Do you find it easier to think of Jesus as God or as Man?
Recently, I have been thinking about the Incarnation of Jesus Christ: this doctrine of Jesus taking on flesh, becoming a man, so that by His perfect life, death, and resurrection we might have eternal life. The implications of this doctrine have been a challenge to me.
Genesis tells us that Jesus was at creation. It tells us that man was made in the image of God, in all three of His persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Colossians speaks of Jesus as the creator and sustainer of all things. Throughout Scripture we understand the deity of Jesus Christ being God.
Yet I don’t think I always understand the far-reaching implications of Jesus becoming man on my behalf.
God could have had His Son arrive on earth as a man, fully grown and ready to die for you and me. Yet, He did not. Jesus came as a baby. He learned what it meant to be dependent upon a mother and an earthly father. He grew in wisdom and understanding. He obeyed the law perfectly, and fulfilled all righteousness. Jesus completely fulfilled the will of His Father.
Jesus knew what obedience was prior to His becoming man, but He learned obedience on earth by experiencing it. In every situation, no matter how difficult, Jesus was obedient to the Father.
As God, Jesus is unchangeable, infinite, ever-supreme in every way. Yet as man, Jesus was changeable, subject to weakness, able to suffer and able to die. Jesus experienced fatigue, hunger, thirst, sorrow, joy, betrayal...so that He could be a High Priest able to sympathize with you and me.
As I have been thinking about the humanity of Jesus, I have been challenged in several ways.
Throughout the gospels we see Jesus going away to a quiet place to pray. Jesus would awaken early in the morning to pray (Mark 1:35). He would send His disciples ahead of Him and go into the hills to pray (Mark 6:45). Judas knew where to take the religious leaders when he betrayed Jesus because it was a place that Jesus had gone with them before. As Jesus anticipated His upcoming death, he told Judas, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” Jesus, as man, understood the pain of betrayal, the anticipation of pain and sorrow and of His Father turning away from Him. As He spent that last night in prayer, He asked His Father if He was willing to take this cup from Him, yet Jesus desired not His own will, but His Father’s.
Do you pray? Jesus needed to get up early to pray. Jesus needed to spend the night in prayer. Jesus went away to quiet places. His time in prayer was important, not just a few quick sentences, before a meal or during a drive, being interrupted by things around us or maybe even the little people in our back seats.
Scripture tells us to always be in an attitude of prayer with God, so it is good to pray before meals giving thanks to God, to pray as we pass an accident for the safety of those involved, to pray wherever we are as God brings to mind a friend’s trial, or a relative’s illness. However, Jesus as man, needed to be sustained by His Father in prayer.
How much more so do you and I need our heavenly Father?
Jesus learned the Word. It is hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that Jesus is the Word, but He also learned the Word. His parents found Jesus at age 12, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. (Luke 2:46)
Jesus used the Word against Satan during His temptation. He spoke of the need for certain things to happen as a fulfillment of the Old Testament. The Word is a resource that Jesus as a man used to live obediently.
Does the Word of God change your behavior? Does it help you to fight against temptation?
Fellowship of His Sufferings
The author of Hebrews tells us to “consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:3)
Do you look to the example of Jesus, living out His humanity in perfect obedience to His Father? Do you set your eyes on Jesus as you go through trials and suffering?
Do you thank God for Jesus as He is standing at His Father's right hand in His humanity mediating for you?
Listen to the apostles on this subject:
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
“Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.” (1 Peter 2:21)
“Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6)
Let's join with these great men of faith in following the example of Jesus in His humanity.
Read other blog posts like this one by guest author Cheryl Bayly on re:flect-i.