Jesus, God Who became Man (Part 5)

We would like to publish some articles about the person and characteristics of Jesus as man. He is fully God and fully man. It can be a support in pastoral care, when confidents explore the perfect life of Jesus as Man and Lord for God does not remain abstract, but is also recognizable in the soul, the personality of Jesus. In this study, for example, the difference with Buddha and Confucius is also shown.

Of course Jesus can only be known by the Holy Spirit and through the spiritual laws and ordinances, as they are also expressed in the Bible. 

He is the God, Who became man, the image of God the invisible One. 

Or as the letter to the Hebrews (1:1-3a) tells us: “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” 

 

Jesus and the natural world

How did Jesus relate to everything the world has to offer? The world has a lot to offer in terms of sensory stimuli, but also in terms of temptation. First of all, one could say that Jesus has been open-minded in all the things that are ‘for sale’ in the world. Even the garment that the Roman soldiers took from Him at Calvary was in a certain way a luxury item (John 19:23). And the anointing of His feet, six days before His death, a costly matter, He allowed Himself to enjoy it without protest. A narrow-minded person might have probably said that this money would have been of more benefit to the poor (Mat. 26:8 ff.). 

We see that Jesus, during His life, enjoyed what the world was offering Him in an uninhibited way. He often took part in meals, celebrations and weddings, which were celebrated exuberantly in the east (Lk.7:36 ff, 10:38 ff, 14:1, Jn. 12:2). Slanderers could easily call him a glutton and an alcoholic (Mat. 11:19). 

He was happy that feasts were organized for Him, also as a means of thinking about Him (Mat. 9:10, Jn. 12:2). The last undisturbed hour He spent with His disciples was a feast. And when He spoke of giving His life, He connected it after His resurrection with "I will be with you in the kingdom of My Father, and I will again enjoy with you the fruit of the vine". (Mat. 26:29). He has unhesitatingly compared the fruits of the present (Mat. 22:2) and the glory of the future (Mat. 25:1) Kingdom of God with the pleasure of a guest meal or compared even Himself with the Bridegroom (Mat. 9:15). His mother knew that she could come to Him quietly with questions about "they have no wine" (John 2:3). And He Himself knew that the old wine tastes better than the new one and that the people who drank the old wine no longer like the new one (Luke 5:39). 

When Jesus, in His parables, pictured the joy, then the fattened calf and music and dance are not missing (Lk. 15:23, 25). He never denied the needs of the body. In hunger and thirst He sought satisfaction, also in the presence of a Samaritan woman; He could have waited until His disciples returned. 

Yes, even on the cross. His last refreshment was a little bit of sour wine, which the workers and soldiers drank (John 19:29). He only refused it when He tasted the bad intentions of men (Mat. 27:34; Mk 15:23). At the beginning of His suffering on the cross He refused the sedative drink. On the other hand, as a matter of course, He gave in to use a pillow to rest. (Mk 4:38). He also did not argue with the people when they made it easier for Him to sit on the coats they laid on the colt that He was going to ride. (Mat. 21:7). He knew that a foot washing feels good. Just think of the foot washing of the disciples (John 13:4 ff). He also allowed Himself twice to be pleased with the anointing of His feet (Lk. 7:38; John 12:3). He forbade Martha to serve Him in any way, even though she did it out of her love (Lk. 10:40). Muhammed did see something good in despising and hating wine. But Jesus even related the remembrance of Him to wine (Mk 14:23 ff) and obviously, He had no problem of leaving five hundred liters of wine as a wedding present for the young couple in Cana (John 2:6). Jesus certainly didn't preach asceticism, He took care of the people’s need in the wilderness (Mk 8:2 ff). He defended His disciples when they satisfied their hunger, even if by doing so they broke the Sabbath Commandment (Mat. 12:7(1)). To Him, fasting as a commandment imposed from the outside and without the right motivation, did not mean anything (Mk 2:19 ff). This is all even more important if you realize that in that way He resisted the prevailing opinion at that time (Mk 2:18; Mat. 11:19) and even deviated from the practice of His predecessor John the Baptist (Mat. 3:1, 4). The world around us offers so much joy and pleasures. And Jesus has open-mindedly made use of it. 

He must have had an excellent eye for nature. Jesus did - not like many others in His time - see different sea, mountain and landscape sceneries, and all this by foot, when nature covered itself in the oriental sunshine. It is for example known that on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho you can walk through different climate zones, which are normally thousands of miles apart, within a few hours.

