Aftermath

Posted on 01. Oct, 2011 by in Faith, Regarding Jesus

     

I have been struck lately by the reality of the gospel, specifically the birth, life and death of Jesus, and exactly what that all means.  I think it is easy, having grown up in a religious environment, to take these things for granted, and not grasp the depth of what those actions meant, and what they speak regarding the character of our Lord Jesus.  As I have read Hebrews lately the Holy Spirit has begun revealing these things to me on a more real level, and I felt the need to write about it.  I title this post “Aftermath” because a song by this same name, by Hillsong United, really says it all, and to me has been a powerful expression of these truths.  I will do my best in this article to convey the depth of what this has come to mean to me.

    “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.” (Hebrews 1:1–4, NASB95)

“And, “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands; They will perish, but You remain; And they all will become old like a garment, And like a mantle You will roll them up; Like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.”” (Hebrews 1:10–12, NASB95)

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” (Colossians 1:15–18, NASB95)

As these passages make obvious, Jesus is the central character in the history of mankind.  Obviously, He is God.  He is supreme.  He is almighty.  He is…..more than we can even describe using words!  He is awesome and awe-inspiring!

And yet there is another word that describes Him:  humble.  This seems like a simple concept.  After all, humility is a good thing, and therefore Jesus must be humble, right?  But when we really examine what the scriptures describe about Jesus it really hits home in a very powerful way.

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:5–7, NASB95)

The word “grasped” is key here.  The greek word is harpagmos1, and it indicates the holding on to of an object by force.  In this case, we can understand it two ways.  Before His incarnation, Jesus did not consider His equality with God as something to hold onto with force.  Therefore He was willing to lay it aside to accomplish the salvation of mankind.  After His incarnation, Jesus did not consider His equality with God something to be asserted, or forcibly grasped, although He could have easily called down all of heaven’s angels to save Himself.  Instead He lived out His humanity to its completion.

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:10, NASB95)

“I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,” (2 Samuel 7:14, NASB95)

“Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,” (Hebrews 5:8–9, NASB95)

The language used in the three verses above speaks of the utter extent to which Jesus became a man.  He was associated with iniquity, requiring correction from the “rod of men” in 2 Samuel, and in Hebrews 2 he needs perfecting through suffering.  Finally in Hebrews 5 He “learns” obedience.  Obviously Jesus never did commit iniquity, nor did he need perfecting in the way we generally think of it.  He lived a sinless life.  Nevertheless, He took on our sin and iniquity to such a degree that He BECAME sin.  See 2 Corinthians 5:21 below:

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NASB95)

Jesus BECAME our sin, so that we might BECOME His righteousness.  What a trade, and what pure humility and love Jesus must have had in order to be willing to carry out that transaction.  It defies logic, it defies understanding, it just does not compute, unless we understand WHY He was willing to do it:  because He did not count equality with God something to be gasped, i.e. He had the most extreme humility creation has ever seen.  We would do well to walk after Him in this respect, considering others interests above our own, trusting in our Father to protect His interest in us.  This is how Jesus walked, and Hebrews 1:3-4 and 2:7-8 give brief descriptions of the end result for Jesus:

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.” (Hebrews 1:3–4, NASB95)

“You have made him for a little while lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And have appointed him over the works of Your hands; You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.” (Hebrews 2:7–8, NASB95)

These are but two verses out of many that describe Jesus’ reward for sacrificing Himself for the good of mankind.  Even in this, however, Jesus maintained His humility, as seen in the next verse,

So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”; just as He says also in another passage, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”” (Hebrews 5:5–6, NASB95)

We see that Jesus humbled Himself, and then was glorified by the Father.  When Jesus came to earth He understood the legal ramifications of His action.  He understood the old testament types and shadows, and knew that His actions would abolish the old priesthood, leaving Him in its place.  In spite of this, He still didn’t claim it as His own, but rather allowed the Father to give it to Him.  There are no presumptions, even when presumptions could’ve been easily taken.

Finally, having given His life for us, and taken His position as our faithful High Priest, He takes it to one greater level, counting us as His brethren.

For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, “I will proclaim Your name to My brethren, In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.” And again, “I will put My trust in Him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me.” Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:11–18, NASB95)(emphasis mine).

Jesus, this indescribable, timeless being, this King of Kings and Lord of Lords, this omniscient and omnipotent Savior, is not ashamed to call me His brother?  The one whose sins He carried as His own at Calvary He wants to call brother?  Wow!  Again, a thought that just blows my mind!  At every turn Jesus blows me away, and I know I’m just scratching the surface of who He really is.  It also speaks to the degree to which His sacrifice has affected me, the degree to which He has cleansed me (i.e., killed me, and raised me up in Him).  In reality, the person whose sins He died for no longer lives (Galatians 2:20), but instead He lives on in me, and the life that I now lead I lead in Him, by faith in Him.

So, what is my response to this self-sacrificing, humble, unassuming Savior?  The end of “Aftermath” says it best:

Now all I have I count it all as loss

But to know You, to carry the cross

Knowing I’m found 

In the light of the aftermath

(Follow these links for the song and the lyrics.)

These lines speak to Philippians 3:7-11

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:7–11, NASB95)

All I can do in response to His love is continue to carry my cross, to die to myself, so that I can gain more and more of Him.  I want this person, this Jesus.  I want ALL of Him.  In me.  Father grant me the ability and grace to continue dying to self, so that I may attain to the resurrection of Jesus more and more each day.

Bibliography

1.  Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (V 1, p 583). New York: United Bible Societies.

2 Responses to “Aftermath”

  1. akaGaGa 16 October 2011 at 9:32 am #

    A few years ago, I went through a similar stage of growth, praying to die to self. During that time, I wrote a song based on Philippians, which I later recorded by request for a close friend who was moving out of state. I’m not a great singer or guitar player, and the recording quality isn’t great, either, but if you’re interested, send me your email and I’ll send you the recording. You’d be one of only a handful who have heard it.

    • Mark 7 January 2014 at 9:50 pm #

      akaGaGa,

      If you read this, I apologize it took so long to respond. I have been absent from this blog for awhile, and never saw your comment. I would love to hear your song if you still want to send it.


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