Jesus and humanity

The most commonly used term that Jesus used when he was referring to himself was ‘Son of Man.’ Within that title is a rich tapestry of the prophetic journey of God’s people. (Son of man was used by God when in conversation with the prophets in the Old Testament.) But why did Jesus use this reference when he was in conversation with the crowds and the disciples? The answer is… humanity.

OK. Before we proceed, I am not about to start making a claim for humanism!

In the beginning, the fall came through the disobedience of humanity. And so, when God had redemption in mind, he also needed to enter into the confusion, depravity and fallen-ness of humanity, in order to recreate the created order.

Do you remember the story where Jesus comes to John the Baptist for baptism? Jesus didn’t need a baptism because He was without sin.* However, in order for ‘all righteousness to be fulfilled,’ Jesus had to identify with the sins of humanity. He had to fully enter into our condition, taking on our fallen condition. Jesus went down into the water, and as he came out, the Father’s pleasure was revealed.

He then ministered out of his humanity. He emptied himself of everything he knew, becoming like a servant, and learned to live by the Spirit (as humanity) and live in the power of the Spirit. He healed out of his humanity, he delivered demons out of his humanity, he performed miracles out of his humanity. He wept out of his humanity. He went through the agony of scourging, mocking, derision, beatings and crucifixion, through his humanity, to redeem humanity…

And as humanity Jesus died death to destroy the power of death, defeat the dominion of darkness, and to finally, put a nail in the coffin of sin and the evil one.

Now, what happened in the temple at this point is extremely important: The curtain ripped from top to bottom… The Father’s presence was no longer in the Holy of Holies. But was about to be with humanity again. The curtain represented the law. The law, or the knowledge of good and evil, where man first decided to go it alone, had lost its power. Jesus, as humanity, decided to live out his life in obedience to God. He fulfilled the demands of the law, the curse that humanity was subject to and opened again an intimate union between God and us.

The 1st Adam lived in disobedience, destined to live under a curse and a slave to sin. The 2nd Adam, Jesus, lived in obedience, relying fully on the wisdom of His Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit… a life of blessing and rest.

The created order, cursed by the fall from humanities disobedience, was recreated so we can choose a life of rest and joy in the Father’s presence…

How does the humanity of Jesus transform your understanding of life in the Spirit today?

God bless you

Oliver

*Remember baptism is about repentance. And repentance is about sin.

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Midwives of the Spirit

As a father, awaiting the birth of our 3rd child, I was naturally surprised by the importance of the midwives in Exodus chapter 1.

Many of you will know the story of how the Jewish nation was exploding in population within the confines of slavery and suffering. Their growth was so epic that the Pharaoh was scared. He ordered the death of all of the Hebrew sons. But the midwives took a stand. They loved God more than they wished to obey the command of a tyrent.

It struck me in this story that it was the midwives Pharaoh spoke to. What about the elders? Where’s the chain of command here? It turns out that in ancient Egyptian culture birth was seen as a supernatural event. An interaction between the spirit world and the natural world. And so the role of the midwives was of the utmost importance. They were seen as spirit aids.

It occurred to me that, as followers of Jesus, our role is similar to those Hebrew midwives. We are called to make disciples, aiding people into a new birth experience, (born again as Jesus says). Our role is to hear what the Spirit is saying, convey that message, so that those receiving the good news will be born into their true identity as children of God. Remember it is the Holy Spirit who is the evangelist. We are the midwives. There to support the Holy Spirit bring about new birth. We simply encourage, pray and teach the message of Jesus and the Holy Spirit brings about the new birth.

Who has God laid on your heart that you are spiritually midwiving towards the Kingdom of God today?

God bless you

Oliver

The Colour of Glory

In January I felt God was laying on my heart a calling to be creative. We are all created by God. He is a Creator. We are made in His image and therefore, we too, are creators.

The call to be creative (not necessarily arty!) is a call designed to bring colour and beauty, not just to our lives, but to those around us also. A life lived out as a life of blessing.

The above painting originally began as an idea or a phrase from Hebrews Ch.1. ‘The Son reflects the Father’s glory.’ When you read the gospels you see Jesus living a life in FULL colour. It’s a life of creativity, healing, love and, ultimately, a true representation of what God is really like.

Often we get the impression from law keeping Christianity, or ‘don’t do that’ Christianity, that life is drab and, to live it out properly, you need to tow the line and live out the right rules…

But God’s glory, revealed in His Son, expressed in grace is vibrant and filled with beauty and colour. It’s like a wild party (without the hedonism!) filled with party streamers, carnival parades and exuberant praise!

The wonder of Gods glory, revealed in Jesus, is FULL of colour.

Ask God today how you are called to be creative: at work, with a paintbrush, in the kitchen, at school… Or wherever else His feet, in yours, takes you!

Blessings Oliver

Invitation into the deep

Into the Deep

Above is a painting I felt led to paint earlier this year. These are the words I felt Abba Father gave me to go with it…

I stand on the shoreline of God’s grace. Before me stretches the vastness of God’s reckless, raging, furious love. Mercy calling out to me, ‘Come deeper my child, come deeper.’ The gentle shoreline is lapped by inviting waves of mercy. I hesitate – too afraid to launch out. It’s so enticing. It’s intriguing. It’s energetic. His mercy calling out again and again, with each wave gently lapping at my feet. I breathe in deep, resolved to launch out into the deep. There I will find my Father. There I will increase my capacity to experience love and give love. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale… let go. I dive forward into the vast ocean of grace, mercy and love. Conquered by a tender love, a love I have never known. It soothes me, refreshes me, calms me, drives fear away until I realise, I have become one with the sea and the sea is one with me… like I had never been paralysed on the shoreline but as though I was made for the waters of grace. Mercy is my position. Love is my life vest. Grace is the deep… my Father’s delight, my Father’s pleasure.

Is the deep of God’s mercy, grace and reckless, raging, furious love calling out to you today? Why not dive in and see where the current takes you?

Blessings

Oliver