Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Humanity of Christ

One Sunday evening a group of people from my church, who recently took a trip to Israel, shared their experiences with the congregation and a couple of people spoke about their visit to the Garden of Gethsemane.

I’ve spent a great deal of time contemplating the humanity of Christ on that evening before his death, and recently noticed the parallels between Christ’s time alone in Gethsemane and a situation that a friend of mine may be facing in the very near future.

Now, let me be very clear on this: my friend’s situation is nowhere near the literal life and death situation that Christ faced. Instead, my friend’s challenge is around something they may be asked to do (for someone else) that will prove to be extremely emotionally difficult for them. In fact, my friend shared that they have basically been praying the same prayer that Christ prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane:

“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39 ESV)

And that’s the focus of today’s blog … The Humanity of Christ.

“… who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8 ESV)

That’s where the humanity of Christ amazes me: Christ willingly submitted Himself to be crucified on a cross: the most degrading kind of execution that could possibly be inflicted on someone at that time. Additionally, not only did He do it for those who were believers (and for those who would become believers), but He also did it for all those who laughed at Him and scorned Him to His face. Can you imagine?

And the part of Christ’s humanity that touches me the most is this: In His “humanness” He asked His friends to be with Him, and to support Him, on the night before his crucifixion because He was in a great deal of emotional pain:

“He said to them, ‘My heart is full of sorrow, to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me.’” (Matthew 26:38 NCV)

Yes, in His humanity, even Christ was not immune to emotional pain. None of us are! And yet what did His friends do? They fell asleep!

The interesting thing about my friend’s situation is that ever since they shared it with me, the thought that keeps crossing my mind is “what a great gift” they may be given! Now while my friend may not see it that way, the reason I see it as a gift is because it will be the last opportunity they will have to do something for this other person. Yes it will be emotionally difficult for my friend, just as Christ’s time alone in the Garden was painful for Him …

“Being full of pain, Jesus prayed even harder. His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” (Luke 22:44 NCV)

However, because every experience that God allows to take place in our lives is for the purpose of accomplishing His will and bringing Him glory, I would like to encourage my friend to remember that this situation is not about them; it’s about Him … and ONLY HIM!

And if this situation does come to fruition, it will provide my friend with an amazing opportunity to literally be used to bring glory to the One Who gives life to all, knowing that:

“If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 4:11 NIV)

How cool is that? No matter how difficult the situation may be on my friend, God will give both the words to speak and the strength to serve, so that in the end He Himself will be glorified!

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