The Thomas Pages homepage
Being Human as God Intended
In the Bible "Son of Man" is not a title. It is a Semitic idiom for 'human'
"So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
And God blessed them. And God said to them –
'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion
the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth'."
Authority to represent as
mandated in the beginning
Genesis 1:27-28.
Christ's FIRST
miracle was inappropriate!
Jesus said so Himself –
"Jesus also was invited to the wedding with His disciples.
When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, 'They have no wine'.
And Jesus said to her, 'Woman, what does this have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come'."
In other words – No!
John 2:3-4.
But she
ignored Christ's negative response, instructed the servants to "Do whatever He tells you", and her incorrigible confidence was rewarded.
She had come to know this son of hers a little better than perhaps we tend to understand Him today.
The fact that the Bible takes the trouble to tell us that this supernatural turning-water-to-wine at a non-religious event was "the first" of the supernatural signs of Christ's ministry is very significant.
It sets the tone for what followed in His life    –   the works of God which show that God cares beyond limit!
God's Purpose with Us
in just four steps
incident in His life helps us to understand a little more of this perspective of Jesus.
Exhausted, Jesus had fallen asleep on a cushion at the back of His disciples' fishing boat as they crossed the Sea of Galilee. Even the storm that suddenly struck their boat did not wake Him, but these experienced fishermen, who had earned their living on that lake, were quite reasonably in panic at its violence. With words that indicate their desperation they woke Him –
"Save us, Lord; we are perishing"
Mark's Gospel gives us more feeling in their words –
"Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?"
His response?
"Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?"
Matthew 8:25;

Mark 4:38.

