Jesus Was God In The Flesh. I’m Not.

Jesus Was God In The Flesh. I’m Not.

Another objection to following Jesus’ model goes like this: “Okay, Jesus may have had a plan, but he’s JESUS…I’m not. There is no way I can do what Jesus did.” Underneath that objection is a faulty Christology. Most pastors embrace the truth that Jesus is fully God. 
Colossians 1.15-17 states it clearly. “He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” (see also John 1.1,14; Hebrews 1.3; Colossians 1.19

God in the flesh.

Repeatedly, Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh. At one point Jesus said plainly, “You are from below, I am from above. You are from this world, I am not of this world” (John 8.23). It doesn’t get much clearer than that. 
On another occasion Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” 
With that, the religious leaders reached to pick up rocks to stone Jesus. When he asked why they were about kill him, they replied, “Because you, being a man, make  yourself God” (John 10.27-30,33; see also John 5.17-18)

Embracing Jesus as fully God.

Most pastors have no problem embracing Jesus as fully God. However, the scriptures also make it clear that Jesus was fully man. Jesus’ favorite title for himself was “Son of Man.” It is found eighty-one times in the New Testament gospels, and thirty of those are in the book of Matthew alone. It was a declaration of his humanity. 
Jesus wasn’t a mystical person or a legend. He wasn’t an illusion that only appeared to be human. He wasn’t super-human, he was fully human. Hebrews 2.17 says that Jesus was like us “in every respect.” He grew and developed just like us (Luke 2.52). He was tired and thirsty just like us (John 4.67). He grieved and he wept just like us (John 11.33-35). He was tempted just like us (Matthew 4.1-2). He suffered and died just like us (John 19.28-30)
John, one of Jesus’ closest friends and a part of Jesus’ inner circle, said this about Jesus: “We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life” (I John 1.1, NLT)
John was saying, “We know Jesus. He’s not from this world. He is God. He existed before anything was made. But he is also fully human—we heard Jesus, we saw him with our own eyes, we touched him with our hands!” Jesus was fully human, in every way like us, with one exception; Jesus was without sin (Hebrews 4.15).

How could Jesus be both fully God and fully man at the same time?

You may be asking, “What relevance does this have to leading my church and making disciples?” It has everything to do with it. Follow my thinking here. Let’s press this thought a bit deeper. How could Jesus be both fully God and fully man at the same time? The answer is found in Philippians chapter two. The apostle Paul is speaking here about the nature of Jesus. 
 “…who, though he was in the form (morphe) of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form (morphe) of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2.6-7
Notice the word translated as “form” is the Greek word morphe, meaning “nature, substance.” It’s the same word from which we get metamorphosis, meaning to change forms. The word is used in two key instances in the following verses. 
Jesus pre-existed in the form (nature or substance) of God. He enjoyed equality with the Father. This is what Jesus was referring to in his high and priestly prayer when he prayed, “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed” (John 17.5)

Jesus became fully human.

But when Jesus came to earth, he became fully human. He took on the form (nature, substance) of a servant, “being born in the likeness of men.” At the birth of Jesus, something miraculous happened. The Immortal God became Immanuel, “God with us” (Matthew 1.23). Eternity stepped into time. Deity took on humanity. Jesus stepped out of heaven and stepped into our world. 
This is the miracle of Christmas—the miracle of the incarnation. This came at a very high price. It required that Jesus “empty himself.” The word Paul uses here is kenoo, which means to empty oneself or make oneself nothing. 
In the incarnation, Jesus did not cease being God. Rather, he temporarily veiled his heavenly glory so he could express his earthly humanity. He gave up his independent authority, choosing instead to humble himself, subjecting everything to the Father and relying completely upon the power of the Spirit. He set aside his personal riches in heaven and embraced the poverty of this world so we could become spiritually rich in him (2 Corinthians 8.9; Ephesians 1.3).

Jesus is the ultimate CEO.

I love the show Undercover Boss. In every episode, a CEO of a major corporation disguises himself, then secretly enters at the bottom of the organization. No one really knows who he is. I remember one episode in which the CEO of a large fast food chain came disguised as a new trainee. 
He had to learn to mop the floors, wash the dishes, clean the food, and scrub the toilets. Along the way, the CEO was getting an idea of what was really going on inside the organization and what changes needed to be made. 
At no time did the CEO ever reveal his true identity. He couldn’t call in any favors. He couldn’t pull any strings. He couldn’t leverage his CEO status in any way. He had to learn to do the job his employees were doing with the same resources they had. 
In a similar way, Jesus is the ultimate CEO over all creation. He came to earth in a way no one expected. Clothed in humanity. Born in poverty. Lived in obscurity. But he learned obedience. He trusted his Father. He depended on the Spirit. He studied and obeyed the scriptures. He lived in community. 
In using those resources, he ignited a movement and then told his followers to do the same. He told us to follow his example (I Peter 2.21), to live as he lived, walk as he walked, trust as he trusted, pray as he prayed, be courageous as he was courageous, rely on the Spirit as he relied on the Spirit, sacrifice as he sacrificed, and love as he loved. 
Jesus has provided all that you need in order to follow in his steps and make disciples who will change the world. As we walk together through these seven steps, I will show you how you can do just that! 
This blog features an excerpt from one of our books, Bold Moves

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