The Reality of His Humanity

Scripture: John 1:14, 1 Timothy 3:16, Galatians 4:4
Date: 04/19/2008 
Lesson: 3
That God would become human and take our sinful nature has caused controversy with individuals and within the church since the apostolic days.
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Good morning. Happy Sabbath. We're so glad that you are joining us for another "central study hour," coming to you from Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento, California. Welcome. And we just want to welcome those of you who are watching -weeks delayed on the various television networks, listening on the radio this morning, or watching live on the internet at saccentral.

org, from all over the country and around the world, we are glad that you are gonna sing with us this morning and study for our lesson study. Our first request has come from several different places. And you'll find this on 460 in your hymnal as "water to the thirsty" 460. This is from stephanie in australia, athena in england, joy in vietnam, metia in fiji, reginald, gillian, kelsey, and Samuel in germany, mary in Oregon, beverly in Alaska, sharon in florida, charles in Maine, jason in Idaho, and Mark in Washington, , all 3 verses. That might have been new for some of you, but it is a beautiful song.

And we're so glad that you wrote in with that request. For those of you who have written in, and I know there's many of you who have favorites, and I know you have more. And those of you who haven't, you can sing along with us each week if you go to our website at, click on the music link, and send in your favorite requests. And we will sing those for you. Our opening song this morning is a huge favorite.

It's 108, and that is "amazing grace" 108. And this comes from edith in romania, josh in england, tony in Canada, marcello in brazil, melvin in norway, ollie in malawi, gemina in ghana, lois in Arizona, Mark in Alabama, patricia in California, yezeb and elben also in California, and roley, Matthew in Hawaii, grace in tennessee, jerry in Minnesota, tina in Montana, and kevin, who is 10 years old, in South Carolina. And he says that he watches our programs on Sabbath afternoon with his gram. So Happy Sabbath to kevin and his grandma. And then also from molly in Iowa.

And she said she'd like to dedicate this song to her nurse, jill scott, who lost her -year-old cousin ashley. And this is her favorite song. So for those that wrote in with this, we will sing "amazing grace." We'll do verses 1, 2, 4, and 5, 108. Thank you so much for sending in your requests. And at this time, let's bow our heads for prayer.

Father in Heaven, we thank you so much for your amazing grace, for being with us through this past week, for giving us another Sabbath that we can come together and worship you. And I know that there's many people that aren't here today, and I pray that you'll be with them. Be with those that are. And be with our extended family in a special way. There's many that are hurting, that have lost loved ones.

And I pray that you'll put your loving arms around them and give them comfort at this time. And may they just know that you love them and that you're with them no matter what they're going through. And be with our speaker this morning. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our youth pastor here at Sacramento central church, pastor steve allred.

Happy Sabbath. Our free offer this morning is offer number 703, offer 703. And the little book is entitled "Christ's human nature." So you can call in to the number on your screen. And ask for offer number 703, "Christ's human nature." It all started one Sunday morning as mike yankowski was sitting in church there in santa barbara, California, where he attended westmont college. The pastor that morning was giving a sermon about the Christian life.

And the subject of the sermon was something like, "be the Christian you say you are." And so suddenly mike recalls, "as I was sitting there, I was shocked to realize that I had just driven 20 minutes to church, passed the world that needed me to be the Christian I say I am, in order to hear a sermon entitled, 'be the Christian you say you are.' Soon," he said, "I would drive back past the same world to the privilege of my comfortable life on campus at a Christian college. Thinking ahead to my next week, I knew several things would happen. I knew I'd hear more lectures about being a caring Christian or living a Godly life, I'd read more books about who God is and what the world needs to know, I'd spend more time late at night down at a coffee shop with my friends kicking around ultimate questions and finely-tuned theories about the world. And then I'd jump into my warm bed and turn out the light, another day gone. But," he says, "we were created to be and to do, not merely discuss.

The hypocrisy in my life troubled me. No, I wasn't in the grip of some rampant sin, but at the same time, for the life of me I couldn't find a connecting thread of radical, living, obedience between what I said about my world and how I lived in it. And then," he says, "the idea came instantly, like a flash of lightening. It left me breathless. It changed my life.

