I've just been watching 'The Passion' again, about the story of Jesus' last week before the cross. Watching it, it suddenly struck me that we sometimes misunderstand and underestimate the part of Jesus that was 100% human.
Can you actually imagine going through 33 years without committing one sin?
Not get angry and bitter?
Not one bit of gossiping?
Not one wrong desire?
Not one white lie?
Not one fleeting wrong thought?
I've begun to see that we often, subconsciously (or consciously sometimes) think that 'Oh he was 100% God, so it was probably easier for Him'. 'He was divine, so it wasn't as hard for Him'
But surely the whole point of Jesus living a sinless life is that He shared all the same temptations, emotions, suffering, difficult circumstances and everyday issues that we have to face - granted, in a different context, but nevertheless the same basic issues.
He faced many temptations, He struggled to be obedient to God.
Take Gethsemane. Jesus essentially says if it wasn't up to God, He didn't want to go through with it. "If it is possible, let this cup be taken from me."
What Jesus the man wanted wasn't what God wanted.
But what does He do next? He says 'Not my will but yours be done'
So you see Jesus struggled the same as we do. Yet He didn't give in once. He was obedient always. Even in death.
Whatever you believe, that's some example. To go through an entire life not breaking trust, not being rude, not being selfish, not being bitter and angry, not gossiping, not being disobedient, putting others and God first, loving and forgiving everyone. Its not easy to do.
But He did it. Jesus was a man but committed no sin. He was not guilty of anything wrong.
How did Jesus as a man do it?
He put God first.
He orientated everything around God. He gave up a career in the family business (well, His earthly family business anyway), gave up any chance of a wife and family (another temptation there surely was for Him), gave up His status in Heaven, where He could have stayed for eternity, and ultimately allowed Himself to be killed because it was what God wanted.
Because we were too important to Him and to God.
Of course, none of us are perfect. All of us need to grow, all of us have areas of weakness, all of us need forgiveness.
Its only possible though because one man who faced all the same temptations, problems, issues, and situations we face chose not to give in to temptation or to His own desires, but put God (and us) before them. He chose to love us and be obedient to God.
The more we see just how much Jesus was a man as well as divine, the more we see how much He loves us.
That's because the more human He is, the more we understand how difficult it was for Him.
The more human He is, the greater the power of the cross.