Saturday, March 22, 2008

Jesus - the Man and the Saviour

The above is a trailer for 'The Passion', which was shown on BBC this week and concludes Easter Sunday. A new dramatic re-telling of the story of Easter.

There are some historical inaccuracies, but the thing which struck me the most was that this told the story of Jesus the man.

Other dramatisations are very good, but Jesus is displayed more in his divinity and less of a man. Someone with presence, someone who stood out.

Now this is true. Jesus was divine. Jesus did stand out. But he was also a man. Jesus descended from Heaven and submitted himself to human experience. Jesus didn't just suddenly 'know' the scriptures. He had to learn them like anyone else could have done.

Yes, He had an anointing from God, a unique anointing. He was the Son of God. But he was 100% man as well as 100% God. Jesus grew up a Jew, in Jewish culture. He re-defined culture. He showed us the kind of culture God intends us to live in.

Jesus came not just for the cross. He came to show us how to live God's way out in a practical way. How to live as a man the way God wants us to. He got hungry. He felt physical and emotional. Pain. He was tempted. He had friends. He had family. He shared in all our experiences and temptations. He felt frustrated and angry. He had a sense of humour. He felt love.

He showed us it is possible for men and women to live differently. That it’s possible to deal with all the temptations of this life and issues that we face.

Jesus was divine. But he was also a man. He wasn't distant and above all the experiences of this life - but the difference was that He didn't give in to sin and temptation. Jesus was tempted in every way we are. Every single way. I'm sure that the temptation didn't just come in the desert, or when the cross was near. During his ministry He was probably tempted in circumstances that aren't mentioned in the Bible - in private, in His mind and heart. But they probably happened.

To know what His destiny was and willingly submit to it even though it involved sacrificing Himself. Jesus remember when He came to the cross didn't know for sure what would happen. He'd given up being outside of time. He trusted His life totally to God. He was obedient to what God told Him to do. But in his emotional, physical, mental and spiritual agony on Good Friday it must have been hard to be faithful. The temptation to say no, the temptation to avoid it. Jesus said Himself in Gethsemane that if it was possible He wanted to avoid the cross. The human side of Him didn't want it - but He knew that it was God's will. He loved us too much not to go through with it. He knew it was the only way salvation was possible.

One he resolved to go through with it. Once he submitted Himself to it, He gave Himself to it totally. He gave in to God. He went with it. He allowed it to happen to Him. He didn't fight it.

Right to the end He was obedient. Right to the end He was without sin. Right to the end He forgave. Right to the end, He loved.

Yet He was physically still a man. He still felt all the emotion, pain, temptation and mental torture that it is possible to feel for a man. But He felt one thing we never experience.

Separation from God.

To save us, He had to take our sin, and He had to suffer the punishment God has for sinners. He had to be abandoned by God. In order to save us God had to abandon His own Son.

Imagine that.

None of us, not even non-believers, ever have to experience that. God is always with us. God's presence is here on earth with us, if only we choose to recognise it and hear it.

Jesus had to cope not only with the worst kind of physical, emotional and mental suffering ever known, but also being abandoned by God.

And yet, He still was obedient. He still was without sin. He still did not abandon His mission.

What love. What mercy. What obedience.

Jesus was a man. He shared all our human emotions, temptations and experiences. He had friends, He had family, and He knew what it was to live every day as a human being and lived as one of us with us. He showed us how it’s possible to live on this earth and serve and follow God.

He was a man.

He also suffered more than any of us can ever suffer. And remained without sin. Remained obedient right till the end. And remained a man.

He truly was the Son of God. He is truly amazing. He deserves all our praise and worship.

The Jesus in 'The Passion' was Jesus the man, but a man who was clearly different. Who was clearly divine. Who was obedient to His calling, to His father to the point of death. Who showed His divinity through His lifestyle. His actions. His words. His obedience.

But who also showed that despite our sin, it is possible for us to live how God intended, and then through His sacrifice made that way possible.

I'm proud and honoured to know Him, to follow Him and to be His friend.