Jesus Christ is the Son of man

Vyacheslav GoncharenkoSome time ago by God’s grace I began to study the topic “Jesus Christ is the Son of man” and I came to see that understanding Jesus Christ as the Son of man is a great help to daily life. The New Testament calls Jesus Christ the Son of man 88 times. I would like to explain what it means. Let’s read a passage from the Bible which uncovers the meaning of the expression “the Son of man”. 

Daniel 7:13-14:

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. 

Here it talks about Jesus Christ to Whom God gave dominion over everything. In the Old Testament the expression “the Son of man” is used as a title for the Messiah. You can find this expression in different places in the Scripture. Wherever it says “the Son of man” it prophesies about the Messiah. Thus, this expression is a different way of naming the Messiah. So the passage above implies that Jesus was given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom. In the New Testament Jesus called Himself the Son of man implying that each prophesy which talked about the Son of man applied to Him. The Jews totally understood that. When Jesus addressed Himself as the Son of man He actually proclaimed that He is the Messiah. The Old Testament people who met Jesus and heard His words understood that He declared that He was the Messiah. This is what this expression means on the first place.

Another implication: the Son of man means a hundred percent human. Jesus Christ was not half man and half God. Jesus Christ was a hundred percent man and a hundred percent God.

Philippians 2:6-8:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  

God became a man.

Matthew 1:23:

… and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.  

There is an amazing hope hidden in the name Emmanuel – God is with us humans. But usually when we turn to God we imagine Him sitting somewhere very high and far away. We can’t really comprehend where the Kingdom of God is, where the city made of gold is. People are used to thinking that God is somewhere far away behind the clouds, somewhere very high and He is beyond what a person can reach. But the phrase “Emmanuel (which means, God with us)” tells us that God is near, He is by our side. Jesus Christ, the Son of man, became near to all of us. He became close to the entire human race coming as a man.

Acts 17:27:

… though, indeed, He is not far from each one of us… 

God is not hiding from us. He has become very near to us; He is not unreachable any longer. The Son of man, Jesus Christ from Nazareth, is among us. John writes that they touched Him. Imagine the conflict in the minds of people when they looked at what Jesus Christ did, what authority was given to Him that demons and sicknesses subdued to Him and even forces of nature obeyed Him. You can see many times in the Scripture people were astonished; they looked at Jesus with great amazement. They realized that He was authorized by God but they couldn’t comprehend how a man could have such power. Though, it’s written that they gave glory to God for granting men such power.

One day Jesus entered a synagogue and a demon-possessed person began screaming as the demon left him. It was first time people saw such a miracle. Note that only in the New Testament demons screamed and left people free. It’s because the Kingdom of God came near and pushed the kingdom of Satan out. God’s ultimate goal is to blot out the kingdom of Satan and establish the Kingdom of God on the earth. Where is the Kingdom of God? It’s where neither demons, nor evil and Satan have  dominion. I believe God’s Kingdom has come into your life. Satan is not a boss any longer. He used to be but he was chased away.

Some people who didn’t understand the source of the authority Jesus had came to tempt Him.

Matthew 21:23:

And he having come to the temple, there came to him when teaching the chief priests and the elders of the people, saying, ‘By what authority dost thou do these things? and who gave thee this authority?’ 

Do you see what kind of people came to Jesus? Religious leaders. They couldn’t grasp by what authority He did that. But Jesus refused to answer.

Sometimes people addressed Jesus as the son of David: “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” It was promised to David that the Messiah would be among his descendents. For this reason, when people saw Jesus of Nazareth Who acted on the authority of the Messiah, Christ, the Anointed one, they automatically thought He was the son of David, the Messiah. And they would cry, “Son of David! Have mercy on me!” The Hebrew word Messiah is the same as the Greek word Christ and the Russian word Anointed one, the Anointed of God which means authorized by God.

Luke 20:41-44:

… ‘How do they say the Christ to be son of David, and David himself saith in the Book of Psalms, The Lord said to my lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I shall make thine enemies thy footstool;  David, then, doth call him lord, and how is he his son?’

