Have you ever found yourself thinking, “I could never be like Jesus! After all, He’s God… and I’m not!” Well, let’s take a closer look at Him.
100% God, 100% man. At the same time. What a mystery. How could God be 100% man, “made like us in every way,” as the writer of Hebrews puts it?
For many years, I read the Gospels and believed Jesus could heal, perform miracles, walk on water, know what men were thinking and amaze with his teaching precisely because he was God. I worshipped him for that. But where does that leave the “100% man” part?
Philippians 2 tells us that though Jesus was “in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped (clung to0).”
Instead, he “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
So Jesus, being God, did not cling to his “equality” with God (the Father). He willingly submitted to the limitations you and I experience as humans without ever ceasing to be fully God. (Hard for our minds to fully comprehend that reality)
This is evident when reading about Jesus healing the paralytic whose friends dug a hole in the roof and lowered him down in front of Jesus (Matthew 9, Mark 2, Luke 5).
In Luke’s account, he records. “And the power of the Lord was present for him (Jesus) to heal the sick.” Interesting. Here Luke separates Jesus the man from “the power of the Lord.” Jesus is the Lord, so what is Luke referring to? He must be speaking of the Holy Spirit. We see this one chapter earlier in Luke 4:1,14,18 where it says Jesus wa full of the Spirit, led by the Spirit, comes in the power of the Holy Spirit, is anointed by the Spirit, and is sent by the Spirit to proclaim Good News.
So here in Luke 5, Jesus heals the paralyzed man when the Holy Spirit empowers Him to do it.
In this same passage, we read that knew “in his spirit” what the Pharisees were thinking. I’d always read that and assumed, well of course he did. As God, Jesus is omniscient, all-knowing. Of course he could “read people’s minds.”
But let’s look at it from the perspective of Jesus, as a man, accepting the limitations of being human. Could he not have known because the Holy Spirit revealed it to him? It does say he knew “in his spirit.” Or maybe more plainly, couldn’t he have known from his own cultural context what the Pharisees would be thinking about his words and actions? After all, how many times have we said to someone else, “I know what you’re thinking…”
Isn’t it interesting to note that Jesus’ disciples also knew what the Pharisees were thinking. They wrote it down in the Gospels. It doesn’t appear that Jesus spelled it out. But they knew too. It was their culture.
Jesus’ dependence on the Holy Spirit to live as he lived, teach as he taught and minister as he ministered is a great encouragement to me. The same Holy Spirit now lives in me, fills me, empowers me, leads me, sends me and transforms me. He makes it possible for me to be like Jesus!
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