Let’s continue with the second part of Saint Patrick’s Breastplate. It’s all about Jesus. In this part of the prayer we focus on the very person and historically significant actions of Jesus Christ. If you remember, when you “arise” you are exerting your will to choose to bind unto yourself God’s choosing of you.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
The most important proof of God’s care for us was when He came to Earth as a baby, became one of us, identified with us in life and death, and lived an ideal, sinless life of love before us. The smart guys with the degrees in theology call this the Incarnation. In one of the more than than three hundred fulfilled prophetic promises of God’s coming to Earth, He even calls Himself “the-God-Who-Is-With-Us,” or Immanuel. This person called Jesus came to be a signpost of a new way to live. He came to reveal awesome truth about God, the Father, and His desire that we all should know Him and have a real relationship with Him. He also came to show us the life that we all desire to live, a life that has meaning, purpose, and that makes a difference for all time. Jesus said it this way: “I am the way, the truth and the life.” I would say it like this: “Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
Jesus is the Way
Jesus made this radical claim about himself without apology. He said it simply and without any kind of equivocation. He was not apologetic when He said it. He really meant it when He said, “No one comes to the Father but by Me.” He didn’t give a three hour discourse to explain himself. He just said “I am the Way” and meant it. When you meet the person who says that there are many ways up the proverbial mountain, he has to meet Jesus at the bottom of that mountain, and Jesus is simply going to say to him “I AM THE WAY.”
Jesus Is the Truth
For people in today’s a la carte menu spiritual atmosphere, this statement is hard to handle. Even the majority of Christian believers generally think of Jesus as a thinker or philosopher or prophet. When we speak and think like this we basically bring Jesus down to our level in order to try and understand him. There is a danger of attempting to deconstruct or demythologize Jesus in order to explain him. But the truth about Jesus is that He IS the Truth. Truth is a person, Jesus Christ. He is the very essence of all Truth for all time. When someone met Jesus on the road to Nazareth and talked with Him, they met the Truth. Jesus didn’t just teach truth, or speak truth, or even learn truth, He was and continues to be, Truth itself.
Jesus is the Life
The writings about Jesus in the New Testament describe two kinds of life. One is called “bios” and refers to mere biological, fleshly life. The other kind of life is called “zoe” and refers to the kind of life that God Himself possesses. It was said of Jesus that “In Him was life and that life was the light of men.” In these days we call this kind of life “eternal” life because it is the nature of God to be outside of and unbounded by time. Jesus possessed both the “bios” and the “zoe” kinds of life, thus the statement “In Him” was life. My favorite way to put this is that even the most dogged materialist atheist in the world relies on Jesus for his very life. His life is sustained moment by moment by the very love, grace and choice of Jesus Christ. When I think of a Cosmic Christ, this is what I imagine. Jesus is so filled with Life, the eternal God kind of “zoe” life, that all things have their beginning and end in Him, and are thus sustained by Him. So when Jesus claimed that He was the Life, he was saying something so radical, that either he was telling the truth and is who He says He is, or He was completely insane, or, He was delusional and altogether pure evil. As C.S. Lewis is famous for saying, He was either Lord, a liar, or a lunatic.
So as we arise and pray this prayer, we are reminded that Patrick’s Lord is also ours.