 At times people got confused and couldn’t comprehend who stood before them but demons perfectly understood and constantly “revealed” Jesus, saying, “You are the Son of God!” But He forbade them, “Shut up and go away!” But anyway people heard what they screamed. Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, saying, “If You are the Son of God do this and that.”  But Jesus refused to do anything as the Son of God. He subdued the temptation and He did everything not as the Son of God but as the Son of man. He walked on the earth for 33 years and just look, how He changed history. You may ask, “How did He make it?” He made it as a man anointed by the Holy Spirit. This is what we should keep in mind. This is a great revelation. Any person anointed by the Holy Spirit can do what Jesus did. Nobody can say, “Of course, He is God, He is the Son of God! That’s why He could do that.” But Jesus didn’t do a thing acting as God or the Son of God. He did everything as a man showing us that this is what we can do if we are full of the Holy Spirit like He was.

Read again how Matthew begins his account of the Gospel. When you have got the revelation of Jesus as the Son of man He will become near to you. Many don’t feel this connection with Jesus Christ because they think of Him as the Son of God, “How can we ever be compared to the Son of God? Many feel lonely because they don’t have the revelation of Jesus as the Son of man. Jesus revealed Himself to the world as the Son of man.

So let’s open the first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew and read: “Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren…” How many times I would tell someone about Christ, give him the New Testament and say, “Read, this is the Word of God! You should read it!” but later on when I meet this person again and ask, “Have you read the New Testament?” he says, “I started but I understood nothing.” I would ask, “What exactly didn’t you understand?” He replies, “It says, that person was the father of that person and so on… Why do I need to know this? So I decided that I won’t understand the book anyway and closed it up.”

Do you know that Jesus’ genealogic tree (bloodline) counts on the side of Joseph? It’s written in the first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew and in the third chapter of the Gospel of Luke. But do you realize that Joseph even was not Jesus’ father? You do remember how Jesus was born: a virgin conceived from the Holy Spirit. So He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Thus from human point of view Joseph had nothing to do with it. But the important thing is that he was the husband of Mary; they had a family. Jesus’ bloodline comes to Joseph.

The Jews believe that genealogy is very important. For this reason, the Gospel of Matthew starts from the genealogy of Jesus which shows that Jesus didn’t fall down from the moon; He is a man, the Son of man. Many of us see genealogy differently. For instance, who of you know your own bloodline? Our great grandparents are the maximum we know. By the way, today you can find out your own genealogic tree for $200. If you pay more you might find out if there was a king or a duke in your bloodline, then you will hold your head really high and tell everyone about your great ancestors. But commonly we don’t care about our genealogy. We know nothing about our ancestors, where they had their settlement, what they did for living. Imagine how cut off we are from our roots. And in fact we don’t want to know, otherwise we would have found out.

But Jesus had a genealogy, human (flesh) bloodline. You may ask why we should know it. Listen attentively to this verse.

1 John 4:1-3:

Beloved, every spirit believe not, but prove the spirits, if of God they are, because many false prophets have gone forth to the world;  in this know ye the Spirit of God; every spirit that doth confess Jesus Christ in the flesh having come, of God it is, and every spirit that doth not confess Jesus Christ in the flesh having come, of God it is not; and this is that of the antichrist, which ye heard that it doth come, and now in the world it is already.  

Here it says that we should be aware of the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of man Who came in the flesh. You should be confident in this concern otherwise you delude yourself. The spirit of delusion says the opposite: Jesus didn’t come in the flesh. Do you realize how many are under delusion regarding Jesus? When I attended pastor university “The Word of Life” in Kiev we heard a very long teaching of various heresies, delusions and seductions concerning Jesus Christ. For instance, somebody believes that Jesus Christ was not a human being and His blood running down the cross was nothing but a trick made by Him, He didn’t die. How can He die if He is the Son of God? And many other heresies.  This is why you should know Jesus as the Son of man Who came in the flesh so that you won’t be led astray. What else should you know? It’s critical to keep in mind that through Jesus coming in a human body God predestined Him to be the Savior of all men. It’s His flesh which He didn’t spare but gave up to death made our salvation possible.

