As I work through a bible study I struggle to give it a title that draws people in. It does not take me long to get thoroughly disgusted because this idea of making things marketable, is part of what has brought our churches to the apostate condition they are now. I thought my title should be, “Are you out Jesus, superhero capes?”
This was the actual question was proposed before the group – “did Jesus walk this earth as a man, or did he have supernatural traits?” It is a fair question, but sadly, it comes out of misinformation, a lack of proper teaching, and a failure of people to read their bibles for themselves (that of course implies that in reading you are reading for depth, asking questions of what you read, and looking up the answers for yourselves.
Let me give you an example of the misinformation we spread.
As children we learned about David and Goliath. The story always came with visuals, as well as verbal descriptions. The image painted of David was that he is a cute, little 12-15 year old, red-headed child; whom, by the way, amazingly killed a bear and a lion. David, at this size and imagined age, is now so strikingly confident that he is willing to take on a man of enormous size. We get this image of David reinforced by adding that King Saul took his massive armor and placed it around David. The armor would, at this age, have fit like a trash can, either that, or Saul was just a little man. Problems any of us should have with this, is that Saul, when anointed as King, was head and shoulders above anyone around him. That would put Saul at close to seven feet tall. Would you attempt to put armor that fit on you, a man who potentially is 6’10” tall, on a boy of only five feet tall, at best? Not a chance. I would not have allowed him out on the battle field either. But David was not five foot tall, he was probably closer in height to Saul. Let just assume he was 6’4” tall, and plenty big enough to take a bear and a lion. David’s resume was all verbal, but the bear and lion are probable, and great selling points. Saul, looked at him, heard what he said, saw a confidence in his eyes, and hesitantly said yes, go get him. Where is the possible hesitancy coming from? From the fact that if David loses, we all lose, and as King, the Philistines will molest him, and when done mount his head on a pole; not to mention what they will do to the others.
So, how did Jesus present himself here on earth?
Philippians 2:5-8 KJV Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
The word reputation – A two-part Greek word, meaning: to make empty, and an obsolete reflexive pronoun that can be translated as he.
He emptied himself. Now the question where and when did this happen?
John’s gospel tells us that He/Jesus was the Word; that the Word created all things, and was there with him, in the beginning. There was no arrogance, no flaunting, it was an interdependent, fluid state of being. Paul explains: “Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” To be honest, I cannot explain how this relationship worked or what it looked, I just know it did. I can also find out that Jesus had a free will, just as the angels did.
At the proper time He took upon himself human form.
“and took upon himself” – took is the Greek word lambanō, and means to take in very many applications, literally and figuratively – to get hold of. What does this tell me? That he knew exactly what He was doing, and He knew how tough it was going to be.
With that free will, in a move to recover man on earth, He chose to stop to being who He was. He submitted himself to human birth, had to have his diapers changed, accepted discipline, childhood all that goes with it. And yes, if he had a bicycle he would have fallen off of it, just as we did.
“the form” – Form is the Greek word morphē, and means: shape; figuratively nature: – form. This tells me that He did not look like any man we have ever seen prior to that decision.
The nature of the man originated in the garden before the fall, and was an exact duplicate of the Father, but there was a huge and obvious shift; it all surrounded the choice and act of eating that fruit. There is a possibility that it went deeper than that, all the way down to the man’s DNA, and every human produced from Adam, from that time forward, carried that damaged DNA. If scientists took a random sampling of DNA from people, and every one of them had that same damage, how would you know it was damaged? Kind of reminds me of an old Twilight Zone television show, where everyone had a duck like face. We were introduced to a patient, wrapped in facial bandages, as they all awaited permission from the doctor to remove the bandages after another attempt to do plastic surgery on this sad but beautiful blond lady. Her malady, she was different, she looked like a human, and she was very distraught. It ended with a handsome fellow who had come to accept his looks taking her away to be with others like them. The point is, if we all looked like ducks, then duck faces would be normal. Sin, an integral aspect of who we are, became normal to us.
“of a servant,” – The Greek word doulos means: a slave (literally or figuratively, involuntarily or voluntarily.
In a recent bible study the idea of our being a slave came up. The context: We had touched upon Paul declaring that he was a slave for Christ; as such, how much room did that leave him to decree, “I will do what I please!” Not much, as slaves do what they are told. And yet, as slaves, God does not treat us poorly; He still gives us the freedom of choice, and one of those choices is to return to the previous slave owner.
While the idea of being a slave sounds bad; implemented by man it typically is, this is not the case with God. Our submission leads to freedom, hope, and eternity with Him.
Time to refocus.
How does this apply to Jesus?
All He ever seemed to say was, “I only do what I hear the Father tell me.” He placed himself in submission to the Father. Apparently, the Father gave him the freedom, and we can see this spelled out in Isaiah 61.
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion– to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3 ESV)
As Jesus walked this earth, this is exactly what He did. He did not need another word spoken, the directive was already there. There is one huge exception. He did not come to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God. He came as the good shepherd and he came to heal and restore. Wow, if Jesus was a slave, what an exciting job he got. But he was not a slave, He was a beloved Son
Alright, let us apply this to ourselves.
Since you struggle with the word slave, how about employee.
Romans 6:22 Phillips 22 But now that you are employed by God, you owe no duty to sin, and you reap the fruit of being made righteous, while at the end of the road there is life for evermore.
Having worked at several jobs I can tell you that broken people are the same everywhere you go.
Can we speak freely? If you are being paid to do a job and you are standing around, avoiding the responsibilities that the job demands, and yet still picking up a paycheck as though you did what you were asked to do, then you are stealing.
There is a payment for everything; for Christ, there was the joy set before Him, knowing that many would follow, and there would be an eternity of peace and joy for those who come.
Romans 6:23 Phillips 23 Sin pays its servants: the wage is death. But God gives to those who serve him: his free gift is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:18-19 NASB and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (19) I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
Life Application New Testament Commentary says of Romans 6:18. It is impossible to be neutral. Every person has a master—either righteousness or sin. A Christian is still able to sin, but he or she is no longer a slave to sin. This person belongs to God. Believers are set free from the control of their evil desires and their selfish habits, free to become enslaved to righteous living. We serve the righteous God who is in the process of transforming us to become more like him so that we can one day share in glorious resurrection to eternal life. That’s not a bad master to have!
So the short answer to the question, “Did Jesus walk this earth as a man, or did he have supernatural traits?” is NO, he had no supernatural help or traits. Yes, that means that everything he did, he did as a man. Yep, he had to work through the same fears and pressures that we do, but hey, He did it, and succeeded. Oh yeah, He had to decide that following after the Father was the best way to go; this is the same decision that we have to make. I am glad that I made this decision long ago. It is not that difficult, you just have to decide to put Him in charge. Jesus, I give my life to you, you are in charge now.