesus in the Temple – Jesus is 12 when He first goes with His parents to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. After the feast, Mary and Joseph start back home, assume He is with relatives or friends. Instead He is still in Jerusalem listening and asking the Rabbis questions. His answer and questions are way beyond what a 12 year should understand. But He’s God, but they don’t know that. When Mary and Joseph ask, Jesus answers, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” This is a recognition that God the Father was His real father. This is the only story about Jesus’ childhood in the 4 Gospels in the Bible.
Jesus’ Baptism – Jesus is Baptized not because He needs forgiveness from sin, but because He wants to enter fully into the human experience. Here we see the Trinity. We have Jesus being Baptized, we have the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus, and we have the Father proclaiming that Jesus is His Son in whom He is well pleased.
Calling of the disciples – If you read the different accounts of Jesus calling His disciples, the thing that sticks out for me is the fact that these grown men left their professions, maybe professions that had been in their families for generations, just to follow some wondering preacher – There must have been something amazing, something magnetic about Jesus as He walked the face of the earth
Wedding miracle – Jesus’ first public miracle. Notice Mary intercedes for the couple (if was a disgrace to run out of wine), but she doesn’t go over Jesus’ head. She tells the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them. Mary, is still the most powerful intercessor we have. Mothers, even when we are older, have a lot of influence over us. Mary, because of Her relationship with Jesus, is still a powerful intercessor.
Feeding of the 5000 – Jesus here shows that He can provide for all of our needs. We can trust Him to give us what we need. In Jesus, we receive an abundance. In the Feeding of the 5000, Jesus gives them physical nourishment. In the Eucharist (John’s Gospel, the Bread of Life Discourse in which Jesus says to have eternal life, to get to heaven, we have to eat His body and drink His blood comes right after the Feeding of the 5000 in chapter 6.) Jesus has fed His people, billions of Catholics, spiritually with the Eucharist for the past 2000 years. If you think feeding 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish is a lot, think about all who have been fed with the Eucharist for the past 2000 years.
Jesus and the children – Jesus teaches us not that we should be childish (selfish, demanding, prideful), but rather we need to have the trust of a child. A child just assumes that their parents will provide for them. We are not called to be independent, but dependent on God. Just as a child depends on their parents for the necessities of life, we must depend on God for the necessities of life, both physical and spiritual. This is the type of faith and trust we must have in God.
The Last Supper – Again, Jesus was celebrating the Passover, this time with His Apostles. During the Passover meal, one eats lamb, a lamb that has been sacrificed. It recalls how a lamb was sacrificed and the blood put above the door to the entrance of the house in Egypt. The angel Passed over (hence the name Passover for the feast) the houses (the houses where the Israelites lived) with the blood. The houses that did have blood above the door (the Egyptian houses), the first born son died. Then Pharaoh let the Israelites go. They were freed of their slavery. Jesus, however does something strange during this Passover with His Apostles. He equates Himself as the Passover Lamb. This is MY body given for you. This is MY blood shed for you. In His death and resurrection, He frees us from the slavery to sin and to Satan. It is only because of the death and resurrection of Christ that we have any hope of getting into heaven. This what we partake in every time we receive Jesus body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Eucharist.
The Crucifixion – Jesus dies for our sins. There is nothing we can do to make up for our sins. Yet, God is perfect. Therefore, He must be perfectly just. We know that perfection is lacking every time we say, “That’s not fair.” We have an innate sense that things should be fair, that justice should win out. God created that sense of justice, that sense of perfection within us. So if absolute justice is perfection and God is perfect, He must be perfectly just. As Romans 6:23 says, the wages of sin is death. Adam and Eve may not have experienced physical death, but they died a spiritual death which is much worse. And that has been passed on to us as original sin. So God, in His perfect justice couldn’t just forgive us our sins. Someone had to pay the penalty, the consequences of our sins. And being sinful, we couldn’t do it on our own. So God Himself, who is perfect, the one without sin, dies for us who have sins, so that justice, the penalty of our sins can be perfectly paid.
The empty tomb – God wins; Satan loses. Satan may have thought He won with the Cross, but Jesus shows that love is stronger than disobedience. Sin and death has lost its sting. If we choose Christ, we choose to rise with Him to new life, eventually an eternal life with God in Heaven. He does not force us to accept Him and the gift of eternal life won for us on the Cross and through His resurrection. We can choose to reject it. In fact Jesus says, most will.