1 Peter 1:18-20:

… having known that, not with corruptible things — silver or gold — were ye redeemed from your foolish behaviour delivered by fathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and unspotted — Christ’s — foreknown, indeed, before the foundation of the world, and manifested in the last times because of you … 

Before the foundation of the world Jesus Christ was predestined by God to come to the earth, put on mortal flesh and complete His mission. Jesus’ body had a purpose that He might shed His blood, redeeming blood, for the entire human race. The Scripture says that God reconciled the world to Himself by Jesus’ blood. It also says that Jesus by His own body put to death the enmity between God and men. He reconciled us to God by His flesh, by His body. Had Jesus had no body redemption of the mankind wouldn’t have taken place.

Please, meditate on the following question: consider everything there is in Heaven and name something that was made by men? There is God, Jesus, angels, archangels, a golden city … Could you guess? Holes (wounds) of nails in Jesus’ hands this is what was made by men. When you finally appear in Heaven Jesus will come to meet you and He will give you a handshake and say, “Hello!” And you will see those holes in His hands made by you and me, by us all. When you meet Jesus He won’t put blame on you saying, “What have you done?” The fact that you came to Heaven signifies that He forgave you. He loves you. You will feel only loved. But those wounds are going to be a permanent sign. When I think of it I realize that those wounds are a great shame of mankind! How did we treat the Price of Heaven?!

Jesus is God. He existed long before He was born on the earth. He created the whole universe. Just imagine feelings of the Father Who sent His Son to the earth and He returned back with holes in His hands. Angels surrounded Jesus and asked, “Jesus, what is this?” Jesus replied, “This is what people did.” “Did people do that? Why do You still love them?!..” We are going to observe these wounds for the entire eternity and be reminded that Jesus is our representative, the Son of man.

The Lord designed everything in a way that we could remember that there is the Son of man in Heaven Who became completely like we are. The Son of God came into this world to live among the sons of man so that the sons of man could become the sons of God. Why did He become like man? He did it in order for us, the sons of man, to become the sons of God.

Now I would like us to talk about human nature of Jesus Christ. Let’s see what kind of man He was living on the earth. It would be great if you could highlight these verses in the Bible and read the Word of God through the lens of the truth of the Son of man. At the end of the sermon I will explain how we benefit from the revelation of Jesus Christ being the Son of man.

Isaiah 53:2-3:

Yea, he cometh up as a tender plant before Him, And as a root out of a dry land, He hath no form, nor honour, when we observe him, Nor appearance, when we desire him. He is despised, and left of men, A man of pains, and acquainted with sickness, And as one hiding the face from us, He is despised, and we esteemed him not. 

What do we see here? He had no beauty or majesty which means Jesus was not attractive. But probably you saw beautiful icons and art works that depict Jesus like a movie star, the best of all. But it says “He hath no appearance” implying that His face was pretty common (Он своим видом не бросался в глаза). There are people who have bright appearance: impressive eyebrows, dark hair, big nose. By the way, I recall a Korean who came visit us, he said, “I am fascinated by your noses. They are big. We are not pleased with our small features.” But Jesus had neither form nor majesty. You would not distinguish Him among other people (in a crowd). Had Jesus lived in our day and age you would not notice Him. I think He was a skinny person because everybody could notice a big guy. Jesus was physically unremarkable.

It says He was acquainted with sickness. Other verses of the Scripture say that He was quiet; He wouldn’t cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench. You can find on the Internet what historical figures such as rulers, roman officials wrote about Jesus. It’s hard to believe that they are depicting Jesus. We used to thinking that Jesus was easy to distinguish among other people. He is our hero, our star, He is higher than others, He is brighter and we would easily recognize Him. But we don’t know for sure. At that time many people, for instance, had crooked teeth; dentistry was nothing compared to what we have nowadays. Can you imagine Jesus with crooked teeth? You see, this isn’t how we imagine Him. You would say, “Pastor, what are you saying? Couldn’t God give Him even teeth? Couldn’t He Himself make His teeth even?” We used to thinking of some kind of mystery. But it’s not so.

