April 22, 2012

He Became Like You – Phil Roberts

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

One of the most fundamental facts of the gospel is that Jesus suffered and died for our sins, not as a god, but as a man. He was indeed the Son of God, but he surrendered the glories and privileges that belonged to that position that he might become like us. He “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:7-8).

His becoming like us was not just a matter of taking on the physical appearance of a man. As the writer of Hebrews says, “In all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:17). Consider the following ways in which Jesus became like you:

1. Jesus became like you in his liability to human infirmities. He became hungry (Matt. 21:18); thirsty (Jn. 4:7); and weary after a hard day’s work (Lk. 8:23). The importance of these things is underscored by the fact that Jesus refused to use his power as the Son of God to escape any of them. He would not even turn the stones to bread after forty days and nights without food (Matt. 4:2-4). To do so would have amounted to a forsaking of his mission—to suffer and die on the same terms we do.

2. Jesus became like you in the limitation of his knowledge while here on earth. Though Jesus is frequently said to have perceived the thoughts of those with whom he was speaking, this was often more a result of his perfect understanding of human nature than of miraculous power (Jn. 2:25). At other times he clearly asked questions because he did not know the answer (Mk. 8:28; 9:21). Moreover, we are specifically told that in his childhood he grew in knowledge (Lk. 2:40, 52). He had to learn the word of God just as you did. And that makes his perfect obedience to that word all the more significant.

3. Jesus became like you in his dependence on others. From his childhood he learned to depend on his parents for food, shelter, and clothing. And there was undoubtedly a mutual dependence between him and his disciples, at least in material things. But ultimately he experienced what all of us learn sooner or later—that others will fail you. All those on whom he might have depended failed Jesus at the end.

4. Jesus became like you in loneliness. Certainly there were times when Jesus felt the pangs of loneliness even in the midst of his disciples (Lk. 9:58). But those times were nothing to compare with the loneliness he must have felt as he hung there on the cross crying “My God, My God, Why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46).

5. Jesus became like you in his liability to temptation. He was “in all points tempted like as we are” (Heb. 4:15). It was not just a matter of the three temptations in the wilderness. Jesus was subjected to the same daily frustrations and temptations we are all subject to, including those that related to his human body of flesh. But there can be little doubt that the greatest temptation with which he was confronted was that of forsaking his mission. Indeed, the strongest rebuke he ever gave to one of his disciples was when Peter said he should not go to Jerusalem and die. “Get thee behind me, Satan,” was Jesus’ reply (Matt. 16:23).

6. Jesus became like you in that he was required to be obedient to others while here on this earth. He was even required to be obedient to people who were greatly inferior to him. As a child he was required to be obedient to his parents (Lk. 2:51). As a man he was required to be subject to civil governments. And above all his whole life was one of obedience to his heavenly Father (Heb. 5:8).

7. Jesus became like you in that he could communicate with his Father in heaven only through the medium of prayer. And he found need to pray often and long (Lk. 6:12).

8. Finally, Jesus became like you in that he had to walk by faith and not by sight while here on earth. The writer of Hebrews cites this fact to prove that Jesus became one with us (Heb. 2:13). Jesus, he said, had to put his trust in God just as we do. Indeed, what a sacrifice it was for Jesus to leave the security of heaven for the uncertainty of a life separated from his Father. He had left the certainty of sight in heaven. Only his faith could sustain him while he was here.

Yes, he became like us in all things—in all things but sin, that is (Heb. 4:15). He suffered and died for us on our terms—not his. And why did he do it? The answer is simple. He became like you so that you might become like him “in all things”—even that you might be without sin through the blood of his sacrifice. But let us always remember that being conformed to the image of Christ does not mean that we will escape the hardships of human existence. He suffered for us. And if we would be perfectly conformed to his image, we might be prepared to suffer with him.

(1 Pet. 2:21)

 

 

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