Why did Jesus need to become human to save us?

Bearing in mind that we emphasize the life of Jesus from the historical point of view , we now move on to the theological point of view from São Tomás de Aquino, since the Church considers the great theologian who knew how to substantiate, in a peculiar way , theology and Catholic philosophy.

In this part where the life of Jesus Christ will be approached from his main work – The Summa Theologica -, it is appropriate to start from the assumption that the time and place in which Jesus was born and lived has a theological meaning. St. Thomas stresses that Christ chose a poor country, as well as a poor Mother, since God chose what is weak in the world to confuse what is strong; therefore, he stresses that Jesus wanted to be born at a time when Palestine was dominated by the Roman Empire for a later purpose, explained in the following terms:

Illustrative photo: Wesley Almeida / cancaonova.com

“To manifest his power more, he established in Rome, which was the capital of the universe, the head of his Church, as a sign of perfect victory and so that from there the faith could extend to the whole world, according to the words of Isaiah: ‘slaughtered the inaccessible city; The feet of the poor, that is, of Christ, will tread on it, and the steps of the underprivileged, ‘that is, of the Apostles Peter and Paul. ” (AQUINO, 2009, v.VIII, p. 520).

Jesus in His wisdom wanted to become human in order to approach us

Jesus Christ took on human nature to cleanse it from original sin, taking the flesh derived from Adam to heal it. He came to bring man back from slavery to freedom , and, for such liberation to happen, he submitted himself to slavery. As a Jew, he wanted to be circumcised and submitted to the precepts of the law for four reasons, evidenced by Aquinate:

“First to approve the old law. Second, in order to, observing it, consume it in itself and finish it, showing how it was ordered to itself. Third, not to give the Jews an opportunity to slander him. Fourth, to free men from slavery to the law, according to the Apostle: God sent his Son, made subject to the law, to redeem those who were under the law. ” (AQUINO, 2009, v. VIII, p. 590).

Being God, therefore sinless, when he assumed human nature, he wanted to be baptized by John the Baptist, even without needing, so that the humanity that needed to follow His example. And so the “old Adam” immersed in the water. He let himself be tempted by the devil in the desert to set an example of how to overcome temptations and by his humanity he manifested his divinity, living with men, preaching and performing miracles. He first preached to the Jews because they were closer to God by the monotheistic faith, in order to transmit His doctrine to the Gentiles through them. However, His ministry was not limited to the Jews, but, as an expression of the universality of His Church, He healed some pagans, such as the daughter of Cananeia and the servant of the Roman centurion. He also retired to give himself to prayer, teaching him to do nothing for ostentation and to avoid agitation, especially when the necessary things are at stake. All His activity was for the instruction of men, which afflicted the Jewish authorities to the point of causing him to die. According to St. Thomas, such authorities saw the evident signs of His divinity, however, out of hatred and envy, they misrepresented His words and did not want to believe when He confessed theSon of God .

From the womb of Mary to the Cross

However, Jesus wanted to give himself into his hands suffering the ignominious Passion and Death with a purpose, which can be understood from the Tomasian reason, also as an example of virtue. However, considering that there are people who, despite not fearing death, have an aversion to certain types of death, I wanted to die on the cross in an abominable way, so that such people would not fear any type of death. “Hence, the Philosopher said that the man of virtue the more he values ​​his life the more he knows it to be better, and yet he exposes it because of virtue. In a similar way, Christ, because of love, exposed his highly esteemed life ”. (AQUINO, 2009, v. VIII, p. 663).

When observing that the Stoics affirmed that no sadness would be of use, for not having harmony with reason, and for this reason it should be avoided by the sage, Saint Thomas refutes them by affirming that sadness is good when it comes from love.

It appears that the Passion of Christ came from His free will. As he took the form of a servant, due to his high love and maximum humility, he chose a form of dreadful death, suffering all kinds of pain, not refusing to die in a famous place like Jerusalem, justifying, in this way, because he wanted to be born in a place simple as Bethlehem. In suffering, it allowed each of its powers to perform its own functions in the crudelest death of the cross. In touch, he suffered the stinging pains of the flagellation, the crowning of thorns, the drilling of nails in the hands and feet, slaps and spits; on the palate by giving it gall and vinegar; in smell, since the Calvary was a smelly place, due to the corpses that were killed there; in his hearing, due to the noise of those who outraged and teased him; and in the vision,

It is observed that Christ’s bodily and inner pains were the greatest present in human life. But, in addition to the human suffering of Christ during His Passion, it is necessary to emphasize his saving intention in this attitude. This is why Saint Thomas wrote:

“It must be said that Christ suffered not only for the loss of his bodily life, but also for the sins of all men. This pain that exceeded all the pains of any contrite person, either because it comes from greater wisdom and love, which increases the pain of contrition, or because it was a pain for all sins at the same time. ” (AQUINO, 2009, v. VIII, p. 663).

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The Tomasian scholastic faith stresses that the cause of Christ’s pain was due, first, to all the sins of humanity, for which, in suffering, he gave satisfaction. In other words, His Passion refers to the salvation of mankind, considering that it was desired and lived by Him as a means of granting the most worthy salvation of man. Therefore, it is evident that such suffering was necessary due to the need for an end, and can be understood essentially from three modalities, as Tomás wrote:

“First, as for us, who were freed by his passion, as the Gospel of John says: ‘The Son of Man must be raised up, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish and have eternal life’. Second, as for Christ himself, who deserved the glory of exaltation for the crushing of passion. This is what the Gospel of Luke says about it: ‘Was it not necessary for Christ to suffer this to enter his glory?’ Third, as for God, who had established the Passion of Christ, announced in the Scriptures and prefigured in the Old Testament observances. And what does the Gospel of Luke say: ‘these are the words that I addressed to you when I was still with you: everything that was written about me in the law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled’ and ‘because it was written : Christ should suffer and rise from the dead ‘.

Through His Passion we were set free

Therefore, it turns out that, as for man, Christ redeemed him from sin; as for Christ, he was fully glorified, giving himself as a man to redeem man; as for God, it responds to the inseparable demand of his justice and mercy. However, it makes it clear that there is more mercy on God’s part in satisfying Himself by becoming a man, than by wiping out sins without satisfaction.

From the point of view of the Tomasian faith, it is understood that the Passion of Christ, in addition to freeing man from sin, brought many appropriate consequences to his salvation. Through this event, he knows how much he is loved by God, being driven to love Him, since in love is the perfection of human salvation. With the example of the virtues demonstrated in His Passion , such as obedience, humility, constancy, justice and other virtues necessary for his salvation, man is called to imitate him. In short, it is understood that Jesus granted him the sanctifying grace and the glory of the beatitude, showing him that he must resist sin.

By His Passion Jesus also gave man a high dignity, having been overcome by the devil, who is now overcome by Man. Since man had deserved death, now man overcomes death by dying. It follows that Christ did not take man’s place in the triumph over sin, but associated him with Himself, providing those he saves to collaborate in His own salvation and that of others. Therefore, it is concluded that His Passion is attributed to the assumption of the divine nature that is impassive, due to the passable human nature that was assumed.


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