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Made in the Likeness of Men

(Matthew 1:18-25; Hebrews 2:14-18)

Lesson 3 -- first quarter 2010
December 20, 2009

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2009

Introductory questions to chew

Is my justice directed by grace?

Did I notice God with me yesterday?

Am I prompt to obey (and precise as well)?

Why would Jesus want to be like I?

When was the last time I turned to Him during temptation?

Jesus: God and man

Over the years, many people have struggled with and stumbled over the dual nature of Jesus. Was He completely both or was He a watered down version of each? He Himself testified to His completeness in both. He called Himself the Son of God as well as the Son of Man. However, what evidences do we have that Jesus was indeed both God and man?

As God, Jesus healed the sick, gave life to the dead, and freed the demon possessed. He knew men's thoughts and histories. He ruled over nature, walking on water, stilling waves and winds, and withering trees. He showed He is the Creator by restoring atrophied limbs, reattaching an ear, replacing water with wine and making bread and fish "out of thin air." He proved His power and authority to forgive sins.

As man, Jesus possessed a human body like anyone else's. He was born just like all others. He moved from place to place by normal human means. He slept. He hungered. He thirsted. He tired. He bled. He died. He was so human, most of His acquaintances rejected His divinity.

Did Jesus have to give up some of His deity to humanize Himself? Not at all! He did willingly restrict or limit the expression of some aspects of His deity in order that He might inhabit a normal human body. For example, the Bible teaches that God neither slumbers nor sleeps. The fact that Jesus in the flesh slept does not disprove His deity, but rather, it illustrates one small way in which He limited Himself that He might be fully human.

Jesus was as human as you! Even the devil recognized that, else he would not have bothered tempting the Lord. Jesus willingly clothed Himself with a body so human that the devil could appeal to His senses. Imagine! Never before in eternity or in time had the devil had an opportunity of this magnitude. He could appeal to God through the His own flesh. That to me constitutes just one proof of Jesus love for me. Jesus deliberately took a weak human body so that He might experience fully the temptations the devil metes out to me. But not just that, Jesus set about to prove the possibility of defeating Satan in his own territory. That is what these verses mean to me:

"Wherefore in all things it behoved 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. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted" (Hebrews 2:17-18).

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Jesus won! That means you and I can win also! Jesus was victorious over the devil and He was able to subdue His human flesh. Therefore we can obtain His mercy and grace to do the same. Praise God!

God with us

Three single syllable words which enclose the greatest mystery of all time. A God so personal He chose to live among His people as His people. But that isn't all! God not only made Himself man, He dwelled among the lowly, the poor, and the social outcasts. He took the lowest station for a freeman -- He "took upon him the form of a servant" (Philippians 2:7). But that's not all! God chose to taste death, and the worst possible death at that -- "He humbled himself..unto death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8).

Of what benefit to me is the Incarnation? Of the many possible answers, consider the two introduced in the next two paragraphs.

What is love?

God could have written volumes to answer this short question. He could have written volumes to tell us how to love. He did write quite a bit, but the most convincing answer is Jesus. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Until Jesus made Himself man, He was unable to actively demonstrate love in strictly human terms. And until He died as a man, His words in John 15:13 could have been labeled as empty. But He came and died! And now I know how to show love to others.

He really does understand!

Until Jesus came in the flesh, His comfort and commands to His people could have been rejected as disconnected and idealistic. Until Jesus felt the power of the devil personally, His promises of victory could have been dismissed as hollow. But He came as a bonafide man! He CAN be "touched with the feeling of our infirmities...[and] was in all points tempted like as we" (Hebrews 4:15). The temptings He suffered make Him better "able to succour them that are tempted" (Hebrews 2:18). We serve the only God "Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way..." (Hebrews 5:2). Furthermore, I infer from Hebrews 2:17 that His incarnation makes Him the "merciful and faithful high priest" we could not have had otherwise.

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