SO I will start off with two links to pages by N.T. Wright on Jesus self-identity and self-awareness that will shed some light on where I will go in this post.
And then I will post this link as well, which is another source for this post:
I shall try to combine an analysis for the two together.
The first point is that we need to remember that Jesus was a HUMAN. So often we lose sight of this, and put Him in this “other” category so that a)we feel we can no longer relate to him, or b)so that we can rationalize why we mess up and sin and He didn’t. Both are dangerous, and both should be forbidden. Yes, Jesus was God, but His humanity was equally important. It had to be a human that lived a perfect life in order for our sins to be pardoned. It had to be someone who dealt with the same things we deal with, but win them all. It had to be a human so that we could relate in times of need, and turn to Him as a perfect example rather than an idealized concept of how things could be if we were God too.
The reason why I think that these three messages relate is because it all comes down to one thing: Jesus was human. It does not deny His God aspect of Himself, but it refines it. Jesus temptation, if anything, was probably greater than anything we face today. He was put in situations where pressing His “God-button”would have alleviated a lot of things, whether for Himself, or, perhaps more interestingly, for others. He easily could have taken Himself off the cross, in some ways proving His divine power. But in doing so, the necessary sacrifice would have been spoiled. he could have restored the city of Jerusalem to power, but knew His spiritual mission was far more important. How often do we live like this? I think one of the major problems in today’s world is that people think that preventing and fixing problems is what makes someone a good person. To a degree, it is. But there is so much more. Physical support is good, but nothing compared to spiritual support. How often do we focus on people’s physical needs above their spiritual needs?
This is not to say that we should not meet physical needs, but in doing so, there is supposed to be more to it than just that.
I think Jesus life shows how to handle this. He didn’t succumb to the worldly pressure to meet physical needs, but was more concerned with spiritual things.
Back to Jesus and how He saw Himself. It would make sense, that in being completely human, He would have His doubts and questions. We all do as humans, and it would be crazy to set Him apart and think that He didn’t as well. For me, this is a major comfort. He persevered through His doubts and held steadfast in the faith, even when He felt rejected. He may have been unsure of Himself even at times, as we all are, but trusted in the Father and the Spirit to work through Him and provide and win in the end. This is something we all need to learn. This dependency upon God. It is such a danger in setting Jesus apart too far away from us, and lose out on this hope that we can be like Him.
I think that fact that the name “Christian” means “little Christ” is so perfect. I mean, how often do we call ourselves that but not think about it? It has come to mean a follower of Jesus, a God-fearing person, but has lost it’s original meaning, which was to follow in His footsteps. In the name itself, it is assumed that we can be like Him. We can’t be God, but we can trust God and utilize the Holy Spirit in the way that Christ did, and in that sense be like Him. I think this is what we are called to do.
I think our issues have multiple origins. The fact that we put halos around His head in pictures, that we have portraits of Him hung up in some churches. We set Him up high, which is good, but too high to reach. That was the problem of the Old Testament. God was too big and impersonal to be reached and trusted in in the manner that He wanted. Which is why He sent His Son, and the Holy Spirit. They were to be the personal, reachable aspects of Himself. In setting them so far above us, we miss out on some of the greatest aspects of their existence. Our relation to them, both in the typical relationship status, but also in how we compare to Christ. He was human, we are human. If we miss out on this, we miss out on a giant reason for why God did things the way He did. It was more than about just saving us, it was about redeeming us, and helping us live the way we were meant to live. If we don’t think of it like this, we are rejecting our greatest ally and advocate in life, and making it that much harder on ourselves.
Jesus was a human. Jesus was God. We are human, and not God. But in His humanity, we can relate to Him much more closely than we often think. Don’t succumb to this pressure. Yes, He was perfect, but He was perfect to show you how it was to be done, and that it was possible. Don’t reject His example.