Monday, September 24, 2012

Could Jesus Fail?

The question of the day is: Could Jesus fail?

God sent His perfect and holy Son in the flesh to live as man lives and die as man dies in order that He might conquer death and grant man another taste of Eden to come.  One of the toughest concepts to explain as a Christian is what we think of this God-Man - how this Jesus was both fully man and fully God.  If He were fully man, we argue, then He must have been some super-spiritual holy man or else the flesh would have failed Him just as it does you and I.  Then we counter that it was His fully-God nature that kept Him from sinning.

Well, of course if your fully-God nature keeps pulling you back, you can't fail.  But that's cheating. 

To make this argument - that fully-God keeps fully-flesh from sinning - is essentially to say that from the moment of Creation, God had no plans except that the flesh would fail. Because He didn't put Himself in it.  Adam and Eve had no fully-God presence to pull them back from sinning.  It's arguing that God created Creation to fail.  That's not the God or the Creation story I know.  That's certainly not "good."  Did God really set us up to fall short?

I don't think so.

God created flesh in His image.  From the ground, He sculpted this thing called Man and breathed into him the breath of life.  Therein lies the conundrum.  Man, as created, is infused with this hollow space that is the air and the essence of God Himself - the breath.  This hollow space is also something else - choice.  (I shudder at the words free will because it seems more passive somehow and less defined than the clear-cut word of choice.)

Choice because love must be chosen.  Choice because without it, there could be no love.  Only obedience, dominance, enslavement, and so on.  We know that we must choose love in order for love to be, and so at our inception, we were infused with this breath that is the taste of God but opens this hollow place within us to be hallowed and to choose love.

That is the fullness of man.

Now, we have Jesus and we are told that He is fully man, and we take that to mean He is just like us.  Yes and no.  What Jesus is is actually fully man.  That is, He is as man was created to be.  As the Word of God made flesh, as the Son of the Father, as One of Three, as Jesus is - He didn't have this hollow place inside of Him called choice; He'd already filled it with Love.  It was infused into Him as part of His very being.

He didn't stumble around Galilee with unanswered questions.  He didn't have to figure out what to do with this space inside of Him that was aching for something.  He already knew.  From Love He came and with Love, He was filled.

That's what made Him not only fully flesh, but also fully man.  He was man as man was created and intended to be if only we would choose love in our void.  And I would argue that it was not Christ's fully-God nature that kept Him from sinning, from failing, from falling short.  It was His nature as a full man.

Because once you've chosen love, how could you choose otherwise?

It's easy to look at our flesh and think there must have been something otherworldly about Jesus.  That He had some supernatural help to stay sinless; that He was ordained for something that isn't in our particular cards, as it were.  It's easy to say, "Of course He was a sinless man.  He was God."  But that doesn't cut it.  It's much more simple, much more beautiful, and much more accessible than that.  He simply chose love.

We're not blessed at birth with this place filled with love.  We aren't one with the flesh of the Lord; we simply have a breath.  What He's breathed into us is this capacity for love in this place called choice.  By that choice, we define our time here.  Are we hollowed or hallowed?

Love is the answer.

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