Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Romans 15:5-6 "Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
In our last post, we considered how Jesus Christ provides for the Christian whenever they feel spiritually drained. We introduced this subject by first identifying the typical spiritual ailments that afflict all Christians. In this post we aim to explore how Christ has specifically provided for any Christian that has experienced what it is like to be spiritually, physically and emotionally drained.
1. Jesus' incarnation enabled Him to experience fatigue
Jesus did experience, as man, what is was like to get drained. In Luke 8:46 we read of the account where a woman with a severe hemorrhage sought Jesus for healing. She was crawling along the ground among the mob of people encircling Jesus. The woman desired to touch the hem of his robe. In Jewish culture it was common for the men to have tassels on their robes that symbolized the promises and commands of the Torah or God's law. As soon as the woman did this, Luke 8:46 tells us: “power went out from him to heal the woman”. Jesus sensed this "draining".
To remind the reader briefly: Jesus of Nazareth ever remained God. Isaiah 40:28 asserts that God never grows tired nor weary. Jesus of Nazareth ever remained the Divine Person of the Son. With that said, the reader must remember that from the moment He entered into the virgin's womb, the Holy Spirit joined a truly human nature to the Son of God - resulting in union of two natures within the Person of the Son. Henceforth, the Son of God could experience reality as both God and man. He never grew tired in His deity and yet, He would experience the fatigue of human existence as a man. The Lord Jesus Christ knew what it felt to pour out Himself for the sake of others.
2. Jesus became incarnate to model how getting alone with the heavenly Father will replenish the spiritual fuel-tank of the Christian
To cite one more example of Jesus' experience of being "drained", consider Mark 8:24. Mark 8:24 plainly states that Jesus was fast asleep in the bottom of a boat. The Son of God did experience fatigue as such experience touched His humanity.
Yet, we never once see Jesus get distressed, delay obedience nor get discouraged over fear that God may had somehow abandoned Him. As one writer has note:
"our Lord was often imposed upon by life, by people and by circumstance, yet, He never once was unsettled in His spirit."
Whenever Paul cites Jesus in Romans 15:3, He describes how Jesus "never pleased Himself". Jesus willing took whatever this world and humanity threw at Him. He put Himself last. Is it no wonder we find Jesus retreating in solitude to get recharged with the Father (see Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; 6:12). Such an example set before the Christian by the Lord Jesus portrays the path to replenishment - namely finding time alone with God.
Most certainly, other important disciplines are needful for replenishment, which the Apostle Paul lays out in Romans 15 (meditating on scripture, making time for God's people and majoring on the Holy Spirit's leadership). Yet, Jesus gives us the foundation for refueling the spiritual tank of the Christian-life - time alone with God. Why? All the other Christian disciplines are but means to this singular goal of knowing the Heavenly Father through the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. Jesus became incarnate to provide the Christian what they need whenever they get drained
The Apostle Peter's sermon on the life of Jesus in Acts 10 gives abundant testimony of all that Jesus did in the course of His earthly ministry in the Gospel accounts. Acts 10:38 records an excerpt from that address:
"You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him."
Jesus went about "doing good". Jesus went about "healing all who were oppressed by the devil". Yet, in the midst of all the business of ministry and life, Jesus never lost His sense of the presence of the Father. Whenever a Christ-follower is able to walk-about with that supreme awareness of God's working in and through them, others will take notice. With the work of ministry and the involvement of one's soul in communion with God comes the draining of one's physical body. Jesus never let the work of God take priority over His time-alone with God. Jesus would get drained - but never empty.
By becoming truly man, the Son of God provided the resources every Christian can access in living daily for Him. The Apostle Peter describes the Christian's access to the benefits accrued by Christ in His incarnation as that of "partaking" or "participation" in the Divine nature (compare 2 Peter 1:3-4). Paul uses different terms to describe this availability every Christian has to get refueled in their spiritual walk by the vocabulary of "union with Christ" and "drinking in of the Spirit" (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-13).
The Person of the Son will ever have residing in Himself the two natures of true deity and true humanity. The wonder of the Christian in union with Jesus is that all He is and all He did makes me a beneficiary of all I need to live out effectively for Him in this world. Quite literally, I'm living the Christian life as Christ, in-turn, by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, lives out the life in me (see Galatians 2:20).