Gospel News · September - December 2015

who respond: ‘But could a man have done all
these things?’. They just can’t hack that Jesus,
Son of God, perfect human being... was truly
human, with a human mother and relatives.
And so they have stumbled off into various
wrong theories and theologies about Jesus to
try to rationalize and spiritually legitimise
their lack of faith in Him as a human person.
The early Christians must likewise have
struggled with the questions- how could a man
have done all this? How could this be true of a
man? Could one of us really have pulled this
off? And so in time, they took the easy way
out, flunked the issue, by deciding that Jesus
must’ve been God.
Likewise there is the challenge of the fact that
Jesus is explained in Scripture as our represen-
tative; but that requires a lot of faith from us,
and so Christianity generally has ditched that
demand and replaced it with a pagan notion
of substitution. Yet the Lord Jesus set us a
pattern- humiliation and suffering, followed
by glorification. Yet the common conception
of Jesus gets this all the wrong way around-
pre-existent glory in Heaven followed by
humiliation, then a return to glory. But the
Bible clearly teaches that the glory of the Lord
Jesus was earned, it was His reward, and we
with all our hearts say “Worthy is the lamb
that was slain!” to receive that glory- knowing
that we too have embarked upon a similar
path to glory, with every experience of humil-
iation in this life understood in that context.
Don’t underestimate the act of faith you have
taken in believing that the Lord Jesus was
indeed one of us, a man amongst men, with
our very same flesh, blood, and plasm… And
thinking about these things can make us start
to feel strangely uncomfortable. It’s perhaps
why so many of us find prolonged contempla-
tion of His crucifixion- where He was at His
most naked and most human- something we
find distinctly uncomfortable, and impossible
to deeply sustain for long. But only if we
properly have in balance the awesome reality
of Christ’s humanity, can we understand how
one man’s death 2,000 years ago can radically
alter our lives today. We make excuses for
ourselves: our parents were imperfect, society
around us is so sinful. But the Lord Jesus was
perfect- and dear Mary did her best, but all
the same failed to give Him a perfect
upbringing; she wasn’t a perfect mother; and
He didn’t live in a perfect environment. And
yet, He was perfect. This is why we find
sustained reflection upon His humanity so
challenging- for it bids us quit our excuses and
follow Him.
But His reality and humanity is also the
profoundest comfort. In his time of dying,
Stephen saw the Lord Jesus? standing? at the
right hand of God (Acts 7:55). But about 13
times in the New Testament, the point is made
that the Lord sits? there, unlike the Mosaic
priests who? stood? (Heb. 10:12). The Lord Jesus
was passionately feeling for Stephen; He stood
up, genuinely engaged with the situation on
earth and the life of His servant Stephen. And
He just as emotionally and passionately feels
for us in our struggles. This alone should lift
us out of the mire of mediocrity. Prayer will
have meaning and power. It won’t just be the
repetitious conscience-salver it can descend
into.? For we have in Heaven the Lord Jesus
interceding with the Father for us. His inter-
cession isn’t merely a disinterested translation
of our words from one language to another. His
intercession involves appealing to the Father
for us on His own agenda, seeing our needs
better than we do ourselves. Thus He prayed
for Peter, that Peter’s faith would not fail (Lk.
22:32)- at a time when Peter was assured that
such prayer was unnecessary. In our hard times
and low moments, we need to remember that
the Lord Jesus is passionately interested in us.
He is on our side. And He is now the King of
the cosmos. The King of the world… is our
friend. On our side. Truly nobody and nobody
can touch us without His express planning and
It can be that we are interested in the Bible
on an almost hobby level. Understanding
its background, fascination with its interpre-
tation, attendance at Bible study meetings
within a culture and ethos we find comfort-
able and have perhaps grown up with… this is
Editorial | Christ is Real