Street protests. Vicious graffiti. Warring social media posts. Words flew and households were divided. Then, a wise leader pulled key decision-makers together to try to solve this thing.
No, not current politics. This was something threatening peace and stability 1,692 years ago. It all centered around Jesus — was he God or something less than God? Some said God originally lived alone, then created Jesus and Jesus in turn created everything else; in other words, Jesus was not divine. Others said Jesus was fully God, not subordinate to God. And some tried for a compromised middle ground view.
Arguments raged in the Roman Empire. Pamphleteers had a heyday. Finally Emperor Constantine brought together 200 or so bishops for what became known as the First Council of Nicene, which, according to some sources, began on this date in 325. After weeks of debate, the bishops agreed that Jesus is truly God. They issued what became known as The Nicene Creed.
Athanasius, one of the bishops, summarized it all beautifully.
“Jesus that I know as my redeemer cannot be less than God.”
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this
How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;
together they shout for joy.
When the Lord returns to Zion,
they will see it with their own eyes.
Burst into songs of joy together,
you ruins of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
The Lord will lay bare his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth will see
the salvation of our God.