Take the lovely picture of the landscape of Caesarea Philippi. A garden of the Lord with an abundance of water and trees. Alpine brooks and alpine meadows that are often covered with Veronica flowers and look like a blue flower carpet. Or you can descend from the east to the Lake of Tiberias. It goes through abundant high grass and colorful meadow flowers, where the bright red Opium Poppy flowerand the deep blue iris grow, just like the anemones, the Amur Adonis flower, the carnation, the tulip and the veronica. And then suddenly there is the view from the 700 meter high plateau over the shimmering lake. How beautiful are these colors in their glare and glow! And in the north, the snow-covered Hermon mount silently towers above all that. I think that Jesus has often enjoyed this. This can be derived from His talk of lilies, sparrows, mountains and hills, vines, lightning, puddle rain and sunshine, of good and bad trees, and of the morning and evening sunshine.

Now this admiration for nature is very common, just look at the book of Psalms, but Jesus had a special 'eye' for nature. As in Psalm 29, He admired the beauty of the thunderstorm with its effects on the lake, the high mountains or the dense forest. Jesus knelt down before the meadow flower and saw in a glance the beauty that makes even the beauty of Solomon pale (Matt. 6:29). 

Yes, in the littleness of the birds (Mat. 6:26), even in the sparrows (Mat. 10:29 ff) Jesus found objects of admiration. Jesus had a joyful look at His surroundings, His heart opened at the sight of the green fields. For Him the ripening seed was not a sign that it had to be harvested quickly, but rather that wherever the sower walks by, the earth, whatever is entrusted to it, is ripened by God's sun into golden ears of corn (Mk 4:26-29). 

And when in winter the ravens were crowing, it was not a matter of hunger and needs to Him, but of a rich God who even gives food to the ravens. 

So did Jesus refresh Himself with a beautiful world under the glorious oriental sun and imbibed joy and not sadness from what nature had for Him to offer. For Jesus it was a sure thing that the earth is the Lord’s. Nature is to be enjoyed and is given to us by the Father. In 1 Tim. 4: 4 it says: "For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer." Jesus had never been guilty of anything towards nature or of excess, which is why He was able to make use with great joy of all that nature had to offer. How different is He from for example Buddha? The ‘godly people’ in His days were afraid of too much happiness. They felt they had to reduce the mountain of their sins first. 

Of course, it is also clear that Jesus had that joy because He is the Lord of nature. The world had no power over Him, neither through fear nor temptation. 

He rejoiced over the world, but when His Father came into question, the world was of secondary importance. 

For us, the world with all its temptations is a great danger. Jesus knew this, He said that He’d rather see that people would enter the Kingdom of God with one eye or one arm, than that they stay ‘healthy’ outside the Kingdom (Mat. 18:8 ff.).

Jesus and marriage

Jesus never needed that self-mutilation and never put it into practice, or did He? Has He ever called a woman His own? There is no doubt that Jesus saw much good in marriage. From the joy of marriage, which is perhaps the greatest joy there is, He derived several parables, comparing Himself as a bridegroom. 

He never refused to be a guest at a wedding. He loved the children that came out of marriage (Ps. 128:3). In addition, He was very serious about marriage, despite the many divorces (Mat. 19:4 ff.). Jesus never belonged to those who forbid marriage (1 Tim. 4:3). It is even questionable whether Jesus would agree wholeheartedly with Paul not to marry in many cases (1 Corinthians 7:27, 38, 40). All the more the question remains why He remained unmarried, if He did not consider the unmarried status to be something 'higher'. Paul and also John the Baptist refrained from their natural rights to be married for the sake of the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 9:5). How much more did Jesus do, who had many tasks to fulfill. Jesus, who even corrected His mother in a certain way because He was the Lamb of God Who would take upon Himself the sins of the world. At that time when Jesus started the fulfillment of His tasks, the days when He would normally marry as a Hebrew youngster (around the age of 18) were already behind Him. But He already complied with the laws of the finished kingdom of God. For in Mat. 22:30 it is said after all: "In the resurrection they do not marry nor are given in marriage". In this sense, Jesus was unique (John 3:13). And no one has ascended to heaven except the Son of Man, Who has descended from heaven.

Gerard Feller

(Exerpts from : ‘De Christus der Schriften, de Here der Heerlijkheid’ (‘The Christ of the Scriptures and the Lord of glory’) by Otto Borchert, 1924)

Translated by Ursula Moestapa

 

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