What is the meaning of life? How do we cure all these diseases? Is lasting peace possible? Who am I supposed to marry?
All these questions plus countless more have lingered and ruminated in the human mind throughout the centuries. As a fan of science fiction and humor, I am reminded of the classic quip from Douglas Adam’s in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Asked about the meaning of life the answer was “”The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is 42.” 42?! Really? Yes, the ultimate answer is reduced to a number. Nothing else matters except for 42. Obviously, Adam’s meant that reply for comedic purposes. But what if there really was an answer that easy or apparent. An answer that would solve all the world’s issues.
Well, exactly there is an answer to everything. Jesus. Yes. I said it! Jesus is the answer to everything. Wait, wait, wait. You might be thinking “Jesus is important and can solve BIG important problems, but not everything.” Or you might be more cynical: “Jesus only belongs in the realm of religion. He has nothing to do with science, politics, or just the practical issues of daily living!” Still more you might outright deny the significance of Jesus at all. “Jesus is not even a historical figure! He was a figure made up by the early Christians and now embellished like Santa Claus.”
Whether you have doubts, large or small, about this claim I simply ask you to listen to my rational. I promise you it makes sense and is quite intriguing. To avoid getting too technical and complex theologically, I am only going to focus on a few passages in the Bible to demonstrate my argument. Here is my basic argument:
Jesus is God
God is Perfect Love
Therefore Jesus is Perfect Love
Jesus is God
The Bible contains many passages that prove the divinity of Jesus. For a more complete and thorough outline of Scriptural evidence pointing to Jesus as God please refer to the link in the Related Resources at the end of the article.
Along with the connection between Genesis 1 and Jesus as always pre-existent, John provides us with seven sayings of Jesus that hark back to the original name of God in the Old Testament–“I AM”. In Exodus 3:13 Moses asked God his Name. The next phrase God replies, “I am who I am.* Then he added: This is what you will tell the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” John desires his audience to make the connection between Jesus and this original name of God in the following passages: John 6:35; John 8:12; John 10:9; John 10:11; John 11:25-26; John 14:6; and John 15:5. When Jesus calls himself (I AM _____) it is clear that he is invoking that Jewish appellation for God.
God is Love
The first letter of St. John provides the clear and simple formula for God is love. According to 1 John 4:8, “Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.” Great! This provides the definition of God as being Love. But isn’t love arbitrary? Do it not mean something different based on the individual preferences? Don’t various cultures define love differently? Well, that may be the case. But I am going to define love as referred to in the Bible.
The most complete and understandable definition of love comes from St. Paul. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 the Apostle of the Gentiles wrote, ”
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated,d5 it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,e6 it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.f 8* Love never fails.”
Bringing it All Together
So far we have shown some biblical evidence for the divinity of Jesus and defined the God is love. Now you might still be wondering: how does this show Jesus is the answer to everything? Let us do a bit of an exercise. I want you to think about the worst interaction you every had in a relationship (i.e. a argument with spouse, conflict at work, disciplining a child, etc). If that interactive ended poorly, what caused it to end badly? One of the following vices probably prevented you and the other person from resolving the conflict: impatience, anger, ego, greed, lust, envy, or simple laziness.
Now think about that situation again. Instead of those vices insert a virtue into that conflict (i.e. patience for impatience). Love is not rude, it is not prideful, it is patience and kind. Tackling a problem with love will end the conflict. Guaranteed. Why don’t we follow this simple blueprint? It is because humanity suffers from sin. We are incomplete and only Perfect Love can fix us. Jesus is God. God is Perfect Love. Therefore, Jesus is Perfect Love.
Practicing patience and understanding helps to resolve conflicts. Limiting our egos leads to more collaboration. Human collaboration breeds humanity innovation and sharing of information. Innovation and freely sharing of information can be used to tackle more serious problems plaguing humanity such as hunger, war, and diseases.
Call to Action
How exactly can I have Jesus help me in my problems? All we have to do is to sincerely ask for help. Ask God for help. Ask your fellow neighbor for help. Be humble. Be thankful. The Litany of Humility is a powerful prayer to help me reignite my faith. Start by praying once daily. Next bring this prayer to Church and pray before the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus solves everything. It truly is that simple. The challenging part is beginning and continuing to rely on God for help!
From a young age, I always saw the world through a scientific lens. I needed to understand how the world works. When I attended college, that way of thinking applied to research papers and ensuring I had logical and concise arguments to articulate my interpretation of a particular historical event.
When I read the Gospel of John there is a logical flow to his account of the Gospel events. His entire gospel is masterfully written and laden with tons of symbolism. As a cradle Catholic, I heard John 6 [Jesus’ Bread of Life Discourse] preached frequently during the Mass. It took years of analyzing this chapter and critically viewing it before I realized the genius and truth contained in Christ’s message. Inevitability my close reading of John 6 led me to this conclusion– the evangelist truly believed that Jesus was the literal bread of life that gives humanity eternal life! I give three strong pieces of evidence for this case:
Jesus as a Good Teacher
I think most people would agree with me that Jesus’ followers considered him a good teacher. Jesus could relate to an array of people: rich, poor, fisherman, tax collectors, sinners, and strangers alike. Secondly, Jesus taught using a plethora of means including: sermons, parables, and miracles to name a few. A quality in any good teacher is consistency in content along with the ability to clarify their subject content should disputes arise. In the bread of life discourse in John 6, Jesus presented both his teaching consistently and clearly. Within a span of 24 verses [John 6:35-59] Jesus mentions point blank at least 6 times he is the bread of life. In verse 35, Jesus states, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.” Verses 38, 48, 53-58 also support the Nazarene’s intrepid claim.