Before Jesus turned 30 He was no different from others; He was not anointed. Have there been times in your life when you don’t feel the anointing of the Holy Spirit? Times when you felt hopeless? For example, when your child got sick or you can’t render any help to a needy person. Jesus knows how it feels. Before the age of 30 He saw all injustice and sufferings of the people under the Roman occupation but He was silent, He could do nothing about it. Only after the Holy Spirit came upon Him at the river Jordan when He was baptized He could start His ministry. He ministered for three and a half years but before that He was an ordinary person.

Nothing on the earth was foreign to Jesus. He had brothers and sisters. He had a cousin, John the Baptist, who was 6 months older. Jesus had a job, He worked as a carpenter. He ate ordinary food as everybody did at that time.

I have been to Israel where we had a tour around Nazareth. There they reconstructed a village of the time of Jesus. You know, it was an ordinary village where sheep walked around, people wore traditional clothes. A house I saw was nothing special with a flat roof slightly sloping down covered with branches through which one could easily see the sky and stars. There were cauldrons, paddles, a basket full of eggs, a small stove for cooking. Remember Jesus told a person He had healed, “Rise up, take up your bed and go home”? Reading this Scripture as a child I thought, “He must be a very strong guy. He was able to take up his bed and carry it home.” I thought his bed was similar to the one I had. But it turned out that they slept on a plaiting made of reed which one could roll up and carry under arm. I tried to lie on that bed, which wasn’t comfortable at all: very hard. How could one spend a night on it? Jesus did.

There was a wedding in Cana of Galilee and Jesus, the Son of man, came there. It fascinates me that He accepted the invitation, He didn’t say, “I am Jesus Christ. I am too busy. My job is to bring revival!” No, He came to the wedding. And he didn’t take up leadership from the master of the feast, “Hey, do you know Who is talking to you?” Jesus sat among other guests. He acted in a modest way and even awkward to some extent. His mother obviously knew Who He was. So when they ran out of wine the bridegroom felt quite embarrassed because it was his shame. And Jesus’ mother said, “Dear son, could you please help them? They need your help.” He replied, “What does this have to do with me?  My hour hasn’t come yet.” It looks like His mother pushed Him forward to minister. His mom didn’t stand on ceremony. She simply approached the manager and said, “Whatever He tells you, do it.” Then she turned to the son, “Well, I have taken care of everything, you go ahead.” The son thought, “Well, what am I to say? Ok!” And He said, “Fill up these stone waterpots with water.” And from that moment the anointing began to manifest. They filled, poured, tasted: “Wow! The bridegroom is so cool, he kept the best wine to the very end.”

All kinds of things have been said about the charismatic church. For instance, concerning dancing. But the church is not a graveyard. It’s a birthing home. It’s a place where the life of God is born. People ask, “Where does the Bible say that Jesus danced?” Jesus was a Jew. Surely He danced. Dancing was a part of Jewish wedding custom. He danced along with other guests. He didn’t sit with sour face. I believe He had fun as everybody else.

There is a verse in the Bible where Jesus says, “Can the children of the bride chamber mourn, while the bridegroom is with them?” He said this when Pharisees accused Him, “The disciples of John fast, but Yours neither fast nor pray!” He explained that they couldn’t mourn because the bridegroom was with them. It looks like His disciples were fun to be around. They couldn’t be sad.

Jesus Christ had friends. John 11:5 tells the story of Lazarus, Martha and Mary who lived in Bethany. There are workers, ministers and there are friends. Jesus had friends. Can you tell the difference between friends and the others? They make you feel comfortable. Somebody says, “I’d like to be your friend.” Ok, but the way you act makes others feel uncomfortable. You complain, “Do you know how bad I feel!?” Or you are too talkative and give no chance for another person to insert a word so he silently suffers. Lazarus, Martha and Mary put no pressure on Jesus. He had a need of friendship, of having relations.

Here is one more passage from the Bible: Jesus is riding a donkey. Have you ever ridden a donkey? All right, you will have a chance in the future. Jesus rode a donkey, you drive a car. It’s your donkey. So imagine, you are driving a car and suddenly you hit a bump. You say, “Lord, what’s up? In the name of Jesus!” Surprisingly, many believers get nervous while driving. By the way, do you realize where your Christian character is revealed? Driving a car. A believer always smiles while driving even when somebody cuts him in traffic, something is going wrong, a stressful situation coming up. When someone wants to get ahead of you a Christian doesn’t shout at him, “Hey, what are you doing? I am fed up with you all! And where are you going?” I would go for a ride with you and listen to your “sermons”. So Jesus was riding a donkey. When a donkey hits a bump a rider would swing from one side to another. So don’t you worry about these bumps, Jesus knows it all.

