Monday, March 31, 2014

GOD'S HUMANITY (A LESSON ON PERSEVERANCE)

The best way I can put into words what I am feeling and thinking right now is - I am grateful for the humanity of God.  Scripture says in John 4:24 that - God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. However, Father God has manifested Himself through His Word via a Burning Bush to Moses and pillars of cloud/fire to a future nation.  He sent His Word in flesh and we named Him Jesus or Yeshua. Then later when Jesus ascended back to His Father, the Holy Spirit was sent to dwell within believers for comfort and to lead them into all truth.  Although I am impressed with all the times God graciously chose to awe us with a manifestation of His presence, I am particularly drawn to and thankful for the human expression of God - Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Jesus is Son of God (Divine Title) and Son of Man (Human Title).  I see both of these sides of His life or titles to His personage being played out in His journey as I read The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).  Jesus as Son of God told groups of people as well as individuals at different times in His ministry that He was the Messiah, the one that was foretold as the Christ to come. In John 8:28 the passage is a generic reading of what is to come.  Jesus claimed many times to be the Messiah, the one the Jews were looking for and a pretty straight forward example is found in Luke 22:70.  In John 4:25-26 and John 11:25 Jesus makes the claim on an individual level.  John 6:51 requires the knowledge of some history and the Priests and teachers of the law would be good candidates for knowing that history.  These religious men of that day would know exactly who Jesus was claiming to be.

Jesus also prophesied about every little detail concerning His immediate future - His betrayal, death, burial, and resurrection.  In Matthew 20:18 Jesus predicted the people who would condemn the Son of Man - the chief priests and teachers of the law. In Matt. 17:22 He foresaw the Son of Man's betrayal.  In Matt. 17:12 the Son of God forecasted the Son of Man's or His own suffering.  In Matt. 26:2 the Son of God foretold what kind of death the Son of Man would experience - crucifixion.  In Matt. 12:40 the Son of God accurately declared how many days the Son of Man would be in the grave.  In Matt. 17:9 Jesus, being one and the same - Son of God and Son of Man - prophesied His resurrection!

However, with all this knowledge of Himself as the Son of God and prophetic declarations of His mission - Jesus still had a powerful human experience called - The Garden of Gethsemane.  All these wonderful evidences within Christ's own life stood as unshakable testimony of who Jesus knew He was and what His purpose was in life, BUT He still was human.  Thank Father God that He allowed Jesus to endure the whole human experience including a possible redirection or rejection of His own mission (Mark 14:32-42).
  • They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them."Stay here and keep watch."  Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. "Abba", Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
  • Once more he went away and prayed the same thing.
  • Returning the third time,
Then again on The Cross, in that moment when Father God looked away from His only Son and the sins of the world - past, present, and future - were judged on the His body, the Son of Man and the Son of God cried out - ""Eloi, Eloi," "lama" "sabachthani?""--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)

Suffering and pain were in the plan for Jesus on our behalf.  Back in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said He could have called on more than twelve legions of angels to help Him, but He didn't because He knew that would interfere with Father God's plan (Matthew 26:53).
  • "Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" 
Speaking of angels, still within the Garden scene Jesus experienced so much anguish that an angel was sent to strengthen Him so that He might endure more.
  • He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. - Luke 22:41-44
The Word of God embodied as Jesus, God's Son made flesh - the Son of Man - knew He was sent.
  • Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me."
Some people do not know their purpose in Christ yet.  For those who know what your God-given purpose/calling is in life - I encourage you - Christ has paid for the strength to go on.  Jesus has paid for that sense of abandonment and everything else that comes with the challenges in serving The Mighty God in a fallen world.  Christ promised life for the Believer would not be a bed of roses, but that He would be beside them all the way home.  And when you are in that questioning period of your life, your Garden of Gethsemane, remember to recall what is God's will in your life, read His Word, pray, speak to trusted believing friends and persevere.

Prayer:  Thank you God, for coming as your creation, a human, and loving us so much as to endure all and persevere.  I thank you Lord Jesus that I can lean on you with all my weight when I need to keep going.  In your name I pray Jesus, Amen.