Tuesday, October 14, 2008

100% God....100% human

As followers of Jesus, Christians believe that Jesus was the Son of God. He was divine. He was perfect and sinless in every way. He was the Messiah and saviour of the world. If you're thinking of media interpretations of Jesus, I'd say this is probably the one associated with Robert Powell in the superb 'Jesus of Nazareth' - the non-blinking, rather separate, humble yet clearly different from the rest.

Christians all believe in this dimension of Jesus. They - we - all know this to be true.

What people often forget is that Jesus was also a flesh and blood human being, just like us.

Same temptations.
Same emotions.
Same experiences.
Same day to day issues.

100% God. 100% human.

We often talk about the 100% God, but talk a lot like its only 50% human.

100% human means precisely that. We often forget that.

This is the side to Jesus I think makes Him and what He did even greater and more powerful - that He had all these experiences and emotions, but didn't sin and served God faithfully and obediently, even to His own death. This is the Jesus we see in the BBC drama 'The Passion', which came out earlier this year, played by Joseph Mawle. The human, real, 100% man side to Jesus, which was just as important as His divinity. The Jesus we know is different, but looks, feels, sounds and acts like the rest of us - the only exception being He was without sin.

This side of Him is equally important as His divinty.

Unless He's 100% human then His sacrifice means nothing. If He doesn't share in our entire human experience, of what it means to be human, if He's not totally human in His emotions, temptations and experiences, then He can't take our place.

If Jesus wasn't 100% human and didn't share every experience, emotion and temptation as us, then His sacrifice is worth nothing.

If He did truly come as the perfect sacrifice, then He has to have shared all those experiences, emotions and temptations - and overcome and dealt with them. Only then could He truly have taken our place.

That means He was tempted to fear.

To doubt.

He felt anger.

He was tempted to lust.

He was tempted by pride.

He was tempted to hate.

He had issues with His family (we know this through the Bible), He worked.This is another part of Jesus we forget.

He worked as a carpenter for at least 10-15 years before He started His ministry, and although He may have been known locally as a religious teacher - we know He started preaching at 12 years old, and one of the reasons He would have had permission to teach in the local synagogue was because He was known as a religious teacher - His profession at the time was a carpenter. Living in Nazareth He probably would have worked on buildings in the nearby city, building theaters, houses as well as doing local carpentry. He would have been more widely known as a local carpenter, not as a religious leader, at the start of His ministry.

Another belief many people subconsciously hold about Jesus - and I used to myself - is that He was somehow born with the scriptures inplanted in His head.

Again, this I don't believe.

Yes, He had a special anointing and ability, but I believe He had to learn the scriptures like everyone else, so again sharing in our human experience, this time of education and learning.

With His miracles, people have assumed it might be easier as He was divine, so it would be more natural and He wouldn't need to trust God so much.

Another misunderstanding in my view.

To share our human experience fully He would have surely had to trust in God's voice, His will and healing power. Yes of course, He had a special anointing to heal and the power of God was mighty in Him, but nevertheless, He had to take the same faithful steps we do in obedience.

Why did He pray every day? To stay in touch with God and continue to listen to Him and know His will and plan.

This leads us to the final thing about the humanity of Jesus regards the cross. Again, many people somehow think the burden of going to the cross was tempered by the fact that Jesus already knew the future.

Again, I believe this is a misconception.

If He had to share our human experience, then He would have to trust God like everyone else, and be obedient like everyone else according to what God has told them.

If it was otherwise, He wouldn't be totally sharing our human experience and it would make the sacrifice less valid - if He knew for certain it was hardly a risk or a sacrifice. He had to trust God that the cross was His plan for Jesus.

Which only makes the cross more powerful and Jesus love for us even bigger in my view.

Jesus was down to earth. He was real. He was authentic. He lived what He spoke. He was humble.

He had close friends. There was the twelve apostles of course, but within that there was an inner, core group of two or three who were closer to Jesus than any other. John, who wrote John's gospel, is called 'the disciple who Jesus loved', and was asked by Jesus to look after His mother after His death. He was probably closer to Jesus in His earthly ministry than any other.

That's not to say that Jesus loved them any more than any of us, but His relationship with them was closer, or different than His other relationships.

We can draw encouragement from the fact that not only was Jesus divine, the Son of God, but He was also a human being who faced human temptations, human emotions and human experiences, and had to trust God in the same way we do.

The fact that He did, yet still was obedient, still chose to love us, to me makes Him even greater.

How lucky we are to have a saviour like Jesus.