What else can we read in the Scripture about Jesus? It says: “He spit on the ground.” Somebody could say, “Wow, that’s not nice.” Not only He spit but He also made “a cake“ out of the mud as we did when we were kids. So Jesus made mud when he encountered a blind person who asked, “Lord, I want to recover my sight!” Jesus took those globs of mud, put them on the person’s eyes and said, “Go and wash in the pool.” The blind left and then came back able to see. Praise the Lord!

Jesus helped His disciples catch a lot of fish, thus, meeting their economic problem. So don’t worry, Jesus is aware of the job you have and He is helping you too. Then Jesus cooked breakfast for His disciples. Can you imagine Jesus cooking breakfast? The disciples were fishing all night long but didn’t catch a thing. Jesus approached them and asked, “Hey, how is it going?” They replied, “Nothing good.” He invited them, “Come here!” They came near and saw that He had already cooked some fish. “Take a seat, let’s have a meal!” It’s amazing.

Remember Jesus walked on the water and His disciples got scared when they saw Him? It says they screamed. When a person is terrified he shouts at the top of lungs. They were horrified when they saw Jesus walking on the water. It was at night, in the middle of the sea, where to escape? Jesus didn’t want His disciples to be afraid, He cared about their mental health so He calmed them down, “Hey, it’s me, relax, everything is fine!” I am wondering had you had the ability to walk on the water how would you feel? For instance, you are walking on the water at night and there are some fishermen in a boat. You might like to have fun and intimidate them approaching from one side, then from the other… Jesus is amazing! He thinks of everyone.

John 21:6 tells about the haul of fish, John 21:9 about breakfast.

Jesus had a private house (Matthew 9:1). Somebody says that Jesus was always on the go and He had no possession. That’s not true. He had a house where He came back after all crusades and other trips. Jesus hung around with people; He was a friendly fellow who made friends with different people:  tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 9:10). Believe it or not His holiness didn’t prevent Him from having relations with those people. Thieves, liars, adulterers and fornicators etc. are those from whom people prefer to stay away.

Jesus used everyday examples in His sermons: patches, wineskins.

Mark 2:21:

No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse. 

Probably when Jesus was a child He saw it happen: a patch sewed onto an old cloth soon tore away.

It also impresses me when Jesus said to a person He had healed, “Go home!” It greatly amazes me. Matthew 9:6: He healed a paralyzed man and said, “Go home!” Jesus imagined that person would return back home and his wife and children would meet him. He didn’t say, “Well, now you are healed so stay here and do what I tell you.” Jesus never manipulated anyone. He simply gave His love away. And that drew people to Him.

Jesus took care of His mother (John 19:26). Even hanging on the cross He expressed a son’s affection and said to John, “She is now your mother, take care of her!”

Jesus suffered many troubles while living on the earth. Recall His childhood. You do remember that He was born in a barn. He was born in a village. You might be born in a village and you think, “No one knows my village. No one knows me.” Don’t be sad, Jesus also came from the village. He lived in Nazareth of which people said, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Jesus took up His residence there. Wherever you live, it might be a pretty bad place, don’t be discouraged, Jesus knows how it feels.

Jesus died and was put into a grave. He didn’t live in perfect conditions: He suffered thirst and hunger. He was acquainted with a desert where Satan tempted Him. Imagine Him picking up brushwood and spinning a stick to make fire to get warm. He was not an illusionist who would say a word and things happen, for example, fire would kindle itself. He might have just started the fire and begun to fan the flame when all of a sudden rain started; everything got wet and wouldn’t burn. Jesus didn’t make it dry miraculously. He got wet as well and maybe even his teeth chattered. He might be looking for a dry place to hide, under a rock or in a cave. This is the way He was as the Son of man.

