Did Jesus ever pray to himself

The eighth chapter of the Gospel of Mark tells how one day Jesus and his disciples withdrew to the area of ​​Caesarea Philippi. There he asks: "Who do people take me for?" The disciples report the common opinions: some consider Jesus to be John the Baptist who has returned, others to be the prophet Elijah, whose return was expected before the coming of the Messiah. Others believe that Jesus is the reincarnation of another prophet. But then Jesus asks the disciples the crucial question: "Who do you think I am?" And Peter dares to confess: "You are the Messiah, the promised Savior!"

Since then, the question of who Jesus was or is has never fallen silent. It is obvious that he was a person like us, that he was hungry and thirsty, that he laughed and cried, could get angry and suffered a brutal death. On the other hand, he had powers and a charisma that went far beyond anything anyone had ever seen before. Furthermore, he identified himself with God in a way that was either blasphemous (as the ruling Jewish circles of his time saw it) or an indication that God was incomparably present in this person.

The appearances of the risen Lord after Easter confirmed the disciples that God himself appeared to men in Jesus Christ. The title of God "Lord" was transferred to him and Old Testament texts in which God was addressed as "Lord" were related to Jesus Christ. And people began to call on Jesus Christ in prayer. "Maranatha! - Our Lord, come!" is one of the oldest prayers for Christ.

Is Jesus Man or God? A question debated for centuries

Nevertheless, for centuries the question of how one should imagine the relationship between God and the man Jesus of Nazareth never came to rest. Roughly one can say: Some emphasized the humanity of Jesus, who was gifted by God with special powers and whom God, as it were, "adopted". The others emphasized his divinity and wrestled with the question of whether the infinite God could be embodied in a finite human being. A common solution was the idea that the divine Christ had only an illusory body and left it again before he died on the cross because God could not die.

The disputes were dogged and vigorously mixed with church political interests. The Council of Nicea (325) formulated the "essential equality" of Christ and God; the Council of Chalcedon (451) added that Christ is nonetheless of the same essence as us humans. Both "natures" are "unmixed" and "undivided" in Jesus Christ. At the same time, Jesus Christ is received into the one divine Person.

The quantum model of light as an aid

This laid the foundation for the complicated Christian doctrine of the triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), which traditional logic is still rubbing against today. For Islam, for example, which venerates Jesus as a prophet, this view is blasphemous because it turns one God into three gods. It is only in our century that the intellectual achievement of the early Church is being appreciated from the natural scientific side. In modern physics the insight has gained acceptance that certain phenomena can only be described by so-called complementary thinking. This means that you have to make two apparently contradicting statements in order to do justice to a situation. In certain experiments the light appears as a "wave", in others it seems to consist of "particles". One would not adequately describe light if one were to define it only as a non-material wave or only as a collection of, as it were, material particles. The ancient church doctrine of the "two natures" of Jesus Christ was the first ingenious attempt at a "complementary" definition in spiritual history. The age-old tension remains to this day. When I asked my confirmands to write down who Jesus is for them, they above all expressed their admiration for his humanity: "I think it's good that he always stood up in the right place." - "He is like a doctor and like a psychiatrist in one person." One doubts that Jesus "was as perfect as the Bible tells us", and another writes: "He is a perfectly normal person who also has problems." Others see him not only as a historical figure, but as a "friend who knows everything about me" and who can also help today: "I believe that Jesus forgives everyone for their mistakes, no matter how great they are. I believe that Jesus stands by everyone, even if he has little to do with the church. " Of course there are also doubts about the belief in the power of Christ: "Sometimes I doubt that he gives us peace and love, since there are wars, poverty, hunger and suffering all over the world." One problem for today's dialogue between religions is the question of the exclusive claim of Jesus Christ, as raised by traditional church teaching with reference to the Gospel of John. "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me." Does this mean that there is no salvation outside of the church, which confesses Jesus Christ as God's Son and Savior?

The uniqueness of Jesus should not be mixed with claims to power

The Catholic theologian Karl Rahner tried to solve this question by speaking of an "anonymous Christianity": There are people who follow the path of Jesus without confessing him to be God. On the other hand, there are many who "Lord!" name, but disregard his will, the New Testament already knows.

It seems important to me that the church does not mix up the uniqueness of Jesus with its own claims to exclusivity and power. The Franciscan Father Richard Rohr put it this way: "We Christians have an exclusive relationship with a Lord who is essentially inclusive." In other words: Those who get involved with Jesus are confronted with someone who does not exclude anyone, who has nothing to do with denominational boundaries and self-righteousness. Again and again the Jesus of the Gospels praises the "faith" of people who do not make a correct confession, but who turn to him trustingly in their need. A church that is inspired by Jesus' love for people and open-mindedness will win over more people to Jesus Christ than one that exclusively administers a complicated doctrine of the faith. We can leave the question of who is "inside" and who is "outside" to God himself. Otherwise it could quickly turn against us.

Mother Teresa assumed that Christ is present in the poor. That is why she did not preach, but simply loved Jesus in her fellow men in need. If we believe that Christ is long before us with people who (not yet) know or confess his name, then we can testify to his love more relaxed and without pressure.