" And here's what he thought. He thought, "what if I step out of my comfortable life? What if I step out of my life and depend on nothing but God and put my faith to the test alongside those who live with nothing every day?" And so for the next 5 months, that's exactly what mike did. He and another guy that he met not long after that, his name was sam, decided that they were going to become homeless. His parents were flabbergasted. "Why would you want to do that?" His father asked.

His friends were puzzled. And he even doubted himself. But in the end, everyone seemed to agree that it was a good idea. And so one day, mike and sam stepped out of his parents' car and officially became homeless. They had three objectives.

Number one: they wanted to better understand the life of the homeless in America, to see firsthand how the church is responding to their needs. Number two: to encourage others to live out loud for Christ, in whatever way God is asking them to do that. And three: mike says, "my third goal was to learn personally what it means to depend on Christ for my daily physical needs and to experience contentment and confidence in him." And so mike wrote down the experiences in the next months in this book right here, called "under the overpass: a journey of faith on the streets of America." Incredible story about how he and this other guy, sam, lived out there on the streets for those 5 months, actually went to 5 different cities around the country to see what it was like to experience this for themselves and to see if they could really put their faith to the test the way that they thought that they could. They wouldn't actually be homeless, of course, because any time they wanted to they could go to a pay phone and call up mom and dad and go home, right? Most homeless people don't have that option. But yet, they would experience homelessness.

They would only carry the bare essentials. They bought a sleeping bag at a thrift store for $3 and a backpack for $4. And that was it. No credit cards. No extra money.

No parachute. No plan in case they got a little desperate. They would panhandle for money. They would eat at rescue missions, out of garbage cans, sleeping outside or in shelters, and if you read the book--you have to read the book--they experienced the life that henry nowen said when he wrote, "Jesus promises--" listen to this, "a life in which we increasingly have to stretch our hands and be led into places where we would rather not go." But as I read mike and sam's story this last week, whether or not God is calling any of us to do the same thing is another question, it made me think though of someone else who approached his father with a radical and even more outrageous plan one day. You know who I'm thinking of? And it was Jesus who one day asked his father if he could journey to earth.

Yes, become homeless, right? If he could experience not just for a few years, but for eternity what it would be like to live as a human being. I wonder if his father had the same reaction as mike's parents. "Why would you want to do that?" Yet, in the end of course, we know that his father, it says, is the one who "loved the world, and he gave his only begotten son." And so today, we're going to be talking about--we've been talking about the wonder of Jesus, right? We've been talking about what he did for us. Today we're talking about the reality of his humanity. I want to read a little statement here.

It's actually on the first page of your lesson there, "the reality of his humanity" a little statement by Ellen white in the book, "first selected messages" page 244. It says, "when we approach this subject," this is a really-- I think it's a good place to start, it says, "when we approach this subject, we would do well to heed the words spoken by Christ to Moses at the burning bush," which were what? "Put off your shoes from off your feet, for the place whereon you stand is holy ground," right? And then she says, "we should come to this study with the humility of a learner." Amen? We really should. And so as we think about the humanity of Christ today, let's come with that attitude. Sunday's lesson, we'll start with that. Here we go.

I've got some Scriptures out here. Someone in a minute, we're going to let them read John 1:1 and 14. Who has that Scripture for us this morning? Over there, okay ray, just a second. First of all, I want to talk about this. "In presence of mystery," is the title of Sunday's section of the lesson.

If you really think about it, it defies all logic, doesn't it? And rational explanation. I mean how could God, who according to Isaiah 45:12, it says, "stretched out the heavens with his hands," right? He created the universe. He could--the Bible says, "all of the nations are like just a drop in a bucket to him. How could this God, who is that powerful, be shrunk down into the size of a fertilized egg in the womb of a young lady from nazareth? How could that happen? I mean it's just beyond our comprehension. And yet, somehow it did.

But probably the bigger question is why it happened. Why did Jesus do this? And so let's read it. John 1, ray read for us John 1, there in the new testament, John begins his Gospel with these powerful words, in verse 1. And then we'll go down to verse 14 and it even makes it more incredible. "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.

