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Feb 8, 2020

How Can Jesus Be Fully God And Fully Man?

Deacon John Harden

It’s one of the greatest, if not the greatest mystery of our Faith, that Jesus is fully God and fully man. We profess this belief in the Nicene Creed. But does Sacred Scripture really claim that Jesus is God Incarnate? Where does the Bible say that Jesus “the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages … came down from heaven, and became man?” Well, it doesn’t say it in those exact words, but the Bible does affirm that Jesus is God Incarnate.


Consider these words from the Gospel of John:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only-begotten Son from the Father … grace and truth came through Jesus Christ … the only-begotten Son.”

John 1:1, 14, 17-18

Jesus’s own words reveal this when he later speaks to his detractors, saying:

“If you were Abraham’s children, you would do what Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God … Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

John 8:39-40, 58

After saying this, his detractors “took up stones to throw at him.” They considered his words blasphemous. For Jesus was claiming that even though he is “a man” —who could even be killed—he pre-exists Abraham. What is more, he takes God’s Holy Name, “I AM,” for himself (see Exodus 3:14). Later in John’s Gospel, Jesus once again says to those who came to arrest him, “I AM he,” and “when he said to them, ‘I AM he,’ they drew back and fell to the ground” (see John 18:5).

Would you like to learn about who Jesus is, what he is really like, what he taught, what he did for our salvation, and what this means for us as Catholics today?

Sign up for a free preview of the Jesus: The Way, the Truth, and the Life study program here!

The Necessity of the Incarnation

There are many more passages that speak of Jesus’ divinity and humanity. Indeed, John speaks of how “every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God” (1 John 4:2-3). So belief in the Incarnation is essential to our Faith. But why? Why is it so essential for us that God became man?

The Catechism, drawing from Sacred Scripture, provides four reasons for why God became man for us (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 457-460):

  • To redeem mankind, to “take away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

  • To reveal how much he loves us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)

  • To show us how to live in this life, so that we can have eternal life. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6)

  • To give us the “power to become children of God” (John 1:12) through the grace of the sacraments. “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1).

God became man not just to save you, but to enable you to “become a partaker in the divine nature” (see 2 Peter 1:4). Jesus, who is God’s son by his very nature, by becoming man, has enabled you to be a child of God by grace. Through baptism, God “sent the Spirit of his Son into your heart, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Galatians 4:6). Alleluia!

Does knowing that you are a child of God change how you live your daily life? How will you demonstrate God’s love in your life to others today?

If you really want to explore who Jesus is, what he is really like, and what this means for us as Catholics today, sign up for a free preview from the Jesus: The Way, the Truth, and the Life study program here!

You May Also Like:

Jesus: The Way the Truth, and the Life [study program]

Consecration to Jesus through Mary [Jackie and Bobby video]

Jesus is King with St. José Luis Sánchez del Río and Blessed Miguel Pro [Tightrope podcast]

Follow Me: Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John [study program]

Subdeacon John Harden is a senior product manager at Ascension and has served as an adjunct professor of theology at Neumann University in Aston, Pennsylvania. He has a bachelor’s degree in theology from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and a master’s degree in theology from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. He, his wife, and their children live in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

This article was first posted on The Great Adventure Blog, Ascension Blog’s former home, on January 6, 2015. To learn more about The Great Adventure Bible study click below.

Featured painting, The Ascension (1775), by John Singleton Copley, sourced from Wikimedia Commons

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  • I am very impressed by this post and am grateful to have received it. The true nature of Jesus was a matter of intense debate during the early years of the church and was probably not settled until the council of Ephesus three hundred years after his death. I found this post a very well constructed argument on that very point, that uses scriptural reference in a constructive and persuasive fashion. I have shared it to my Facebook page for other spiritually curious types who may not be aware of this excellent and instructive site.

  • Knowing I’m a child of God definitely changes how I live my daily life. The most common way it affects me is that I constantly try to thank God, many times a day, for all the wonderful things he does for me and my love ones. Today, because I’m a child of God, I will try to let others see God in me by my actions. If ever approached by someone in need I always try to help. Thank you Father for another day of life.

  • Thank you John for a look at how in God’s plan that He sent His son in human form to give mankind another chance to walk among us as an example to what it takes to be blessed and lead a holy life. From man’s beginnings, man lacked to trust God and follow his rules of faith. Again man turned his back on God by wanting a man king to live by man’s laws and again to not follow God’s laws which lead to the almost complete downfall of the decedents of Abraham. As the wisdom of the Prophets foretold of a Messiah that is yet to come to redeem the sins of mankind. When the Messiah did come into the world, Our Blessed Virgin Mother Mary who was chosen in God’s plan way before she herself was born, Jesus came to prepare us by teaching us how to love, be at peace and prepare a place for us in the new Jerusalem. The power of the high ranking Jews were afraid to lose their power, taxes on their own Jewish people and standing with the Romans caused them to bring false charges against Jesus that led to His Crucifixion. After three days, everything change in the world to begin the creation of our Catholic Church! John may God continue to bless you and all the staff at The Great Adventure and Ascession Press!

  • The Unity of God and man in the person of Jesus is the mystery of the Catholic Faith that I simply cannot get my head around. And that makes it the most beautiful of all Mysteries to me. To me John’s Gospel is the most beautiful work that will ever be written

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