Keith Giles is an author, blogger and freelance copywriter in Orange County, California.
WHAT IS SUBVERSIVE? It’s a systematic overthrow of one system or power by those working from within.
Jesus said the Kingdom of God was immediately accessible to all who follow Him. This is the Gospel message. This is subversive.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH #2: THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST
When we think of Jesus we usually imagine him as the
God-man who was perfect in every way. We don’t tend to think of him the way the
disciples thought of him – as a man who walked with them, talked with them, ate
with them, slept alongside them and occasionally kept them awake with his
While it’s true that Jesus was by nature divine, we also
are told that Jesus was “made flesh” and that he humbled himself to become one
of us. What’s more, Jesus affirmed to us when he was here in the flesh that he
was just as powerless as you and I are now.
Jesus also affirms that he does nothing under his own
power, nor does he teach anything apart from what the Father tells him to.
“Then Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I
say to you; the Son can do nothing of himself, but only does what he sees the
Father do. For whatever things he [the Father] does, these are also likewise
done by the Son.” (John 5:19)
“Of my own self, I can do nothing. I judge only as I
hear; and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will, but the will
of the Father who has sent me.” (John 5:30)
Jesus also affirms that the great words of wisdom and
truth that he spoke were not his own words, but that he was hearing them from
“These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the
Father who sent me.” (John 14:24)
“For I do not speak of myself, but from the Father who
sent me and commanded me what I should say and what I should speak. And I know
that to obey his command is life everlasting. Therefore, whatever I speak is
just as the Father tells me to speak." (John 12:49-50)
“But so that the world may know that I love the Father, I
only do exactly as the Father has instructed me to do.” (John 14:31)
The point seems to be that Jesus lived a life of humility
and surrender. It’s clear that Jesus didn’t live out a perfect life on Earth
out of any power of his own. Actually, according to the New Testament, Jesus
let go of all of his power when he came in the flesh.
What this means is that we cannot say, “I’m not like
Jesus so don’t expect me to live the way he lived.” On the contrary, it was
because Jesus emptied himself of his glory and power and took on flesh to
become nothing that he was capable of doing what he did:
“In your relationships with one another, have the same
mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider
equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made
himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human
likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by
becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8)
Plus, the New Testament writers also told us that those
who claim to be Christians must behave like Jesus:
“Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”
(1 John 2:6)
This is precisely why most Christians do not believe that
Jesus was fully human during his life on this Earth. If Jesus could do those things
as a mere human who was fully surrendered to the Spirit of God, then the
implication is that we should all be capable of living such an others-focused
life. But, of course, that’s exactly what the New Testament does teach us.
It’s why Jesus tells his disciples:
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do
the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these,
because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)
The whole point is that we can do what Jesus did because
he was like us; fully human.
If Christians today actually believed the truth about the
humanity of Jesus, then they might actually take his call to follow him
seriously. We might actually start realizing that it is actually possible for
us to love our enemies, and pray for those who hate us, and turn the other
cheek, and serve the poor, and everything else that Jesus commanded us to do.
Sadly, it’s so much easier to elevate Jesus into a state
of unapproachable holiness so that our ability to reach such heights of
perfection is forever out of reach.
But, just imagine if we really did believe this amazing
truth? Wouldn’t our churches be filled with people who were more humble and
totally dependent upon God daily for the grace necessary to live a life of
service? Wouldn’t the poor and the prostitutes and the orphans rejoice that the
world was filled with people who took the pattern set by Jesus and truly lived
out his example of radical, sacrificial love?
I can’t help but believe that this is exactly the sort of
thing that Jesus intended us to do. It’s certainly what his disciples did after
his ascension. It’s certainly what the early church did for hundreds of years.
Why not now? Why not you and I?