Jesus was acquainted with temptation. Satan brought His way everything our flesh can be tempted by. The Scripture says Jesus was tempted in all ways. You also might be going through the time of trials and thinking, “This temptation makes me crazy! I just can’t stand this strong desire.” Jesus knows it all; He also was tempted.

Jesus did what He didn’t have to do. For instance, He didn’t have to be baptized by John the Baptist. John said, “How can I baptize You? I need to be baptized by You.” Jesus replied, “No, no! It is proper for us to do this.” Jesus submitted Himself where He didn’t have to do it. What does it say? Jesus is our example and you should never grumble but remember that Jesus walked this way and overcame!

As a man Jesus got tired (John 4:6). Once He sat down by the well to take a rest and a Samaritan woman came to draw some water. Jesus had a talk with her. Do you remember? Once Jesus got weary and fell asleep in a boat (Matthew 8:23). Can you imagine how tired and worn out He was that He fell asleep right in the middle of a storm? I recall Pasha and I were caught by a storm while sailing on the Baltic sea. Words can’t describe it. How can you sleep when the waves actually wash over the whole ship? In such moments fear grips you. But Jesus got so exhausted that He fell asleep in the middle of the storm. As you can notice He was familiar with all the variety of human experiences and feelings.

Jesus knows what it is to be afraid. He says continuously, “Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid!” He experienced fear and acted watchfully when, for example, the Jewish leaders were looking for a way to kill Him (John 7:1). He warns us to be on guard. For instance, He warns those who are being persecuted, “When you are being persecuted run for shelter in another city. Be wise! Your time hasn’t come yet, don’t crash ahead!”

His siblings didn’t believe His words because they knew He was a man, “What are you telling us? We know you well!”

It’s written that Jesus had no education. This morning I read the passage where the Jews were amazed and said, “How does He come to know the Scripture, when He never went to school?” He was their neighbor so they knew it. Jesus was not as Pharisees who studied, studied and studied somewhere. You might have problems in school, don’t worry, Jesus knows it all. But He will give you wisdom. Amen.

Jesus hid himself from enraged Jews (John 8:59). To put it in a simple way, Jesus just ran away from them. We’re used to thinking that He walked with an air of importance slowly carrying Himself and the ends of His robe waved in the wind. In contemporary movies about Jesus Christ actors present Him in this manner. But here He hid Himself and surely could run away quickly if it was necessary.

Some called Jesus a sinner (John 9:24). Has somebody called you a sinner?

Jesus was troubled (John 12:27) and He expressed His anxiety. Do you remember in Gethsemane Jesus asked His disciple, “Stay with me!”?

Jesus faced inconveniences. “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20). There were times in His life when He had no place to stay for a night. He faced hardships. He shows that life is not only about good times. You may face bad times as well.

Jesus knew mockery (Matthew 9:24). Many passages say that people laughed at Him. Has somebody ever laughed at you? How do you feel when somebody laughs at you? You want to run away; you don’t like to hear somebody mocking you. Jesus was rejected numerous times.

Once after a sermon a group of people approached me. Normally people come up and say, “Hello, pastor!” But those guys approached me with straight faces and all were looking at me. I stretched my hand and said, “Hello! How do you do?” They neither shook my hand, nor greeted me. I repeated, “Hey, hello!” One of them made a reply, “The Bible says not to greet such people like you are.” I was shocked and felt very uncomfortable. Then another one said, “You got offended I can tell.” I said, “Yes, sure.” He went on, “What a Christian you are if you get offended?” Right there I was thinking, “Where are our ushers? Let them deal with them. I am going home.” It seems Jesus felt this way many times. You want to run away in moments like that.

Jesus was upset and disappointed. 

Matthew 11:21:

Wo to thee, Chorazin! wo to thee, Bethsaida! because, if in Tyre and Sidon had been done the mighty works that were done in you, long ago in sackcloth and ashes they had reformed

Doesn’t it disappoint you when you minister to someone and think that he should turn to the Lord, you pray for him but he turns out to be so stubborn and tough. It makes you frustrated and you think, “Lord, I have been praying…” Jesus knows how it feels.

Not everywhere Jesus was welcomed. One time (Matthew 8:34) the whole city came out to meet Jesus and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts. Imagine, the entire city demands, “Depart from us! Depart from us!” He was rejected.