" "And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, and the glory as of the only begotten of The Father, full of grace and truth." Thank you. So here it is. "In the beginning was the word, and the word," according to verse 14, was the member of the Godhead who "became flesh." He became one of us. And not only did he become one of us, but he decided to live among us. This was the same God who created the world.

Let's go to Galatians 4. We have someone else with that Scripture out there. Galatians 4. And who has that one for us this morning? Okay. Galatians 4 and, if I can find it here, and verse 4.

Here we go. "But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his son, made of a woman, made under the law." Thank you. When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his son. I think if we were to actually stop and think about it, what we're talking about here today should just awe us and make us so amazed that we could think about it for eternity. In fact, I think we will be.

Let's go to Philippians now, just a few books towards the end of your Bible there from Galatians, Philippians 2, a really powerful passage and probably one of the most beautiful Scriptures on this topic in the Bible. Listen to what it says in verse 5. It says, "have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although he existed in the form of God, did not regard a quality with God a thing to be grasped." In other words, he already had it. He didn't need to grasp for it. But verse 7, "he emptied himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men.

Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." And for this reason it says, verse 9, "God highly exalted him and bestowed on him a name which is above every other name." Not only did he become a man, but the Bible says that, "he humbled himself to the point that he died the death of the cross." And so moving on to Monday's lesson, we know that Jesus came, right? His disciples, in fact, the people that knew him when he was on this earth, they even then asked the question, who is this man? The pharisees, remember Jesus would for example, the time that that one man was carried into him by his four friends. And Jesus told the man that his sins were forgiven, what did the pharisees say? They said, "who do you think you are? You're just a man and you're claiming to forgive this guy's sins," right? And so they would question his claim to divinity all the time, right? The disciples, on the other hand, knew there was something different about Jesus. I think the pharisees did too; they just didn't want to admit it. One time, as they were out on the lake, the waves had been crashing against the side of the boat and filling up their fishing boat with water. And they were scared.

And as they woke Jesus up there in Mark 4:41, the Bible says that he stood up and he simply said, "peace, be still." And suddenly everything was calm. And the disciples, you know what they said? They said, "what kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves and the sea obey him." They knew he wasn't just a regular person, right? Something was different about him. Simon Peter, when Jesus asked the disciples one day, he said, "who do you think that I am?" And Peter said, "you are the Christ, The Son of the living God," right? He knew who Jesus was. And yet, as Christianity grew, after Jesus had died and been buried and resurrected and gone back to heaven, as the Christian church grew into the second generation, people who hadn't met Jesus themselves began to ask questions about him, right? And they said, "wait a minute. I mean, you know, we know what Paul wrote.

And we know what Matthew and John, Mark, and Luke and those guys said about him, but come on. I mean how can divinity really cohabit with humanity? How can God actually live in human flesh?" And so various groups arose. In the lesson, they mentioned a few: the ebionites, they were a group that arose. I think they were a Jewish sect and they kind of got involved with Christianity. They opposed Jesus' divinity.

They said, you know, "he's not divine. He's only human." And later a guy named arius, he was a very--a church leader, he arose. And he eventually said that-- a bunch of his followers also agreed with him that Jesus, again, was not divine, he was just human. So the arians more radically asserted that he was just a man. On the opposing side of the spectrum were these people who were kind of hard to define, the gnostics.

If you study religious history, gnosticism was a very, kind of nebulous form of philosophy you could say, that it was a philosophical and religious movement that permeated the Greek or roman empire around the time, before the time of Christ as well as afterwards. And so as Christianity grew, some of these things began to creep into the church. Now here's what happened. In the philosophical thought of hEllenism, the Greek thinking, the idea that the divine, listen to this, can take on material substance and suffer the fate of material beings was foolishness. Remember what Paul said? "The preaching of the cross is to those that perish," what? "Foolishness," right? And the reason why is because the Greeks would say, "well, that's ridiculous.

How could God, you know, become something you could touch and feel? He's in the Spirit world. That doesn't make sense." And so the gnostics, they bought into this philosophy. They said, "you know what? Jesus wasn't really human. He just looked human." And there was this other philosophy--I'm kind of trying to build a foundation here--that came along. And it was called docetism.

