Great night last night with the Calvary Chapel Bible College Chapel Band. We also continued our study of why Jesus matters, and what he shows us about God, humanity and life–this time by looking specifically at what he shows us about humanity. Here are the notes:
Intro: Jesus, the image of God, and what a human really is.
Jesus is the true Image of God: Hebrews 1:1-3, Colossians 1:15
Humans are made in the image of God: Genesis 1:26
We are being conformed into the image of the son: Romans 8:28-29, 2 Corinthians 3:18-6, 1 Corinthians 15:49
Looking at these scriptures, we can see that something about who Jesus is (as the incarnate Son of God) is fundamental to what it means to be human. In some way, who we were originally created to be is related to how Jesus as the Son is related to the Father. He is the image of God, and we are created according to the image of God. Possibly this means that we as humans are originally patterned after, not simply God, but God the Son. We were meant, on this earth, to image the Son’s place in the Godhead: to exercise rule over creation according to the will of the Father. This is part of what Jesus came to restore: the place of humanity both in its relation to God and its relation to creation.
So we put these facts together: The Son is the perfect image of the Father. Human beings were made in the image. Then, after sin has separated human beings from God, the Son comes as a human being. So when the Son, who is the image of God comes to be one of us, who are made in the image of God, we have this amazing opportunity to see what it meant for him to be human—and also (then) to see what it means for us to be human. Because when the perfect image of God comes and lives a life that perfectly pleases his Father, we can look at him and say, this is what a human is supposed to be!
This is important because we often get tempted to read about Jesus and think, “well, he’s God, so this doesn’t really apply to me.” And there are some parts of who Jesus is that operate this way. (Like his ability to control the weather, walk on water, or raise the dead, for instance.) But there are many parts of his life that we should probably see as just simply humanity as it was meant to be.
What Jesus shows us about what it means to be human.
Jesus shows us a humanity that is:
- Led by the Spirit. (Luke 4:1, Romans 8:14)
- Not defeated by sin. (Luke 4:1-13, Romans 6:14)
- Totally free (from constraint, from anxiety, from compulsion—doing what he wants) (John 10:17-18, 14:31, John 8:31-36, Galatians 5:1)
- ..and yet, totally submitted to the will of the Father (John 4:34, 6:38, Mark 3:35)
- ..because he was in constant communion with the Father. (John 11:41-42, Romans 8:9, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Hebrews 13:5)
- Living with purpose (Luke 19:10, John 18:37, John 17:18)
- Knowing its future (Matthew 25:31-32; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:5)
This is not the whole story, but it is a beginning glimpse of who and what we were meant to be. By living as a real man, in our world, the Son of God showed us what humanity is supposed to be—in other words, he was displaying the image we were made in. He also showed us the pattern we are being conformed to now and for the future. His life is a picture of who and what God is making us to be. We are being shaped into this same image—we’re being made into this kind of human. And, since this kind of human is the true intention for humanity, you could say that we’re being made more truly human. You could also say that to move away from this picture of humanity Jesus showed us, to reject Jesus as the true Man, and to become some other kind of human, is to actually degrade our own humanity and choose something that is less than human. (No leading of the Spirit; no spiritual life in them; defeated and enslaved to sin; bound by all kinds of outer constraints and inner anxieties; totally out of step with God and not doing his will; no communication with God; living without a true, transcendent purpose; totally unaware of eternal things or the future in store for the world and humanity.)
Jesus came to be what we never were, and to open the doorway for us to become what we were meant to be. He lived it out, and then died as if he hadn’t lived it, in our place, and then rose again to proclaim forgiveness for all our falling short and a new life for anyone who would believe.
In all of this, Jesus shows us a picture of God’s love—God is not the kind of God who would make us and then just throw us away as soon as we ruined ourselves. Instead, he was willing to go all the way to becoming one of us, to live and die as a human, in order to bring payment and forgiveness for the things that we ruined ourselves with, to show us and empower us to regain what we lost as a race, and to enable us to enjoy his good plan for us as individuals and as a human family.