About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
One little phrase often
defines the life and times of someone.
"Win one for the Gipper" does just that for former
President Ronald Reagan. This
phrase finds its origin in the 1920's when George Gipp was a popular Notre
Dame football player. Knute
Rockne was his coach and when Gipp was unable to play a game he encouraged
Rockne to "win one for the Gipper".
In the 1940 movie entitled "Knute Rockne - All American",
Reagan played the role of Gipp. From
then on Ronald Reagan was known as the Gipper.
Every battle he won in life was a victory for the Gipper.
Is there a phrase that
defines the earthly life and times of our Lord Jesus Christ?
There may be others but "It is finished" (John 19:30) is
a good candidate. To help
understand how these three words define the earthly life and times of
Jesus I quote Philippians 2:6 to 8 (NIV).
"Who, being in the very nature of God did not consider
equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in the appearance of a man He humbled Himself and
became obedient unto death - even the death on the cross."
Paul described Jesus as
being in the very nature of God. The
Apostle John described Jesus in similar fashion in John 1:1 when he said
that prior to Jesus' earthly life He wasn't only with God but He was God.
This may be hard for us to get our human heads around, and it may
sound like Greek mythology, but while on earth Jesus was God in a human
body. We must, therefore,
acknowledge that when Jesus stepped into humanity He took one gigantic
step down from His heavenly existence.
Stepping down from the
holy confines of heaven was just the first step in His descent into a sin
soaked pit of depravity called humanity.
As Paul said, Jesus didn't grasp at His divinity which could have
softened His landing into our world. As
difficult as this descent must have been for Jesus there were further
downward steps to be taken. Becoming
a servant was one such step. From
our human vantage point, it makes no logical sense that the Creator and
Supreme Lord of all things would enslave Himself in the process of
rescuing a blind humanity from fumbling around in the dark.
Although being fully God,
Jesus was fully human. As Paul
stated, Jesus was made in human likeness and was found in the appearance
of a man. For this reason Paul
said that Jesus became obedient. To
expand on this point Hebrews 5:8 states that Jesus learned, yes learned,
obedience through the things He suffered.
Every suffering step was a step in obedience for Jesus.
Jesus suffered in many
ways. Merely living among
sinful humanity would have been irritating.
His battles with satan, one of which is seen in Matthew 4, must
have been frustrating. Hebrews
4:15 states that as a man Jesus was tempted with every temptation a man
could possibly be inflicted with. I'm
sure any red blooded man knows what these temptations would have included.
Of course, the toughest temptation was His entence inner struggle in the
of Gethsemane. The struggle ended with another phrase that could define the life
and times of Jesus. "Your
will be done" is the ultimate in obedience.
Obedience for Jesus meant
death on a cross. Paul quoted
Deuteronomy 21:23 in Galatians 3:13
When Jesus said "It
is finished", He was finished with His steps down into humanity.
He was finished with the temptations to sin.
He was finished with satan's nonsense.
He was finished with tolerating His fickle disciples.
He was finished with dusty roads, hot deserts, and the stormy
Jesus' descent into
humanity meant denying Himself and taking up His cross on a daily basis.
He now requires the same from us.
"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take
up their cross and follow me (Matthew 16:24)."
Jesus isn't asking us to do something He has never done.
On the contrary, if we are His disciples, like Jesus, we will deny
ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus to death and beyond.
Then, when our last breath flutters into obscurity, also like Jesus
we will sigh and say, "It is finished".
Our earthly existence will fade away as we enter the holy presence
of our Lord and Saviour.