About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Three Defining Words


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 Garden 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
where the Law of Moses stated that anyone who
hangs on a tree (cross) has been cursed by God.  To the casual observer Jesus was executed as a common criminal, but that wasn't the case.  As Deuteronomy 21:23 states and as Isaiah 53:10 confirms, it was God's will to have Jesus cursed and executed for sins He had never committed.   


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 Sea of Galilee .  He was finished with the hypocrisy of the religious establishment.  He was finished with His illegal arrest, conviction, and trial.  He was finished with the agony of the cross.  He was finished with being punished for our sins.  He was simply finished with every last aspect of His earthly existence, and for that He must have been overjoyed.  In one real sense of the word, "It is finished" does define the earthly life and time of our Lord Jesus Christ.    


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.                       



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