Human Just Like Us

I can understand that Jesus is our example in spiritual things,
but for day-to-day living, that just doesn’t make any sense.

My friend raised a good point.

After all, Jesus never had to deal with high school peer pressure. He never married or had the responsibility of raising children. He never experienced losing a job or having to look for work. He never had a serious illness. He never lived in a world shaped by the internet, social media, or air travel.

So how could Jesus possibly be our example for daily living?

Because in spite of the difference between Jesus’ world and our lives today, Jesus was human just like us. When he was born as a baby, he laid aside his divine power and his home in glory to take on all the limitations of being human.

Jesus experienced hunger and thirst. He faced temptation. He knew how it hurt to have family who didn’t support him and friends who betrayed him. He endured disapproval and criticism. He was often at odds with the religious establishment. He faced the death of a close friend. At times he felt discouraged and even abandoned by God. He knew suffering and death.

As Hebrews 4:15 says, in Jesus Christ:

we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.

The specific details of Jesus’ earthly life may be different from yours and mine, but by “being born in human likeness” (Philippians 2:7), Jesus fully shared our human existence and the human challenge of day-to-day living.

From Jesus, we can learn how to deal with criticism, what to do when friends betray us, how to face temptation, how to share God’s love with other people, and much more. His experience and teaching can inform all of our relationships–our spiritual relationship with God, certainly, as well as our human relationships with spouse, children, friends, co-workers, and other people in our lives.

Even where Jesus’ earthly experience differs from our own, his example can teach and challenge us.

To those who equate fulfillment in life with marriage, children, and owning a home, Jesus’ singleness and itinerant ministry demonstrate a different equation for success.

To those who place great value on being well-read, well-travelled, and well-rounded, Jesus’ single-minded sense of mission expresses a different sense of value.

To those who tend to reduce religion to defining and following a set of rules, Jesus’ example points beyond the letter of the law to include its spirit.

So yes, friend, Jesus is our example in spiritual things and for our earthly, day-to-day living.

Let us seek to follow Jesus, “the pioneer and the prefecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

 

Writing/Reflection Prompt: In what way(s) does Jesus’ example challenge you today?

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Categories: Spiritual Practice

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6 replies

  1. Thank you, April. Its so good to know that Jesus, in whom God in His fullness resided, was also human who personally experienced human limitations. Jake

  2. Jesus’ example challenges me much in every way. How could it be otherwise? By the age of 30 he was revealing God to us in his life and teaching–by the age of 30 I had just barely become aware that God in Christ was alive and still working in the world and in his people. At 70 I realize that I neither understand nor vaguely embody his love for others, and can’t imagine how to speak into peoples’ lives in the transformative way he did.

    • I love your description of how Jesus’ example is so beyond us. None of us are there yet and never will be in this life, yet the power of God transforms us “from one degree of glory to the next degree of glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

  3. Yes, we can debate all day about the extent of Jesus’ humanity and whether he COULD have sinned or if it was not even a possibility, but we know that somehow he rode the bucking bronco of temptation to its mastery, resisted the siren call of popularity, and laid down ultimate power to live with us in the sin-stench of our world. He sets the bar too high for me to reach, but would I want to follow otherwise?

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