And it basically said, it came from this Greek word that meant, "to appear," or "to seem." And so what they said is, "no, no, no, Jesus wasn't human. He just appeared human." He would kind of say some things and do some magic and look like he was human. And so they really opposed the fact that Jesus was actually human. And so that's why in 1 John, if you go to the book of 1 John here now towards the end of your Bible, almost to the book of Revelation when John was writing there in 1 John 4, he was trying to counteract some of this gnosticism that was creeping into the Christian church. So 1 John 4:1, he said, "beloved, do not believe every spirit, but," what? "Test the Spirits to see whether they are from God, because many," what? "False prophets are gone out into the world.

" Verse 2, "by this you know the Spirit of God," here we go, "every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God." But, "every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the Spirit of the antiChrist, which you have heard is coming, and is already in the world." So there were these people and John was like, "listen, don't buy into that philosophy." And so for the next few hundred years, for the next two or three centuries, the church was rocked with these controversies over the nature of Christ. You know, it's funny, we still discuss that today, don't we? But ultimately we could say orthodoxy prevailed. And the church came to a basic, the overall Christian church came to a basic agreement that Christ was, yes, human, and yes, divine. Exactly how all that worked together, still there's controversy over that, but everyone pretty much agrees about that, right? I want to read something from the book, "Desire of Ages.

" We're going to go on to Tuesday's lesson now. And we're talking about Jesus taking our nature, whatever that means, right? We're gonna find out from the Bible what the Bible is trying to tell us about this. "Desire of Ages," let me read something to you, page 49, it says, "Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by 4,000 years of sin." That's true, right? He was born to a human mother. "Like every child of adam, he accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity." And then it says, "what these results were is shown in the history of his earthly ancestors. And it's interesting that the Bible actually gives us those genealogies, right there in Matthew 1 and in Luke as well.

And so here we have Jesus, the one--and then it says, "he came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations and to give us the example of a sinless life." Jesus took our nature. And so what was it like being God in the flesh? What do you think? What was it like being Jesus? What was it like to come to this earth? It seems as he grew from a baby to a young man that the knowledge of who he was began to slowly form in his mind, right? It doesn't seem like he was necessarily at the age of years old running around and knew that exactly what his mission on earth was, but it began to grow. And by the time he was 12 years old there in the temple, he told his mother that he must be about his father's business. He knew what was going on, right? And so as his life progressed Jesus became aware of his mission in life. In fact, there's a verse in Hebrews, I think we're gonna read it later.

It says, "though he were a son, yet he learned," what? "Obedience by the things which he suffered," right? Remember that verse? So Jesus grew as we grow in many ways. Interesting. Here's some other things that he also experienced. Go to John 4, you know this passage, Gospel of John. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John chapter 4.

The story is Jesus sitting by a well. Let's start in verse 5, it says, "so he came to a city of samaria called sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. And Jacob's well was there. So Jesus, being," what? What does it say? You know, he didn't have any divine energy pills that he could pop in when he wanted to necessarily, did he? It wasn't like Jesus was somehow immune to the problems that we face as human beings. In fact the Bible says, what does it say? "So Jesus being," what? "Wearied from his journey, was sitting thus by the well.

It was about the 6th hour," about noon. Verse 7, look what it says, "there came a woman of samaria to draw water. And Jesus said to her," what? So Jesus experienced the physical feelings that we as human beings experience. He knew what it was like to be tired. He knew what it was like to be exhausted, apparently.

Remember that time that the Bible says he'd finished a day of teaching and healing and he got into the boat with his disciples and the Bible says he was so tired he, "slept through the storm," right? I mean, come on, you know, you've been on a boat before that's rocking back and forth like that. Jesus was tired. And here it says he asked her also for a drink. John 11, just a few chapters up, talks about some other emotions, some other human experiences that Jesus had. John 11 and let's see, let's look at verses 33 through 35.

The background of the story is that Jesus' friend, Lazarus, has just died. Jesus comes to see mary and Martha to comfort them. And as he's there, the Bible says that--actually let's start in verse 32. It says, "therefore, when mary came where Jesus was, she saw him, and she fell at his feet, saying to him, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn't have died.'" I mean, can you feel the emotion in her words? "Jesus, if you'd have just been here earlier, I wouldn't have had to go through this pain that I'm experiencing right now." And so look what it says. "When Jesus, therefore, saw her weeping, and the jews who came with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled.

