Chris Welch uses Designer Pro 365 to illustrate all 3rd level concepts

Xara Designer Pro X

Saturday, 15 September 2012

The Humanity of Jesus Christ Parts X - XXII by David Heisler

Parts One to Nine can be accessed by the Back to the Start Link button at the bottom of this post.

The Humanity of Jesus Christ X

“Jesus wept”. [John 11.35]

Why ever would Jesus weep or cry?  Isn’t He above all that?  Doesn’t He know that all will be well in the long run?  Doesn’t His weeping show weakness or worse, doesn’t it show lack of faith?  When a person weeps over their life circumstance doesn’t that show a lack of faith that God is in control?

Jesus did not live on a level where He was only “playing at being human”.  At the tomb of Lazarus we have Jesus, King of the Kings, Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace, Almighty God, weeping.  Very strange in that He knew that in two minutes He would bring Lazarus back to life.  But what does He do?  He is overwhelmed, personally by His own sorrow and grief.

Some say that Jesus wept vicariously for the others around Him that were grieving.  And, I would agree that He certainly was sensitive to the pain of others.  That is part of being a real human being – feeling the pain that others feel.  But I do not agree that that is the main reason Jesus wept.  He wept for His own personal sorrow and grief.

But why? 

The Humanity of Jesus Christ XXI
The other thing that strikes me at this point regarding the humanity of Jesus Christ is that, and this is only my opinion, but I don’t think He’s turned in His humanity quite yet.  “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today and forever”.  [Heb. 13.8]  I think He’s still a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”.   [Isaiah 53.3]  Why do I think that?  I think that because I am a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” and so are you. 

The thought that Jesus now reclines on a chaise lounge watching cartoons, in soft, fluffy clothes, counting down the days until Armageddon is repulsive and unacceptable to me.  I think it is much more likely that He spends His time in hell – “preaching to the spirits in prison”.  [I Pet. 3.19]  Remember, He will never change.  I can’t identify with a Savior that cannot identify with me.  If He is above feelings, emotions, pain and hurt then what does He know about me.  In that case He would know nothing about me and that is simply not Him.

In our own humanity we must know our co-saviorhood to the same depth, complete with pain, sorrows and grief.  Jesus had to know His humanity to the deepest depth of pain and suffering.  And so will we.  And, at times it’s going to hurt real bad.  So be it.  I know I’m not saying anything that you do not already, in your heart, know and confirm.
 

The Humanity of Jesus Christ XXII
As Him, we will live a life for others.  We will know and share the depth of every pain with everyone who shares our personal world.   Just as Jesus wept at the tomb of His friend Lazarus as He was overcome by His own grief that His dear friend died, so will we.

This is how we understand and process our own humanness.  And, of course, the full truth in all of this is the reality of our life lived for others.  “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak …” [Romans 15:1] Now, for the most part, Jesus didn’t think about living His life for others.  He didn’t have to make it so.  You don’t have to think about breathing.  You don’t have to think about your heart beating.  You really don’t do anything consciously to breath or beat your heart.  Ultimately He had to grasp the eternal reality of His sacrificial death, but not necessarily on a day to day, moment to moment process.  He just lived and made no excuses for His life.

The reality of “life for others” is in operation, always, eternally.  And, the way the “life for others” operates is by and through our individual humanness, character and personality – not in spite of it.  Our confusion lies in the mistake of thinking that our humanness is wrong and must be changed before we are “proper” Christians.  Sometimes we’ve got this whole thing so backwards. 

The Humanity of Jesus Christ XIII
“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men …” [Philippians 2.7]

The RSV [Revised Standard Version] of the Bible uses the phrase “emptied himself” in place of “made himself of no reputation”.  I actually like that better because I think it to be more accurate of exactly what happened.  He took whatever qualified Him to be God and removed it from Himself for His life on Earth.  This reality includes, if I may say, the memory of that act.  So, as a “servant”, as a “man”, He really was.  No doubt and no excuse.

This may be a tough one to grasp, but He knew Himself no different than you and I know ourselves.  And, of course He was tempted in every way [“in all points”].  [Heb. 4.15]  He was tempted to misuse His Saviorhood.  He was tempted to forget the whole thing and just live a normal, quiet life until old age.  He was tempted by every unlovable thought and act known to man.

He was just so human, with no excuses.  He did not embark upon a self-improvement program.  He spoke His mind.  He railed against hypocrisy and hate.  He loved others until they murdered Him.   But, in all this He is not our example of “how to live”.


