Sometimes I forget that Jesus was human.
I know he was, but suffering limits my ability to see very well. When things get really difficult, I look at Christ, the only one in the world who ever can or will sympathize with my weaknesses... who in every respect has been tempted as I am (Hebrews 4:15), and I'm ashamed to say I often throw his humanity to the side.
He was fully divine, and yet he was fully human. In my pride I confess I tend to pick and choose which "version" Jesus decided to be in which circumstances.
"Of course he could last 40 days in the desert without food and water - he was God!" In times of pain my pride is more apparent. It helps to think I might be the only one who truly "gets it." But I'm on the highway of lies when I start heading in that direction.
I don't know what it was like for Jesus. None of us do. Was his living in this world as simple as deciding how much of his divinity to "tap into" whenever and how much he wanted to? Or was his divinity as much of his humanity as my sin is to mine?
I do know that it must have been that much more difficult to walk this earth knowing he was as fully divine as he was fully human. I can't imagine having the power to call on legions of angels to rescue him at any time - and hold back.
To be divine is to be perfect, and yet scripture illustrates Jesus' humanity to a frustrating level that my finite mind struggles to comprehend the two together.
"In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered" (Hebrews 5:7-8).
He was heard. Not because he was divine, not because he was perfect, but because in his suffering he turned to his Daddy and maintained his reverence while he cried out in his agony.
He's the one and only son of the Creator of the universe. He's eternity past, present and future (John 1:1-2). He's always been completely one with the Father and Holy Spirit - the givers of all wisdom! And yet, though he was a son, he learned.
I think I spent an entire day meditating on this concept of a perfect, all-knowing, all-seeing Jesus having to learn obedience through suffering. A journey he never had to endure, and yet he chose to endure in the form of a human being. His very creation. He was willing to become finite, though he was still capable of infinite things. He was perfectly one with the Father and Spirit, and yet he had to learn how to be obedient.
The part that is most challenging for me in my current season, is the first portion of the scripture: "Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence" (v.7).
The Father and Jesus were perfectly one, and yet Jesus prayed and gave up supplications with loud cries and tears. He opened his heart up to the Father in a messy, unattractive, human display that - according to scripture - made an impact on the Father. He heard His son.
I don't know about you, but my loud cries and tears aren't pretty. There is half a box of tissues strewn about covered in snot and salty tears, my face is puffy, my pillow and blanket are half-soaked, my voice is hoarse, and I ache everywhere. I feel stripped raw and then, I'm needy and just want to be held.
Try to wrap your mind around Jesus, the King of the World, Prince of Peace in this physical state. He went there often. Scripture only tells us of a few specific instances (Luke 19:41; 22:39-44; John 11:35) but there were many other situations where anyone with a heart would have wept:
The death of his cousin and friend John the Baptist (Matthew 14:12-13), when he overturned tables in a fury over what people had done to his Father's house (Mark 11:15-1), Peter denying him three times (Matthew 26:69-75), and when he cried out to Abba on the cross (Mark 15:34).
I struggle to engage my heart with my Lord, even when I think and do good things for Him. But God says that if I want to learn to be obedient like His son, if I want to have the relationship with Him that His son had - or even remotely close to it - I have to be willing to go there: down the path of suffering and to offer up prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears in reverence.
I have to be willing to not only give him my life, but my heart. I have to not only love Him, but let Him love me back.
Yesterday morning he sat me down and very clearly made a point: "Today, you're just going to listen." I drew out my journal to take notes.
He planted me in Isaiah 43 and had me read through it and Isaiah 44, stopping me occasionally to make several important points. "I AM forming you - stop getting in my way... I WILL be with you... NOTHING will overwhelm or consume you... I AM with you... YOU ARE precious in my eyes, honored and I LOVE YOU... I AM doing a new thing - let me!"
"They know not, nor do they discern for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand." (44:17). Anytime I turn something into an idol, it covers my eyes and numbs my heart. I can't see what he's doing, and I certainly can't understand, if I'm wearing a coat of armor and a blindfold.
Maybe you're like me - on the cusp of something God is doing and He's asking you to get rid of the idols, whatever they may be, and press your heart into Him instead. While I'm confident in scripture, my heart trembles. If you're afraid to step forward, keep reading and I'll let you know how the next stage goes for me!
Maybe you're watching someone else on the cusp and you feel at a loss as to what to do to help - too afraid to push too hard, and just as afraid of not pushing enough so that they stay in their cycle. Pray, my friend. Pray like you've never prayed before, and by clearing the spiritual air you'll leave holes in the blindfold and chinks in the armor.
Remember - it's not our perfection that God wants. It's our humanity. It was His son's humanity and reverence in the humanity that drew His heart to him. I encourage you to be so bold to do the same. Jesus said to follow Him.
So walk with me.