And he said, 'where have you laid him?' And they said to him, 'Lord, come and see.'" And then what did Jesus do? He cried, "Jesus wept." Oh, we could talk about why he wept and the different reasons, but I think part of it must have been because he was sad. Do you agree? I think part of it must have been because as a human being, he must have experienced some of that, the ability to experience grief and to know what it was like to be in pain. The lesson, page 34 of your Sabbath school lesson, I like what it says. It says, "while on earth, Jesus voluntarily surrendered the independent exercise of the divine attributes." In other words, when he was tired, again, he couldn't just suddenly say, "you know," or at least he chose not to suddenly say, you know, "I'm just gonna fix it. And I'll make it so I'm not tired anymore.

" He surrendered. He did not relinquish. "The attributes reMained in him." This is interesting. "He could have used them at any time for his own advantage, but he did not. The temptation to call on these attributes to extricate himself from difficulty in ways not open to us was a major ingredient of his daily trials.

" That's interesting. So, Jesus, the one who experienced our pain. Wednesday's lesson actually, let's move on to that. It says that he felt our pain. Now they ask a question here.

And we're gonna look at a few Scriptures. I have a few out here, some folks ready to read Hebrews 2:9 and Hebrews 2:14-18 as well. But here's the question: the question is why did God need to come into the world in human flesh? Now we know that he did, but we're asking the question: why? Why did he do it? Why did he need to come? And the Desire of Ages, page 49, listen to what it says, "yet into the world where satan claimed dominion, God permitted his son to come, a helpless babe," just a baby, "subject to the weakness of humanity." He permitted him to meet life's peril in common with every human soul to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it at the risk of," listen to this, "of failure and eternal loss." Is that deep? Jesus risking eternally something, something that he would lose for eternity if he came to this world. And yet, he came with that risk involved when he came to this earth. Now we're asking the question: why did he need to come into the world in human flesh? Why? And I like what the lesson says.

It says, you know, we should try to wean ourselves away from just answering this in ways that make sense to us. We should try to not just say, "well, I'm gonna use logic or try to find answers that are purely rational." But instead, let's see what the Bible gives us as reasons for why Jesus came. Would you agree that's a good way to go about this? And so, let's go to Hebrews 2:9? Who has Hebrews 2:9 for us? Right over here, okay. Let's turn to Hebrews 2, and we're going to read that verse there, verse 9, very interesting verse. Please go ahead and read that for us.

"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that he, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone." Thank you. So we're asking the question: why did God need to come into the world in human flesh? And according to that verse, why? "To taste death for everyone." We're gonna, as we talk about this, we're gonna find that Jesus--this question might seem like there's a simple answer, but there are so many reasons. Let's read our next verses there. Hebrews 2. And let's see, who has verses through 18 for us? Okay, go ahead and read that.

Hebrews 2, same chapter, through 18. "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared in the same, that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed he does not give aid to angels, but he does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things he had to be made like his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself has suffered, being tempted, he is able to aid those who are tempted.

" Thank you. Alright, so let's go back and let's kind of break it down, starting in verse 14. Let's read. So it says, first of all, according to verses 14 and 15, it says, "he--" here's one reason he came, "he himself likewise partook of the same, that," what? "Through death he might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil." So he came to what? Thank you. Destroy satan's power.

Okay. Verse 15, and might do something else? What? "Free those who through," what? "Fear of," what? "Death." Thank you. "Were subject to," what? "Bondage," or slavery, "all their lives." Think about that. Jesus came to help us not to be afraid anymore. Praise God, right? He came to take away the fear that we as human beings have that--i mean think about it.