The Humanity of Jesus Christ XIV

I say Jesus Christ is not an example of “how” to live.  Many think that He is.  I was once a member of church that had a prominent sign on a sanctuary wall saying, to the effect, that the goal of the church is to make “Christ-like disciples”.  Certainly that thought is not what Christianity has boiled down to.  For that statement to be our true goal we must deny the very person that God has created each one of us, uniquely to be and to live as such.  Of course, to us who know Him, we live with the knowledge that it is really Him living in us, as us [Gal. 2.20], but not as imitators of Him – no, really living as we were created – to be ourselves.  So, all this begs the ultimate question.  In all things and in everything we live with the ultimate knowledge that we are the persons of love as He is the Person of love.  This is truly undeniable.

Our religion, and I hate using that term, but for what it’s worth, should be about encouraging each one to simply be the human being they were created to be.  And, yes, humans were created to be expressions and conduits of deity – more specifically, to be sons and daughters of the Most High.  But that expression must be through our unique personalities and humanity.  This understanding is the only way that we can ever come to understand our true destiny and claim our inheritance.  And, inheritance comes only from a death, and, in this case, the death of the Savior.

More on this in Part XV
Like · · Share


The Humanity of Jesus Christ XV

Jesus had this balance of being himself, complete with aspects of His personality that, when viewed objectively, could be considered flaws and also knowing that He simply was a conduit of deity.  We know that from the two verses following.

“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” [John 5.19]

“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” [John 14.21]

But, how about his anger?

 “And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables …” [John 2.15]

The Humanity of Jesus Christ XVI

Now I only use “anger” as an example of an aspect of Jesus’ humanity that, if viewed objectively, could be mistaken for a character flaw.  Here are some further illustrations of Jesus’ anger:

“But he turned , and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”  [Matt. 16.23]

While I will not copy the entire chapter of Matthew 23, but take a look to see the angry tongue-lashing that Jesus gave the lawyers, Pharisees and scribes.  He was very angry at them for the many reasons he describes.  So we have Jesus, a man that knew probably better than anyone that He was a conduit of deity – that He was the living expression of God.  Yet if one of us had His level of anger we would be “advised” by our spiritual higher-ups to “take it to Jesus” – “ask God to help us deal with our anger problem”.  Jesus doesn’t do any such thing.  The balance in His life is seen by the fact that He didn’t second guess His reactions and responses to life around him.  He accepts His own humanity and, more important sees it as God’s asset.  Certainly the moments He expressed anger were well taken and served an eternal purpose

The Humanity of Jesus Christ XVII

Again, I use anger only as one example.  Everything about Jesus was just so utterly human and He made no excuse for any of it.  You might want to stop me at this point and say that “dying for others” is not normal and not human.  Maybe it is and we’ve got to get our perspective corrected on that point.  Maybe giving life to others through death is exactly how the universe was created to exist and live.

Jesus knew that whatever it was that He was doing, it was really the Father that lived in Him.  Jesus had quite a temper.  His anger is an aspect of His humanity that we often ignore because it doesn’t seem to fit our idyllic concept of Jesus.  His flashpoint anger was often expressed toward hypocrisy and against religious leadership that misled and abused their followers.

I point out what might be considered a “flaw” in Jesus, namely His anger, not to leave you with the conclusion that it is a flaw.  It most certainly was not a flaw.  It was simply an example of His humanity.  And, the point I am driving at here is that while we ignore His potential “flaw” we place our own under the microscope.  We examine every detail of our own lives, as we are often instructed from the pulpit.  The result is that Christianity appears to be a self-improvement religion instead of what it really is – lives lived and given for others.

More on that in Part XVIII
Like · · Share


The Humanity of Jesus Christ XVIII

So I’ve talked enough about anger.  There is another aspect of Jesus’ humanity that I touched on briefly earlier, but want to go into greater detail now.   We discussed the fact that Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus.  It always seemed odd to me that Jesus probably knew that within a minute or so He would raise Lazarus from the dead.  So, why did He cry?  He did not cry for others at that moment.  He cried for Himself - His very, very human grief at the death of a dear friend.

But this is part of His humanity.

 “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”  [Isaiah 53.3]

Jesus’ personal human experience brought him to the very depth of what it means to be human.  Jesus was a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”.  The use of the term “acquainted” is biblical understatement.  He was drenched with grief.  We don’t know exactly why, but it had to be personal and not vicarious.  We know an example, the death of Lazarus, but we don’t know the origins of his sorrowful life. 