Friends, how everything I have told can help us? Here’s how it helps me. Whenever I am finding myself in the middle of hardships the Holy Spirit always reminds me of the human nature of Jesus Christ and everything He went through. Comforting my heart the Holy Spirit says, “Not only you were rejected, your Lord was as well.” You may not hear a voice but a Bible story would come to your mind where Jesus dealt with the situation similar to the one you are going through. And His example brings comfort to your heart. You are not alone; you are not the first who has to walk this road. It’s as if you are living the life of Jesus. The Apostle Paul said, “I want to comprehend His suffering! I want to suffer with Him that I may be also glorified with Him.” That implies that Jesus was where you are walking now and He made His way through it. Where does He lead you? He leads you to share His glory.

In the end I would like to read a story I have even included in my book “You will live forever”.

Suffering Savior.

In the 60s of the last century a famous Christian author wrote a novel. The following is a brief summary of it.

At the end of times billions of people were called to come together on a wide plain before the throne of God. Most of them felt rather uncomfortable standing in the light coming from the throne of the Almighty. Though, several people at the front rows acted quite confidently: talking with animation and making a lot of noise. Clearly, they were a contentious group.

How can God judge us? Can He know what suffering is here? – snapped a brisk young brunette. Tearing open the sleeve of her dress, she bared her shoulder, showing a tattoo of a concentration camp prisoner’s ID.

We endured fear… beating… torture… death!

A man standing by unbuttoned his collar:

                Look at this! – he angrily said showing a rope print. – All my crime was that I was born black.

Staying at some distance a pregnant school girl with dimmed eyes murmured:

                Why should I suffer? I am not guilty of anything!

Here on the plain you could see many small knots of discontent people. Every one of them held a grudge against God for letting evil and affliction occupy His world.

“He is just fine,” – they thought, “He lives in Heaven where it’s light and warm; there are neither tears, nor fear, nor hunger, nor hatred. What could He possibly know about those sufferings people endure here in this world?! He enjoys total blessedness!”

Grumbling people split into groups and chose their representatives, those who suffered the most: a Jew, a black, a citizen of Hiroshima, a person crippled by arthritis and a child born with deformity. They came together in the middle of the plain for a discussion.

Finally, the crowd was ready to present their demands to God. They decided that before judging them God has to go through the same things they went through. God has to live on the earth as a man! May He be born as a Jew. May everyone doubt His legitimate birth. May His family consider Him out of His mind because of the business He does. May His closest friends betray Him. May He be falsely accused by His enemies and unfairly condemned by partial jury and a cowardly judge. May He be tortured. And finally, let everyone desert Him that He may experience complete loneliness. May He die in terrible torment. May no one doubt His death. May His death be observed by a big crowd…

While those people were voicing their demands a buzz of approval was rising up on every side. But the last cry followed by total silence. The whole congregation seemed to be stricken by an unexpected awareness after which no one could utter a word or move. Suddenly all people realized that God had already gone through all the suffering and torment they doomed Him to.

Jesus knows it all. Jesus has gone through it all. Wherever you are finding yourself in Jesus was there. 

Hebrews 12:3:

… consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 

Here is one more source of strength for our life. It’s when we look at the One Who went ahead of us – on Jesus Christ, the Son of man, when we ponder on His life and affliction, on what He faced and went through and finally on those suffering He endured on the cross “lest you be wearied and faint in your minds”. Here is why souls get faint and weary: people don’t see the Son of man. They believe God is too far away in Heavens, He neither hears, nor sees us. No, He is right beside you. He became like you are. And He will remain this way. Jesus understands every tiny thing about you. He feels what you feel. Begin trusting Jesus. Begin to study His life and draw your strength from Him. Drawing from Him and getting deeper understanding of Who He is you will open up new reservoirs and will never faint. Open up this source and you will have enough to deal with your wife or husband and kids. You will have enough to deal with your relatives. You may have an evil boss. So you will have enough even for him. Whatever you are going through if you focus on Jesus you will have enough. Jesus is our source, our example. He is ever-living reservoir of love and patience. Everything that comes through the knowledge of Jesus Christ becomes available for us and turns into our everlasting heritage.

 

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