Without Jesus there would be no hope, right? He says, "listen, I'm giving you life. I'm giving you hope. I'm taking away the fear of death, the finality of this thing called death. Verse 16, okay, "for assuredly he does not give help to angels, but he gives help to the seed of Abraham." Verse 17, "therefore," because of this, here's another reason, "he had to be made like his brethren in all things, so that he might become a," what? "Merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God." He can identify with what we experience. Therefore he can be a merciful and faithful high priest, right? Okay, verse 18, another reason, "for since he himself was," what? "Suffered," or tempted, "in that which he has suffered, he is able to," what? That word there if you read in the King James, it says, "succour.

" Other versions say what? "Help" or "aid those who are tempted." You know I love that because Jesus is basically telling us, listen, "I wanted to experience what you go through, so that when you're going through the most difficult time in your life, I can be there for you. I know what it's like." Hebrews 4, just a couple chapters up, you know this passage, beautiful. It says, Hebrews 4:14, "therefore," because of this, "since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus The Son of God--" you know, it's kind of like being able to send someone from our planet, imagine there are hundreds, maybe thousands of planets out there, but we're sending someone from our planet up to the very top position in the universe. Wow. He's like, he's "passed through the heavens, Jesus The Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

" Verse 15, "for we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who was tempted in all things like as we are, yet without sin." "In all things," right? "Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Can you say amen to that? Now, chapter 5, this is the verse we were talking about earlier, verses 8 and 9. This is a really interesting passage right here. Look what it says, speaking about Jesus, it says, "although he was a son," Hebrews 5:8-9, "he learned obedience from the things which he suffered." So maybe he was a little bit like us, huh? Interesting. And verse 9, "having been made perfect, he became to all those who obey him the source of," what? "Eternal salvation." One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is the old testament book of Isaiah 53, where the Bible tells us exactly what it was that Jesus did for us. Isaiah 53.

And I just wanted to read a few of those verses with you today. Look at verse 1, Isaiah 53:1, it says, "who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" Listen verse 2, "because he grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground." He wasn't very pretty, right? Look what it says, "he has no stately form or majesty." He didn't look like a king, didn't look like God, "that we should look upon him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to him." Jesus wasn't someone that you'd just point out of a crowd as though he looked like God, right? He wasn't the type of person you'd think that God would have chosen to appear in the form of. Verse 3, "he was in fact despised and forsaken by men." Now, here's the point. The point is that Jesus knows what it feels like to experience these things. Have you ever felt like this before? You ever felt rejected? Look what it says, verse 3, "a man of," what? "Sorrows.

" Have you been sad before? "And acquainted with," what? "Grief. From whom men hide their face; he was despised, we did not esteem him." Verse 4, I like this, "surely our griefs he himself bore. Our sorrows he carried; yet we esteemed him smitten and stricken of God, and afflicted. But he did it for us." Isn't that beautiful? And so when you're experiencing physical pain, Jesus has too. He understands.

When you're feeling emotionally ready to break, discouraged, depressed perhaps, Jesus knows what it's like. He's been through that and he is with you through the pain, right? When anger and frustration well up within you and you're tempted to just kind of be resentful, maybe even to rage, Jesus knows how to bring peace because he's experienced emotions like we do under very difficult circumstances as well. When you're about ready to give in to temptation, Jesus can sustain you since he has felt temptation's power even more than you or I ever will. Amen? Jesus has experienced much more than we ever will. When you're about to be defeated, Jesus understands.

He offers help just when you need it. And yet, as the disciples mingle with Jesus, they realize that there was something about this man that was different, something that they wanted. I liked what John r.w. Stott writes regarding the disciples. Listen to this.

I thought this was really-- I wanted to share this with you. It says, "they lived in close contact with Jesus for about years. They ate and slept together. They experienced the cramped neighborliness of the same boat." And those fishing boats weren't that plush, probably weren't that big. And they probably didn't smell that good, right? It says, "they even had a common purse.

" And common bank accounts can be a fruitful cause of dissension, right? "The disciples got on one another's nerves." You can read about that in the Bible quite a bit. They quarreled. "But they never found in Jesus the same sins they found in themselves." Familiarity normally breeds contempt, but not in this case. He was different. And like Hebrews 7:26 says--what does it say? Let's actually look at Hebrews 7:26.

