Christ’s Humanity for Your Ministry

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In my last article, I wrote down a few examples of how we shape our ministries by Christ’s full divinity.

“Want to know what God is like? Look to Jesus, the Son. Want to know what it means to be human? Look again to Jesus” [1]. – quoted from previous article.

If Christ is both fully human and fully divine (which he is!), what does it mean to have Christ at the center of our lives and ministries? As Jesus is both fully divine and fully human, He is both the potter (who molds us) and the clay (our model). Because he is fully divine we can trust him. Because he is fully human we can boldly follow.

Because Jesus is fully human, we can boldly follow Him with comfort. Because Jesus is fully human, his struggles become our strength; he becomes a sympathizing priest, able to identify with us in our weakness and temptations, yet without sin (Heb 4:15). The humanity of Jesus matters for our current struggles with life and pain and suffering and temptation. Jesus’ humanity matters for our hopes and fears, our joys and tears. He lived in our limitations [2]. He was constrained in time and space. He felt the sweat of his brow (Lk 22:44). He hungered (Mk 11:12). He wept (Jn 11:35). He bled (Jn 19:34). When you serve in ministry, know that God knows your struggles. And know that God knows what those struggles feel like. You are not alone, let His fellowship in your suffering be your strength.

 

We can boldly follow His example.  Jesus gave a perfect and radical example for humanity. He is the True human, our model, revealing “to us humanness as intended by God” [3]. And God desires to shape us into His likeness (Romans 8:29).

 

  1. Selflessness: Because Jesus is fully human, his selflessness becomes our example. He charges us with a call to selfless service, saying “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (Jn 13:14).
  2. Time Management: Jesus’ humanity matters because He shows us how the perfect human managed time. His time management often didn’t fit human expectations, but it was led by the Spirit and according to the Father’s schedule. He showed up three days late for Lazarus’ death (Jn 11:21). He also went to a desolate place to pray while much ministry needed to be done (1:27). His disciples said: “Everyone is looking for You.” But instead of answering to their demands, he went on to the next town. This should not be used as an excuse for lack of conscientiousness or chronic tardiness. We should, however, be at peace when people interrupt us from our ministry deadlines.
  3. Talk the Talk: With Jesus as our example, God was teaching us to talk in the fullness of our humanity by talking to us in the fullness of humanity. How do we talk with God in difficult situations? “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Lk 22:42).
  4. Passion and Compassion: We can boldly follow Jesus with passion and compassion because Jesus shows us what this balance looks like. On one hand, he zealously overturned tables in the temple and on the other, gracefully drew a line in the sand as he forgave an adulterous woman.
  5. Life Together: Jesus was in community. Though he could be self-sufficient, he relied on others to accomplish tasks. Jesus kindly told his disciples, “you feed the masses”, “go get a donkey for me”, and “go and make disciples of all nations”. Of course, he didn’t just stay in community to hand out tasks. He also served in community, giving first-century pedicures, performing divine reconstructive surgery, ushered demons out, ushered sinners into fellowship, all the while, showing his disciples how it’s done and told them to go out and do likewise. As leaders, we cannot be the lone ranger, getting things done on our own because, as they say, “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself”. We need to delegate, and we need to demonstrate. Jesus was in community not only to get things done, but also for the sake of community itself. God, in trinity, is indeed an eternal community. Jesus came to bring this eternal community to earth and to show us how to reflect this across the cosmos (John 17:21, cf. Eph 3:10). John, referring to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, leaned back against Jesus (Jn 13:25), rested with Jesus. We too are called to have the love of Jesus among one another.

 

We can boldly follow Him with hope (his perfect obedience exchanged for our failures) – his humanity qualified him to be the perfect sacrifice. Our hopes and ministries must be shaped by the Gospel Hope. Christ endured the cross “for the joy set before him” (Heb 12:2). Jesus Christ, fully God and fully human, was the only one qualified to clear our guilt – and he did so with joy! He also gave us a framework for how God has been at work in our lives. We can boldly follow because God was able to make the best outcome come out of the worst scenario. Jesus Christ crucified led to hope resurrected!

 

[1]  Grenz, Stanley J.; Smith, Jay T. (2015-01-13). Created for Community: Connecting Christian Belief with Christian Living (Kindle Location 2064). Baker Publishing Group.

[2] Ibid. Loc. 1954-1955.

[3] Ibid. Loc. 1987-1988.

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