Thursday 11 June 2015

The special role of Mary the mother of Jesus, and John the Evangelist in Christ's work

It may be possible to summarize Christianity as aiming at the economy of Love; a world in which the primacy of Love is something perpetually lived-by.

Since the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ were necessary to the salvation and divinization of Men; then it seems to follow that Christ came to earth for something-to-do-with Love.

And by 'Love' must be meant Love as it is known and experienced by Men (because God already knew all about Love from the divine perspective - the incarnation of Christ would not have been necessary if that divine type of Love was sufficient).

So, perhaps we could say that one reason Christ came to earth was to be loved as a Man, and himself to love as a Man.

If so, then the two loves of Christ we know most about from the Bible are: 1. Mary's love for her son Jesus; and, 2. The love of Jesus for his disciple John - 'the disciple 'whom Jesus loved'.

I think it likely that Jesus was loved by, and personally loved, other people than these - but these two we know for sure. So, if Jesus became a Man in order to experience love from the perspective of a Man, then we can say that he both was loved, and himself loved.

I suspect that this experience of love may have been a very important fact in enabling the Atonement.


Note: It may or may not be significant, I am not sure, that (according to some Christian understandings) neither Mary nor John the Evangelist have (yet?) died - Mary was translated directly to Heaven while John's ministry continues on earth.


David said...

Didn't Jesus love all mankind? That is certainly how I imagine him! He is like a wise older brother showing us the way. His mission was to save mankind but was the atonement not a profound act of love for all mankind especially for the sinners who are straying ignorantly for the path of love and eventual (hoped for) divinisation as children of God.

Bruce Charlton said...

@David - What I am saying here is that Jesus's love for all mankind was a divine type of love ('agape'); his love for the disciple John seems to have been a specific human type of love - after all the reference is to THE disciple whom Jesus loved, which indicates that Jesus did NOT love the other disciples in this same way (although of course he loved them in his divine-way).

Why would John mention that love, so often, otherwise?

There are other explanations, of course! But what I am saying seems reasonable - Jesus loved specifically John in the specifically human sense of love; which is why John uniquely did not abandon Christ after his arrest, was present at the crucifixion, and was asked to look after Jesus's mother.