Matthew 8:26.
this reproach appropriate? Was it reasonable? Perhaps not to His disciples, but Jesus had a different view.
He stood up to speak to the water and wind and there was a great calm over the lake. This authority over nature, whether turning water-to-wine, or controlling a storm, was part of the approach to life of this man Jesus of Nazareth as His mother had learned from her experience of Him; and He was disappointed when other believers did not share this view with Him: not a view of 'Him' (to which it has been twisted) but a view of life as God had intended.
last Monday of Christ's life demonstrates again this characteristic view of His relationship to nature. He had not eaten that morning and was hungry as He approached Jerusalem. A leafy fig tree He noticed gave hope of a few remaining figs even though the season had passed, but He was disappointed, so He spoke to it –
"May no fruit ever come from you again!"
The following day the total deadness of that tree drew the disciples' attention in amazement, and Jesus explained to them –
"Truly [Christ's emphasis], I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree,
but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' it will happen.
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith
[in God]."
Matthew 21:19-22.
His fig tree example and His mountain illustration both point to authority over nature, an authority which is derived from a trusting communion with God – in faith-filled prayer.
avoiding the implications of this, have looked for some symbolic significance in the fig tree, but that would then require some symbolic significance in the 'mountain' as well. It is better to believe Holy Scripture as it stands.
demonstrated human life as it pleases God! Jesus was human as humans were meant to be. For this reason His favourite expression for Himself was 'son of man', which was not a messianic title as has been foolishly taught (His messianic title is 'son of God' from Psalm 2:7). Son-of-man simply meant 'human'*.
(The error of thinking 'son of man' meant anything messianic, therefore unique and not applicable to us, came from misreading Daniel Seven where God's kingdom is presented as 'human' in contrast to this world's kingdoms presented as four 'animals': lion, bear, leopard, hybrid. See Dan.7:22, 27).
*In Semitic languages such as Hebrew and Aramaic the phrase 'son of – ' turns its attached noun into an adjective. A New Testament example of this is Joseph who became nicknamed 'bar-nabas' (son of encouragement) whom we know as Barnabas. (Ac.4:36).
rejoiced in His humanity as it pleased God's original intention for humanity. These supernatural events in the life of Jesus were not expressions of His deity. They were fulfilments of the original mandate given by God at the beginning in designing humanity as His creation-facing 'image'.
many have speculated with the term 'image of God' as though it were God-facing – through some spiritual quality or moral character, but its Biblical context teaches us that it was a creation-facing design of God for humanity to exercise dominion over nature on His behalf. But this required an unqualified trust in God, which the first human pair unhappily violated. That this image was creation-facing is confirmed in Genesis 9:6 where God says concerning their future conduct that –
"Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image."
spite of such previous extreme moral degeneration in the human race (that God wiped it out in the Flood to begin human history again) the continuing value of human life remains in the fact that it still continues to carry God's image potentially no matter who that person is, even the total atheist.
perspective on God and His relationship to our world is understandably preoccupied with issues of right and wrong, for our race has corrupted itself with selfishness from the beginning. But Jesus had a different focus!
When He saw a man born blind, the issue was not why it had happened or who was at fault – the blind man or his parents? To Jesus, it was a God-given opportunity to – work the works of God, the application of an authority over nature that expressed the care of a beneficent Creator, the compassion of the Most High.
John 9:3.
Some Christians have come up with a formula that finds divine-healing in the Atonement of Christ on the Cross – so faith for healing is as mandatory as repentance for forgiveness of sin. The Scripture which is sometimes quoted to this end is 'by His stripes we are healed' (Matt.8:17's reference to Isaiah 53:5 statement) but those 'stripes' were not administered on the Cross of our Atonement when God laid our blame on the sinless One. They were laid on this sinless Man in Pilate's judgment hall when they whipped Him. It was not an event of the Cross, it was simply His awesome identification with us in the humility of His humanity. Christ healed through the Holy Spirit by His delegated authority over nature as God's image toward all creation.
that in the beginning, God made this planet ready for its history in seven days; six of creative work followed by a day of rest. God the Infinite One could have made it all in less than a fraction of one second, so why did it take a week? God is simply presenting Himself in the first chapter of the first book of Holy Scripture as the role-model for humanity made in His image to exercise dominion over His creation. Human beings were to follow God's example of a seven-day work cycle with a regular one day of rest. This was not for religion. This was for life, human life.
addition, the authority of God over the natural world, expressed in each of these Days, was implemented specifically by the Spirit of God who hovered over the surface of the dark water-covered earth before that First Day described in Genesis One. This relationship of the Spirit was modeled for us there in principle. So also it was to be in human experience. For this reason Jesus, God incarnate, said that He cast out demons, not by His eternal deity, but by the Spirit of God and that specifically this was the presence of the kingdom, or rule, or authority of God in His creation (read Matt.12:28).
Christ's gospel message to a public who had been prepared by John the Baptist was not what we commonly understand as the gospel. Christ's gospel did not include any message about His crucifixion atonement or His deity, or any doctrine which traditional Christianity regards as essential gospel. Christ's gospel fully revealed God in character and in authority (kingdom) through His teaching and His miracles of all kinds. And it is this gospel of Christ which sets the time of the End of this age, for Jesus said –
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations,
and then the end will come."
Matthew 24:14.
the crucifixion of Jesus (in which the intrinsically Infinite Jesus, who had humbled Himself into our limitations, accepted our just condemnation upon Himself) demonstrates the character of God more fully than anything else, but a story about the past is not a substitute for the revelation of God in the present.
The gospel of Christ predates the crucifixion of Christ. The gospel of Christ is the revelation of God in word and deed.
those perhaps influenced by the misguided teaching of John Hagee that this "gospel of the kingdom" (a term used by Matthew to describe the whole ministry of Jesus, whereas other Gospels simply use the term 'gospel' in the same quotes of Jesus) is something quite different from the Christian gospel, it is important to note that in our New Testament the same message is variously called –
  70  times  
eternal gospel
gospel of Christ
gospel of Jesus Christ
gospel of the glory of Christ
gospel of our Lord Jesus
gospel of the kingdom*
*Hagee's misguided idea that 'gospel of the kingdom' means a message of 144,000 Jews, preached during a 7-year tribulation period after the Holy Spirit is taken away (and so has nothing to do with our Christian mission now) – is contrary to it's historical context and violates the message of Holy Scripture where the same statements of Jesus about this 'gospel of the kingdom' are quoted in other Gospels without the term 'kingdom'.
Mission & Christ's Return
gospel of peace
gospel of God
gospel of His son
gospel of the grace of God
gospel of the glory of the blessed God
there is only one gospel. It is the gospel of the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ the Lord (Hallelujah!), and it has been committed to us...
the continuance of this gospel then, the Holy Spirit's unique relationship to the sinless man Jesus was given in grace to all Christ's people at Pentecost – to continue and extend it to beyond Israel, to the whole world, without in any way diminishing its message about God. Yes, for all humans who believe in this Christ of God as our Saviour and our example, this same relationship of His to the Spirit was given on the Day of Pentecost at the birth of the Christian Church; 'Church' as God knows it.
in both Testaments of Holy Scripture we are told that the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, in other words everything in it. So, in being truly human In His image we represent God's ownership of His creation in all respects, and we need to be noticed in this regard in all places.
Exodus 9:29;
Psalm 24:1;
1 Corinthians 10:26.
God is not religious. He is the creator of all, and He expects us therefore to represent Him in all: His name, His beneficent nature authoritatively made known in us!

Her Heart's Unknowing
is a short poem in metaphor of the unique relation between Christ and those who are His by His merit

Return to Church Life Issues menu
Copyright © Lloyd Thomas 2011-2017. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Feel free to copy, as long as this full copyright notice is included.