More on this in Part XIX
Like · · Share

The Humanity of Jesus Christ XIX

So I posed the question, where did Jesus’ grief begin?  Sometimes I imagine His grief may have started with the death of Joseph.  Joseph is obviously gone by the time of Jesus’ ministry.  I told a story one time that I could imagine Jesus, as Joseph’s apprentice at some construction site, not holding the ladder properly and Joseph fell, broke his neck and died.  We will never know in this life how Joseph died.  But we do know, or can logically imagine, that for Isaiah to describe Jesus as a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”, that something, or many things, happened in His life to produce that psychological profile for Jesus.

Why is it so important to fully grasp the humanity of Savior?  Grasping His deity is easy.  But it is His humanity that defines Him and makes Him who he is.  “… we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”  [Rom. 5.10]  See?  It’s His human life that saves us, not His deity..

You may consider the “God-like” things that Jesus appeared to do – healing, raising from the dead and knowing the thoughts of others, for example.  Well, Jesus is not the only human being to do things of that nature.  Okay, but how about walking on water?  Well, how about it?  Peter walked on water also.  So, we have anger, sorrow, grief – you can add whatever defines a human to that list and whatever it is, defines Jesus also.

More on that in Part XX
Like · · Share



The Humanity of Jesus Christ XX

There are two things about Jesus’ humanity that strike me at this point in the conversation.  First, that Jesus made no apologies or excuses for His humanity.  He was certainly not involved in a “life-changing” ministry as that term is so widely misused today.  The reason it is misused is that the emphasis is always something like, “I used to sin so much, now I sin a lot less”, or something to that effect.  Or, “I used to be an alcoholic”, or “a druggie”, or, whatever.  And then life becomes this endless road of self-improvement and useless introspection.    The change in “life” is really, “I used to just myself” and now “I know I am a son/daughter of God”.  Life change, to the extent there is change, is always in your perception of your person.  Behavior change, to the extent it happens, results from how you see yourself and who you know yourself to be.

We have no record that Jesus ever got up, giving His “testimony”, bemoaning His “previous life”, but now that He is saved everything is different and He’s trying to live a life that pleases God.  You may say, “but He was perfect so He didn’t have to say anything like that”.  Really?  “[As] He is so are we in this world.” [I John 4.17]  So what does that say about you and me?  One thing that comes to mind is that we can stop referring to Christianity as if it is a self-improvement program and ourselves as permanent students, “ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  [2 Tim. 3.7] 

The Humanity of Jesus Christ XXI

The other thing that strikes me at this point regarding the humanity of Jesus Christ is that, and this is only my opinion, but I don’t think He’s turned in His humanity quite yet.  “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today and forever”.  [Heb. 13.8]  I think He’s still a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”.   [Isaiah 53.3]  Why do I think that?  I think that because I am a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” and so are you.

The thought that Jesus now reclines on a chaise lounge watching cartoons, in soft, fluffy clothes, counting down the days until Armageddon is repulsive and unacceptable to me.  I think it is much more likely that He spends His time in hell – “preaching to the spirits in prison”.  [I Pet. 3.19]  Remember, He will never change.  I can’t identify with a Savior that cannot identify with me.  If He is above feelings, emotions, pain and hurt then what does He know about me.  In that case He would know nothing about me and that is simply not Him.

In our own humanity we must know our co-saviorhood to the same depth, complete with pain, sorrows and grief.  Jesus had to know His humanity to the deepest depth of pain and suffering.  And so will we.  And, at times it’s going to hurt real bad.  So be it.  I know I’m not saying anything that you do not already, in your heart, know and confirm. 
The Humanity of Jesus Christ XXII

As Him, we will live a life for others.  We will know and share the depth of every pain with everyone who shares our personal world.   Just as Jesus wept at the tomb of His friend Lazarus as He was overcome by His own grief that His dear friend died, so will we.

This is how we understand and process our own humanness.  And, of course, the full truth in all of this is the reality of our life lived for others.  “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak …” [Romans 15:1] Now, for the most part, Jesus didn’t think about living His life for others.  He didn’t have to make it so.  You don’t have to think about breathing.  You don’t have to think about your heart beating.  You really don’t do anything consciously to breath or beat your heart.  Ultimately He had to grasp the eternal reality of His sacrificial death, but not necessarily on a day to day, moment to moment process.  He just lived and made no excuses for His life.

The reality of “life for others” is in operation, always, eternally.  And, the way the “life for others” operates is by and through our individual humanness, character and personality – not in spite of it.  Our confusion lies in the mistake of thinking that our humanness is wrong and must be changed before we are “proper” Christians.  Sometimes we’ve got this whole thing so backwards.

No comments: