Are you sensing an aggression rising up on the inside? If you are just itching to say “No you don't, in Jesus' name!” to something trying to pin you against the wall, then you are in a good place. But it's not what we say that counts. It's the position we take. And to understand our position, we need to better understand Jesus' position as He walked this earth.
My revelation of Jesus started off very, very small: God came to earth, did some miracles, died on a cross, and went back to Heaven. As I've needed a bigger God, Jesus has become bigger. When I needed forgiveness, He revealed the importance of His blood. When my own efforts weren't enough, He revealed the greatness of His Name.
Again, I ask you to catch up on the first three articles before continuing. Each article in this series needs to be studied in its context.
If you want to live—as I want to live—free from the control of anything other than the love of Christ, we need a bigger God. We need a bigger revelation of Jesus.
Picture a cul‐de‐sac in a middle‐income neighborhood containing about six houses. I want you to imagine yourself as the secret benefactor of this neighborhood. You somehow know what people need, and you secretly supply it—car parts, groceries, tree service, lawn service, child care, etc. For several months you supply whatever people need, but nobody knows who you are.
The household with all the unreliable cars is convinced you are a young man with an athletic build. The household with all the kids thinks you are an older woman. A couple of households think you are probably a middle‐aged man with a large landscaping business. And sometimes the neighbors almost get into an argument over what you look like and what you do.
When you finally reveal your identity, the entire neighborhood gives you a very warm reception, but everybody has this strange look on their faces that says, “You are not at all what we expected. We are so grateful for what you've done. But you are not what we expected.”
Jesus was not at all what anybody expected Him to be either.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:3)
John the Baptist was the voice of the man who cried in the wilderness (see Matthew 3:3) and was preparing the way for Jesus (“our God”). But Jesus didn't fit with the Jews' image formed from the rest of Isaiah's prophecy (see Isaiah chapter 40). The Jews expected Jesus to be a political figure who would make things right by political force—not by His death on a cross.
Jesus received the most criticism from the most religious people of the day—the Pharisees. The Pharisees were upstanding citizens, highly disciplined in their behavior and highly devoted to their preconceptions of what the Messiah would be like. And Jesus did not fit with their preconceptions.
Jesus healed a man who had been born blind. The man was thrilled; the religious leaders were not. Listen to this interaction between the Pharisees and the man (from John chapter 9 NLT):
The Pharisees asked the man all about it. So he told them, “He put the mud over my eyes, and when I washed it away, I could see!” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them. Then the Pharisees again questioned the man who had been blind and demanded, “What's your opinion about this man who healed you?” The man replied, “I think he must be a prophet.” (15–17)
So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.” “I don't know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!” “But what did he do?” they asked. “How did he heal you?” “Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn't you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” Then they cursed him and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses! We know God spoke to Moses, but we don't even know where this man comes from.”
“Why, that's very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don't know where he comes from? We know that God doesn't listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will. Ever since the world began, no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. If this man were not from God, he couldn't have done it.” “You were born a total sinner!” they answered. “Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out of the synagogue. (24–34)
Jesus did what only God could do, but He didn't appear to be anything more than just a man. And this absolutely infuriated the Pharisees. They had spent their entire lives trying to be perfect, and this imposter was anything but perfect as far as they were concerned. Please don't miss this! Only God could have done what Jesus did, but Jesus didn't look like man's idea of God with us (Emmanuel).
Jesus (God with us, see Matthew 1:23) did not come to us as Superman. He came to us as a perfect man.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all [points] tempted as [we are, yet] without sin. (Hebrews 4:15 NKJV)
This probably infuriates the religious crowd more than anything else. As long as God is out there as some poetic expression of perfection, then He can look like whatever anybody wants Him to look like. He can be defined however anybody wants to define Him. Those who worship man's traditions can even live with the idea of God coming to be with us, as long as He remains completely and fully God (and only looks kind of like a man). But put God in the form of a man—a perfect man, no less—and all hell breaks loose.
Christ Jesus did not bring His deity with Him when He came to be with us, “but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:7).”
Before we continue tomorrow, I want you to consider what was for me both a radical and a life‐changing revelation of Jesus:
In this life, here on this earth, you can be as Jesus is. (Obviously, you cannot be as Jesus is in Heaven because you are a human being. You can be as Jesus was when He walked the earth in the likeness of man):
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. (1 John 4:15‐17 NKJV)
In this life, here on this earth, you can do what Jesus did:
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater [works] than these he will do, because I go to My Father. (John 14:12 NKJV)
Forget all your imperfections and weaknesses and consider this: If Jesus wants you to be like Him and do what He did then He has to make it possible. (You already know you don't have what it takes.) He did not walk the earth with any resources that are not available to you. He did not heal the sick and say, "Boy, I sure wish My disciples had these tools to work with." He did not cast out demons and say, "It's too bad My disciples don't have the authority to do this." He purposely did not use any resource that you don't have access to.
He became like you so you can become like Him. But it's your choice. And that's good news... it's your choice and nobody else's.
Have a good day,