A very human Saviour

How can Jesus be truly human if is really God? How can God’s transcendent spiritual being be contained in a human body?

How can God’s omnipotence be limited by our frail bodies?
How can God’s omniscience be limited to what can fit inside our head? How can God’s omnipresence be limited to one location?

It seems both contradictory and a mystery that God’s glory could somehow be contained in the person of Jesus. Yet, that is crucial to our faith. If Jesus wasn’t truly human, then he cheated the tests. If Jesus wasn’t fully human, then then it was easy for him to resist temptation and to follow the will of the God, even to the cross.

Some of the early Christians got caught up in Gnosticism. Which is all about having a special knowledge of God…but one characteristic of these Gnostics was that they did not believe that Jesus was really human… that wherever he walked he did not leave a footprint, because he was just a spirit. The problem with this is, if Jesus is not fully human, then he could not relate to our circumstances; and if he is not fully God, he cannot do anything about them!

Jesus had a human body, emotions, mind, and will. And this in no way compromised his deity. When the Word became flesh (John 1)—when the eternal Son of God took on full humanity—he did not merely become human in part. He fully became truly human.

Today we focus in our Jesus’ temptations (Luke4).

I have a good friend from my time back in Canberra who, when asked if he would like a piece of cake would say, “I can resist anything except temptation”….which sort of goes contrary to Bible, which says in James 4:7 to ‘resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’

The place of Jesus’ temptation was one of the most desolate places on Earth… the wilderness between the mountains of Judea and the Dead Sea. So terrible was the parched land that the Jews of the ancient world called it by the name YeShimon, “Place of Desolation.” Against the backdrop of the wilderness, isolated and remote, two figures would come to do battle….

The Greek word which is translated “tempted” in this passage can have two possible meanings: ‘To solicit sin…’or ‘to test…’The temptation of Jesus had one fundamental difference from any temptation that we have ever experienced. It was not a temptation from WITHIN. As human we get enticed to do something because of our own weakness and lusts…(James 1:1-15). The bible says, that Jesus had no sin (Hebrews 4:15), so when the temptations were thrown at Jesus, Satan could not find a single weak spot. This was not the end of the temptations of Jesus. But it was the end for a time. It has been said that peace is that brief moment when everyone stops to reload. Satan is like that. His attacks sometimes cease, but that is only because he is waiting for a more opportune time.

Jesus became man in full so that he might save us in full. Hallelujah! What a very human saviour, what a very mighty God!

God bless,

Tim Winslade

Behind the Veil

Last weekend I was down in Nowra, N.S.W. conduc6ng a wedding. The young couple met in our old youth group several years ago and have been an item ever since. The wedding was conducted at an historic chapel at Meroo Meadow that was built by Alexander Berry in the1870’s. The bride and groom had six aIendants each and the bridal party arrived in the biggest stretch Hummer that I have the bride became more and more radiant as the day unfolded.

I’ve been involved in a lot of weddings and very few brides have veils that cover their faces today. Traditionally the veil symbolised the bride’s virtue and by lifting it, the groom took possession of his new wife. In some cultures, lifting the veil was also be the first time the groom’s family saw the bride. In the Bible we are reminded of the story of Jacob who was deceived into marrying Leah before Rachel because she wore a thick veil that concealed her true identity.

So that brings the question. Who’s behind the veil?

Moses is said to have worn a veil over his face after coming down from Mt. Sinai (Exodus 34) when he realised that by being in the presence of God his face radiated with light and frightened the Israelites. The Apostle Paul took a different view of this event when he wrote that Moses deliberately covered his face to prevent them from seeing that the radiance of being in God’s presence was fading. The veil then became a form of deception that covered over the truth of the old covenant until Jesus came an instituted a new covenant and removed the veil from our hearts and minds so that we could see God in all his glory, revealed in Jesus Christ.

When Jesus’ glory was revealed to his disciples on the Mount during his transfiguration – the disciples had a fleeting glimpse of Jesus unveiled. They had not realised it yet, but the old covenant of the 10 commandments was being superseded by the glorious and unfading radiance of the new covenant. This new covenant, established in Christ, brings righteousness, hope and freedom. Paul wrote, ‘the Lord is Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom’ (2 Corinthians 3:17). This then is no veiled gospel that we proclaim, but the hope of glory in our heart radiating the joy of our salvation.

Many of us live out our faith behind a veil. Which poses the question, why?

Are you dulled to the truth – revealed in Jesus; and need to choose to step out and see Jesus for who he is?

Are you like Moses, concerned that people will realise that you haven’t been spending enough time in the presence of God and so put up a type of façade?

Or, do we allow Christ to remove the veil and take possession of his bride and see him for who he is; reflect on his glory and allow ourselves to be transformed into his likeness.

That’s the challenge. What’s behind the veil? One day all will be revealed…it’s beIer that it’s sooner than later.

God bless,

Tim Winslade