It says--let me read it to you, "for such a high priest became us, who is," what? "Holy, harmless, undefiled," and what? "Separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens." He was like us, but yet he was different than us, wasn't he? In fact, I like what Ellen white one time wrote. She was writing to a pastor who apparently was, I don't know, I'm not exactly sure of the problem he had, but she decided she was going to cite the example of Jesus for him. And so here's what she wrote. Listen to this. She said, "he laid aside his glory, his dominion, his riches, and sought after those who were perishing in sin.

" And then she said, "sacrifice, self-denial, and disinterested benevolence characterized his life. He is our pattern. Have you, brother a, imitated the pattern? I answer, 'no.'" She was really getting on this guy for something. I didn't read the whole chapter this time. But listen to this.

She said this, "he is a perfect and holy example given for us to imitate. We cannot equal the pattern, but we shall not be approved of God if we do not copy it, and according to the ability, which God has given us, resemble it, amen? Interesting, isn't it? You see, I was asking myself this last week. Why is it that Jesus became a human being? He didn't need to. Because to save humanity, all he had to do was, as God, die for the sins of humanity, right? Because that's what the law required. The law said that someone equal with the law had to pay the penalty of sin and that would satisfy the law's demands.

But in addition to that, Jesus became a human being as well. Why? And the only thing I could come up with was because Jesus wanted to identify with us so that we could know that he understands and that he could give us an example to follow. Right? That's why. And yet, as we look at his example, we realize that we're already a few steps behind, right? Jesus was born without sin. He never sinned a day in his life, right? And yet we have and so we're already a step behind.

But yet just because of that, it should not discourage us from seeking to imitate his example. Isn't that right? Imitation doesn't mean that we're as good at something as he is, right? I remember when I was a little kid I really admired my dad, looked up to my dad. I still do. But I remember as like a--excuse me--a 5-year-old, I saw my dad. He would be in the bathroom getting ready to go to work in the morning.

He'd be shaving. And I thought, "you know what? I can do that." So of course I decided I wanted to borrow, without asking, one of his, you know, one of his little shavers, razors, whatever. And what happens when little boys do things like that? What do you think happened? Exactly. I found out that I probably needed some lessons in how to do that, right? You see? I could imitate my dad, but I wasn't as good at it as he was, right? It was gonna take me a while to grow into it. And so I think the point is this.

Jesus decided to become enough like us so that we could develop characters like his, with his help, right? And yet as the Godman, he was fundamentally different from all other human beings. Every human baby needs a Savior, right? He did not. He was the Savior. Yet again, the differences that separate him from us do not keep us from learning to live the way that he lived, moment by moment, step by step, submission to God The Father. And if Jesus is our hero, we will do everything we can to copy him, because we'll like him that much.

Isn't that right? Alright, finishing up here, Thursday's lesson. I wanna move on here to this one. They call it "an eternal solidarity." I like that. Close your eyes or leave them open, whatever it takes for you to imagine. Imagine God for a moment, okay.

Here's God. He has actually created everything. He's much greater than us. He is powerful. He's infinite.

He's wonderful. He's perfect. Imagine a God whose words, as they echo throughout space, they bounce off of things and create things when they do that. That's how powerful his actual words are. Imagine a God whose mind, the greatness of which is beyond our comprehension.

He can invent numerous, I mean millions of species of plants and animals. Now open your eyes. Don't imagine it, but realize that the same--you can imagine it too--but it's a reality, the same creator himself became a creature. The creator becomes what his hands have at one time formed. And he just did it for months, like mike and sam, right? Remember our story? Was it for just 5 months? No.

Well, 33 years, right? Just for a lifetime on this earth, right? No, wrong again. In fact, he became--and this is the point of Thursday's lesson--a man for how long? Forever. How long will Jesus remain a man? Think about it. For eternity. In fact, I'm gonna refer the verses.

We don't have time to look at them today, but in Luke 24, you remember the story. Jesus resurrected from after his crucifixion. He comes back to the disciples. He's in the upper room there with them. And they say-- he says to them what? "Reach out your hand," and what? "Touch me because, look at, I've got flesh and bones just like you have.

" This is with his new resurrected, glorified body. He goes on, he says, "hey, I'm hungry. Can you give me something to eat?" And so they give him a piece of fish and honeycomb. And he eats there in Luke 24. Acts 1, I like this.

