Reading Barth Backwards: IV/4, Baptism with the Holy Spirit, #3

“As the true Son of God, and hence as the true Son of Man, Jesus Christ was not merely faithful to the faithful God; by being faithful to Him as His Father, and according to His righteous will, he was also faithful to us as His brethren (Heb. 2.17; 3.2, 6). He was faithful to us by being ready to give himself, and by giving himself, to fulfill the covenant between God and man in His own person, i.e., by being faithful to God in our place, in the place of those who were unfaithful to him.” (21).

The emphasis on Jesus’ faithfulness to humanity is striking here – particularly for those who tend to emphasize Jesus’ faithfulness to the vocation given to him by the Father to the exclusion of all else. More precisely, I suppose, the vocation given to Jesus by the Father requires Jesus to be faithful to humanity (see also Isaiah 40-55). At times, however, Christians have a tendency to see Jesus as being faithful to God without any bearing on Jesus’ faithfulness to us. Without negating or lessening the pervasiveness of individual sin in the least, Jesus’ faithfulness to humanity bears witness to the worth of human life.


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