I often find myself asking what makes Jesus the Christ so different than any human being or deity made in men’s minds. The short answer, lots of things. But I will focus on one aspect that has comes to mind a lot. Possibly because God’s Good Spirit loves me enough to help me stay vigilant.
I am not sure if my conclusion is flawless, but I think I’m pretty close. When I read how Jesus was, it seemed like he never lorded over other people the way those in power at the time did to their “lessers.”
When I read about Jesus, I envision the Christ attracting people with Truth encapsulated in love and respect, something even the best human struggles with and a characteristic you don’t find in too many man-made gods, if any.
I may be missing something, but I don’t hear the Christ saying things like…
“Because I said so!”
“I am king of the world!”
“Do you think you’re so smart and talented? Just wait until you see what I can do!”
Now I’m not saying we in the body of Christ are acting so brashly all the time, but sometimes we may come across this way without meaning to. I know I have, but continually seek to do better.
If anyone could have been witty, smart and debonair as a means to draw others to him, Christ had giftedness and countless opportunities to do so.
But he appears to be level on all levels; not thinking of himself as highly as he was entitled to, and not taking it too personally when being mistreated.
He knew that God in Heaven was getting all the credit for his work. Jesus also understood that God was the ultimate one offended when men rejected Christ.
Christ…though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.*
I believe that he gave up what might have placed him in the highest seats at all the parties, gave up showmanship and power struggles in order that others may have a fair chance to see God through him.
Did he deserve the attention? Yes. Did he claim attention at anyone’s expense? No.
People were drawn to Him, and he made room for those who dropped in on his teachings as he sat with his disciples.
He prayed up a spread of food to feed the thousands that happened to find him, some drawn to his wisdom, some needing to fill a growling belly. He was truth and love, desiring all men and women come to eternal salvation.
But in my studies I have yet to get the impression that he foisted his authority on anyone, even the Pharisees.
He allowed his adversaries to take a tone with him that he himself didn’t seem to return to them. He gave the self-righteous person the freedom to goad him into an argument without pushing back too hard or saying, “My Daddy is bigger than your daddy.” Well, I guess he did say that in other words, but he said it flawlessly having all knowledge.**
He showed mankind the Father by being obedient to the Father.
He knew who he was.
He didn’t need to flex his intellect gratuitously; he used it perfectly, unapologetically, concisely and clearly for all persons to understand, even the weakest uneducated person understood enough though not understanding all. I’ve always been captured by the image that Matthew (12:20) echos from Isaiah (42:1-4).
He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
Finally he will cause justice to be victorious.
He is completely tender and perfectly tough.
People may not have understood each nuance of meaning without his explaining it, but the parables and lessons were taught with concrete examples of the day, not science fiction, fairy tale images nor cryptic language that only those with a special knowledge or wisdom could interpret.
His language was exempt of arrogance and manipulation. It was filled with truth, agape love and clarity, something I continually seek to imitate though falling short so often.
I am so thankful for my Christian family when we hit this mark, and pray we continue on this road.
Where am I projecting his humble attitude – that is, seeing myself equal at the foot of the cross with all other peoples — and where can I improve?
* Philippians 2:6
** John 8:42-44