As the disciples in verse 10 and 11 were looking up into heaven, the Bible says, "the angels came and they said to them, 'this same Jesus.'" Not a different one, not one that's changed his, you know, form into something else once he gets to heaven. "This same Jesus is coming back to get you, to take you to be with him. And forever he's going to be with you." Acts 17:31 says, "God has appointed a day on which he will judge the world by that man," Jesus Christ, "and he's given witness to all men in that he has," what? "Raised him from the dead," which is by the way an experience common to all human beings, right? The death part, not the raising part, because that will be common to all human beings at one point because of Jesus, right? He's coming back so that we can experience that resurrection power as well. And then one more verse, actually I'd like to look at this one with you. Timothy 2, 1 Timothy is in the new testament there towards the end of your Bible, chapter and look at verse, verse 5.

Timothy 2:5. Here's what it says, "for there is one God and just one mediator between God and men," and who is that? Don't miss that one word. It says it is the what? "The man Christ Jesus." Isn't that right? It's not just God. It's not just a deity that took on humanity for just a few years. This is God in the flesh forever.

And so, I want to finish up with these words. It says, "never has anyone given up so much. It is claimed by him as well as by us that he renounced the joys of heaven for the sorrows of earth, exchanging an eternal immunity to the approach of sin for painful contact with evil in this world. He was born of a lowly Hebrew mother in a dirty stable, in the insignificant village of Bethlehem. He became a refugee baby in Egypt.

He was brought up in the obscure hamlets of nazareth and toiled at a carpenter's bench to support his mother and the other children in their home. In due time, he became an itinerant preacher with few possessions, small comforts and no home. He made friends with simple fishermen and publicans. He touched lepers and allowed harlots to touch him. He gave himself away in a ministry of healing, helping, teaching, and preaching.

He was misunderstood and misrepresented and became the victim of men's prejudices and vested interest. He was despised and rejected by his own people and deserted by his own friends. He gave his back to be flogged, his face to be spat upon, his head to be crowned with thorns, his hands and feet to be nailed to a common roman gallows. And as the cruel spikes were driven home, he kept praying for his tormentors, "father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Do you want to be like him? And so this last week as I was reading the news, I came upon a story that reminded me of Jesus. It reminded me of what we just read there.

It's about a lady. It just happened a couple weeks ago. Her name is annamarie ausnes. She has a disease called polycystic kidney disease. And both of her kidneys just a few weeks ago began to fail.

She is one of 75,000 Americans in need of a kidney. And no one was showing up with her particular blood type and that could be a donor. And so annamarie went into the local starbucks where she would go every day. And in there she met another lady. Her name is sandra anderson.

And sandra noticed that this lady who--sandra was working behind the counter. Sandra was one of the baristas. She noticed that this lady was not as happy as she usually was. She didn't even know her name. But she asked annamarie, "how are you today?" And annamarie began to tell her about her problem.

And annamarie knew that she was going to have to go on dialysis and it could be a very long process, because who knows when a donor would come around. And so as sandra, behind the counter, was listening to annamarie's story, here's what happened. She threw up her hands in the air, and she said, "I'm gonna get tested." I'm gonna find out if I am a match. And I'll give you one of my kidneys. True story.

This lady didn't even know the other lady's name. And so that's exactly what happens. She went in and she got tested. And a few days later as annamarie came back to the starbucks there, sandra told her that she was indeed a match. And it says they both just stood there and bawled.

And from that day forward they knew that this was going to happen. On March 11th, just a few weeks ago, anderson and ausnes underwent a kidney transplant at Virginia mason hospital in seattle, Washington. The surgery was successful. And ausnes said this. She said, "we're doing well.

" Just on Monday night, she said this, "we're moving slower, but we feel good. I talk to sandy," that was the donor, "every day." And then listen to this. "And sometimes I sit here and bawl because of what she's gone through for me." What does it make you want to do when you think of what Jesus has gone through for you? Does it make you want to do something for him? Does it want to make you live your life in a different way for him, does it? Today, one more time I want to remind you of our offer, number 703. You can call in for that offer, "Christ's human nature."

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