“If you want to know what the full potential of your life can be, look at Jesus. All that he did during his earthly ministry was done through reliance upon the Holy Spirit. That means we can imitate his example.“ ~ Ray Hollenbach
Yep, I just quoted myself. There’s no better way to underscore one of the central passions of the Students of Jesus blog: if we fail to embrace the humanity of Jesus (along with his God-nature) we are sure to to fall short of our calling to become conformed to his image. For example, have you ever considered the possibility that Jesus himself depended upon the Father’s grace day-to-day?
Our modern, limited view of grace is directly attributable to the separation we see between Jesus and us. We have been schooled regarding his divinity but the lessons stop with respect to his humanity. Without putting it into so many words, we see Jesus cruising through the challenges of everyday life with the ease of walking on water.
Perhaps we are able to recognize the human side of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, where he cries out in anguish because of the task ahead. We understand the fear of suffering and the desire to avoid it. We understand why Jesus would say, “Father take this cup from me . . . “ but we have no idea how the grace of God helped Jesus to develop into the kind of person who could also say, “ . . . yet not my will, but yours be done.”
If our view of God's grace is limited to receiving forgiveness, Jesus cannot be our model for how to receive grace, live in grace, and depend upon grace. Who taught Peter, John, Paul and countless other believers how to live the kind of grace-filled life we see in Acts and the history of the church? How does grace apply to everyday life in a manner that we are conscious of the supply and know how to use it?
If the grace of God is shortened to mean only forgiveness, we are forever trapped in a cycle of sin and grace and more sin again. Where do we see that cycle in the life of Jesus? We cannot see it because it is not there. What is there for us to see is grace in operation when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, when he wept at the tomb of Lazarus, even when he angrily drove the merchants from the Temple. He is our model for the operation of grace in times of testing, in sorrow, and in every human emotion we face. He said "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and lived a self-controlled, upright and godly life in this present age. He can be the author of such grace toward us, because what he has received he freely shares.