For the benefit of some of our out-of-town friends that can’t make it to house church but want to know what we talked about… 🙂 …we’ve been discussing the idea of doing an online video summary. Something fun that condenses our complete discussion down to about 10 minutes or so. That’s still in the “thinking about it” stage, but we have the technology. The Director (my son) is standing by. But for now, I thought I’d start the ball rolling with a blog summary from time to time of what we talked about in house church the previous Sunday.
THE INCARNATE CHRIST
We have talking about the humanity of Christ, how so many of us acknowledge that Jesus was “fully God and fully man”, yet we act more on the “fully God” part than the “fully man” part. When we treat Jesus as purely divine, He is only one to be worshiped from afar, but not really followed. We can excuse ourselves from doing what He did by saying in our hearts, “Well, that was JESUS.” We act as though the “Son of God” thing gives Him an unfair advantage. But He did everything He did on earth as a human being–and in doing so, He set an example for us. It is Jesus’ humanity, not His divinity, that challenges us to live as He lived.
It is Biblically true that Jesus was sinless, and I guess you could put it that He did not have a sin nature; but He absolutely did have a human nature. At the very least, He was like Adam was before he fell (the “second Adam”). Which means Jesus was human. Which means that even though He didn’t sin–He was absolutely capable of doing so. He just didn’t.
We talked about when Jesus preached in His hometown in Matt. 13:53-58, and the townspeople were offended at His apparent claims to be a prophet (“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?”). But we have to consider that, as Michael Frost in his book Exiles points out, Jesus lived as God incarnate in the town of Nazareth for 30 years, and nobody noticed. In other words, Jesus was so normal growing up that nothing identified Him as particularly separate from the pack. This messes with my lifelong image of the boy Jesus as a model kid who floated an inch off the ground, spoke with reverb on His voice, and never ever pranked anyone. Jesus was sinless; but He was normal. He was able to live perfectly incarnate in our world without being tainted by the sin around Him.
We talked about John 1:14: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory…” We talked about how we cannot separate the “becoming flesh” part of that statement from the “glory” part. In other words, the glory of God wasn’t being revealed through Jesus’ divine nature, but from His human nature. And that’s how it should be for us; imperfect though we may be, God desires that others would see His glory in our very human lives.
We finished by saying that Jesus’ coming as one of us is a model for ministry for us–something that people call “incarnational ministry”. We have exalted ministry to an institution rather than a function, and we need to re-think this, as well as our methods. We don’t need a business card and a brochure in order to minister. Ministry can come naturally as we live in this world and among our culture. We challenged ourselves to look for ways to be more incarnational in our approach to ministry, to live among people and be in relationship with them, and let the love of God come through those relationships.
So that’s the summary of what happened Sunday. Sorry if I bored you. 🙂