I’ve spent the past couple days mulling about what I was going to focus on in this post and I think I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I want to continue my series of words that have lost their meaning with Jesus. Yes, I think we’ve lost Jesus, who He was historically and who He is to be to us today, from a hyper-saturation. I’d say that many of us are familiar with some of the stories of Jesus such as Him healing the blind man with mud, feeding the thousands (four or five depending on the occurrence you remember) and probably Him walking on the water. However, because of holidays such as Christmas and Easter as well as the fact that, like it or not, America is a Christian nation and allegory is inescapable at times.
First of all, Jesus was a man, a living, breathing human composed of flesh and blood born in a stable in Bethlehem, Israel. He grew up in Nazareth the son of a carpenter until the age of twelve when He walked into the temple courtyard and started teaching the priests truths about the Torah. He was atypically accepted to spend the next eighteen years studying to become a priest. At age thirty, He began taking His knowledge of God’s word into public places like markets, streets, etc. and spent the next three years amassing His twelve disciples and a multitude of followers, performing miracles along the way. He claimed He was the Son of God and some people believed Him, but this challenge to the religious elite was not to be tolerated and so Jesus was arrested and sent before the local Roman governor to be silenced. Jesus was indeed condemned to die as an enemy of the state, thus He was nailed to a cross. He arose from the dead on the third day and spent the next forty days on earth being seen in various places by varying numbers of people.
That’s the quick and dirty version of the historical Jesus, however the deity of Jesus takes a little longer to explain. First and foremost, Jesus is the Son of God. This means that God the Father sacrificed the thing that meant most to Him in this entire universe when Jesus died on the cross. I can’t speak from experience, but sacrificing oneself is honorable, however sacrificing one’s own flesh and blood must be nigh impossible.
Jesus was fully God and He was fully man. For this to be possible, the Immaculate Conception is almost a foregone conclusion. Jesus was wholly God in spirit and thought. Despite this, He was human in body. In other words, He faced the limitations of hunger, thirst, tiredness and mental capacity. He suffered in the desert and asked God to not have to be crucified (Luke 4:1-13, Matthew 26:39). He was very much a man, but still even in these instances, very much God. Jesus essentially was God scaled down so as to fit into the case that is the human body.
Jesus lived a perfect life. No, He did not come to do away with the old Jewish laws, but instead to fulfill them all (Matthew 5:17). To do away with the laws, Jesus would have had to break one or at least given due purpose to prove the laws invalid, but He did neither of these. Instead, He presented in plain sight a flawless life as well as the attributes of God. No one else could do this, no one has and no one will ever do this again. To be the perfect sacrifice, He first had to live a life that did not transgress against God.
Jesus is the only way to God in this life and the next. Whether we realize it or not, the moment you break one of God’s laws you become a dead man walking (Romans 6:23). Breaking God’s laws means that we can no longer have a relationship with Him because He is perfect and therefore cannot associate with that which is impure. The only way to amend this is sacrificing one’s life. However, if you sacrifice your life to repair your relationship with God, you died a sinner and therefore cannot save your own soul and because of this have only the option to go to hell. You see, this is precisely why Jesus had to be the sacrificial lamb. Because He was perfect, He could take on the sins of others, the entire world to be exact, and so we have the ability to repair our broken relationship with God. There is absolutely no other way this redemption could have taken place.
Jesus is our intermediary to God. Stick with me on this one. So, once we’ve broken our relationship with God, we’re never pure ourselves again. But, when we accept Jesus as our Savior, our reconciliation with God, Jesus becomes our advocate to God because we ourselves are still not pure and continue to sin even after we are reconciled. We need someone who can be in the presence of God and, in turn, God grants the requests of Jesus on our behalf as they are the desires of a perfect Son.
God was finally able to permanently establish His love and grace through the life, death and resurrection of His blameless Son. It is this grace that sets apart Christianity from every other religion and benevolent philosophy. Therefore, it is the life of Jesus and our sharing in His death and immeasurably more in His resurrection that is to set us apart in this life (Romans 6:5). It is not our efforts or our lives at all that make us different, rather it is Christ living in us that will turn heads in this fallen world (Galatians 2:20). That being said, are we cheapening the price paid by Christ or making Him a eunuch for the sake of being accepted? Or are we truly living as Christ in this world?