The Catholic Defender: Who Do Men Say That The Son Of Man Is
"Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that the Son of man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"16 Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ." Matthew 16:13-20
Consider that there have been several heresies in history that have tried to shape the person of Jesus from their own mind, their own perspectives:
Adoptionism - Belief that Jesus was born as a mere (non-divine) man, was supremely virtuous and that he was adopted later as "Son of God" by the descent of the Spirit on him.
Apollinarism - Belief that Jesus had a human body and lower soul (the seat of the emotions) but a divinemind. Apollinaris further taught that the souls of men were propagated by other souls, as well as their bodies.
Arianism - Denial of the true divinity of Jesus Christ taking various specific forms, but all agreed that Jesus Christ was created by the Father, that he had a beginning in time, and that the title "Son of God" was a courtesy one.
Docetism - Belief that Jesus' physical body was an illusion, as was his crucifixion; that is, Jesus only seemed to have a physical body and to physically die, but in reality he was incorporeal, a pure spirit, and hence could not physically die.
Nestorianism - Belief that Jesus Christ was a natural union between the Flesh and the Word, thus not identical, to the divine Son of God.
Sabellianism - Belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three characterizations of one God, rather than three distinct "persons" in one God.
Pelagianism - Belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without Divine aid.
These examples were but just a few, there are literally thousands. The Jehovah's Witness believe that Jesus is the incarnation of St. Michael the Archangel. The Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers indicating Jesus was a created being, an angel.
The main point being is that there are many voices trying to answer this very important question of Jesus, "Who do men say that the Son of Man is? The only real answer will come from those Jesus instructed His teaching beginning with the Apostles, their successors who would follow Christ based from their word.
The Trinity is the great mystery of the nature of God. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, one God in Three Divine Persons.
The easiest way that I've associated the Trinity together is my tool of water.
There is Steam, liquid, and ice that is of the same substance, yet three forms.
Using mathematical calculations, there are fractions, decimals, and percentages that can derive the same answer.
God is Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Just looking from the scriptures, there are some unique comparisons:
Isaiah 45:22-25 states, “Turn to me and be safe, all you ends of the earth, for I am God; there is no other! By myself I swear, uttering my just decree and my unalterable word: To me every knee shall bend; by me every tongu shall swear, Saying, ‘Only in the Lord are just deeds and power. Before him in shame shall come all who vent their anger against him. In the Lord shall be the vindication and the glory of all the descendants of Israel”.
Philippians 2:6-11 states, “Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”.
Revelation 1:8 states, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty”. Again, Revelation 21:6-7 states, “He said to me, ‘They are accomplished, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water”.
Referring to Jesus, Revelation 22:12 states, “Behold, I am coming soon, I bring with me the recompense I will give to each according to his deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end”.
Exodus 3:13 states, “But. said Moses to God, ‘when I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your Fathers has sent me to you, if they ask me what is your name? what am I to tell them’? God replied, ‘I am who am’. Then he added, ‘This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you”.
John 8:57-58 states, “So the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham’? Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM”.
1 Samuel 2:10 states, “The Lord’s foes shall be shattered. The Most High in heaven thunders; the Lord judges the ends of the earth. Now may he give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed”.
2 Corinthians 5:9-10 states,“Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil”.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (232) states, “Christians are baptized ‘in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’. Before receiving the sacrament, they respond to a three-part question when asked to confess the Father, the Son, and the Spirit: ‘I do”. ‘The faith of all Christians rest on the Trinity”.
The Athanasian creed gives a summary of the early Church’s teaching on the Trinity :
We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost; but the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten; the Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten; the Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
The Nicene Creed
I believe in one God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial
with the Father;
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate
of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified
under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son
is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic,
and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection
of the dead and the life of the world to come.