Jesus, the revelation of Us

"Salvation means nothing else than the fulfillment of the ultimate destiny toward which man is aimed, for which he sees in his entire behavior." - Wolfhart Pannenberg

If one can side-step the potential "offense" of Pannenberg's masculine pronouns standing in for all human beings, there is a truth in this profession that can help clarify an often contentious discussion regarding what it means to be 'saved'. In fact, Pannenberg invites his readers to clear away all competitors for the meaning of salvation and accept that it is "nothing else than" the completion or fulfillment of our ultimate destiny--the end towards which all our activity is pointed. Pannenberg is NOT saying that everyone has perfect aim and therefore he is not saying that if we all just follow what we think is our "destiny" we will be saved. On the contrary, though one's aim might be off, the simple fact that they are aiming at something they perceive as their destiny or fulfillment witnesses to the recognition that they are not yet complete and therefore stand in need of some kind of completion or fulfillment.

For Pannenberg this is what Jesus did and does--he reveals and accomplishes in himself the destiny of humanity, the goal to which our desires point even if we don't yet recognize it. And wonder of all wonders, this revelation comes to even the lowest and slowest among earth's inhabitants as our gospel text this Sunday recounts. Peter, the impulsive fisherman from Galilee is evidence of this. "For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my father in heaven."

I pray that we are each allowed a glimpse of this beautiful truth, that Jesus came not only to reveal "God", but to reveal "us", which may be why in our text he is referred to not only as the son of God, but also, by the name he adopts for himself, the son of man.


Fr. Chris




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