10 October 2012

Jesus, divine and human

This past August I had the opportunity to develop a program for the children at our church that was similar to vacation Bible school, except it was only on Wednesday evenings.  So one Wednesday we would go to a park or to a pool, but the big event for the inaugural “All Out in August” was at this place called Adventure Dynamics.  Picture if you will 30 kids, ages 6 to 12, three hours of time and two stations; a 50 foot tall zip line and a giant swing … while some of the kids were fired up (they reminded me of Chihuahuas on caffeine) and couldn’t wait to get to the top of the station to either go zipping for the Lord or flying through the air like superman, but there were a few that were completely terrified and tempted to stay on the ground and miss out on what was in store for them.
Have you ever been tempted to stay on the ground or not pursue something and later come to find out you missed out on something better?
Temptation in its proper perspective is one of the biggest challenges to our walk with God.  Think about it, temptation is the one thing that threatens to draw us away from the very thing that would just make the difference in our lives.  Where ever we are on the path with God, we will find ourselves in a situation where there is a choice to be made and temptation will be right there. Jesus found Himself in the same place at one point in His life.  What I want to do today is to show you how Jesus was both divine and human.  This is significant because it is in the example of His humanity where we can draw strength in overcoming our wilderness experiences, because there will be times where we will need a word from God to sustain us and in essence so did the Son.
So if grab your Bible if you want to follow along or you can keep reading because I've put the verses below but this way we'll be able to get a glimpse of  Jesus, both divine and human. Let's go to Mark 1: 9-13.

 9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

Jesus acknowledges His humanity by departing His earthly home to be baptized by the one who was sent before Him to declare the coming of the Messiah.  However, the baptism isn’t for the traditional sense of repentance but it was so that all righteousness could be fulfilled.  Throughout our journey to do what God has called us to do we will turn from doing what we think we should be doing to being led by God and fulfilling His will in our lives.  Here in a beautiful exchange, we are witness to that change of direction.  Jesus, who has come to a level of human maturity, turns His back on Nazareth and the simple life of carpentry to step into the beginning His purpose.  It is through His obedience to the will of the Father where we are about to witness a glorious display because Jesus was both divine and human.
 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
If you’re looking for an example of the Trinity on display, this is one of the few passages in the New Testament where they are together.  There are two significant actions taking place; the Baptism which signals the transfer from preparing the way to going the way, and the confirmation of Christ’s divinity.  Here the physical manifestation of the Spirit and the audible voice of the Father declaring His Word over the Son.  When God spoke those words we find He is speaking in the present tense. This is to point out the relationship between the Father and Son has always been that way.  You are my beloved Son; Jesus didn’t become the Son of God at the baptism or at any other moment in His ministry; He is, was and always will be the eternal Son.  The second part of this confirmation, with you I am well pleased; Jesus was God's joy, happiness, and peace. This speaks to the Father’s pleasure not only with all that Jesus, who was divine and human,  has done in the past but for what He is about to enter into as well and we find starting in verse 12 what that looks like.
  12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. 13 And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
Jesus, who had come into the wilderness so that righteousness could be fulfilled in the baptism, doesn’t even have time to savor the moment.  The Spirit, which has just rested upon Him, now drives Him deeper into the wilderness.  He’s not being driven into the wilderness so He can fail, but it’s so the “who” He is, empowered by Holy Spirit, can come forth.  It’s here where we find that just because you’re following the path God has for you doesn’t mean trial and hardship won’t be part of the journey. The chorus to the southern gospel song, written by Gerald Crabb, Through the Fire reads, He never promised that the cross would not get heavy and the hill would not be hard to climbjust as Christ was pushed into the wilderness and tempted for 40 days, not just three times, that spoken word over Him sustained Him, the empowerment of the Holy Spirit was crucial because Jesus was both divine and human … Don't let the enemy talk you out of it, don't let the enemy side track you onto a "smoother" path, don't let the enemy take you where God didn't send you.
Maybe you find yourself surrounded by wild animals in the wilderness, you’re mind is flooded with doubts about God.  The enemy tempts you to believe your troubles exist because God has forgotten you. Being in the wilderness doesn’t mean God doesn’t care, or that He’s disappointed with you it may have very well been Him who sent you, but don’t wonder why you’re there, you have a word remember?  Mark 1: 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” God knows His creation … and it’s in the wilderness that we discover what we’re made of; it’s here where your faith walk is confirmed, and you learn to lean on the power of Holy Spirit. You can be tempted, but that doesn’t mean the enemy can defeat you. Don’t bite the fruit, chuck it and prove sin has no power over you. One Word from God can change anything.  Jesus was both divine and human but it was that confirming word from God that helped sustain Him.  Is your wilderness more than you can bear? Maybe you’re concerned about your future during these uncertain times. Do you need physical healing; maybe a financial breakthrough? Perhaps that fresh touch from God is enough to regain your focus. God has the answer for which you’ve been searching; that one word that has helped keep you in your wilderness times, to resist the enemy when it seems so easy just to give in. When those times get rough, go back to God in prayer, ask Him to reveal it, stay in His Word so that you can recognize His voice and ask Him to remind you what that word was.  I know there are times that I’ve got to be reminded what that word was so that I too can overcome the temptations and wilderness of life.  I mean think about it for a moment.

Think what it would be like if we all could recall what the Father had said about each of us.  Imagine what we could do and what we could overcome.  Staying in prayer helps us to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, reading His Word and staying committed to what it says keeps us full and able to recognize His voice.  It makes those wilderness times more bearable.  Just remember when the temptations seem to be strong and the wild beasts are nipping at your heels that God is pleased with you.  And just like Jesus who was both divine and human that word sustained Him and that same word can do that for you as well … that one word can change your life forever.