There are certain passages recorded in Scripture preserving the ministry of Jesus today that continuously catch me off guard. I, like His twelve original disciples, am confused by things like His statement of “eating His flesh, and drinking His blood” in Jn. 6:53. Certainly the rationalization is to interpret such passages, but to do so is to take them as moral lessons rather then actual truths. I understand the words of Jesus to be perfect and absolute truth perfectly, and this is the reason for the present post. My doctrinal view of free will has been distinctly high for several years now, ever since I had spent the time studying Scripture and determining God’s character through it. And this passage has been a very impactful for me in the past, but today, as I came across it, as the Holy Spirit often does, He illuminated it in a new way for me.
Jesus is claimed as being both fully man and fully God (Jn. 10:28-30; 17:21; Heb. 2:5-18;Col. 2:9; 1 Jn. 1:1-4 not exaustive). This is of paramount importance because it means He is able to forgive sins (Matt. 9:6; Mk. 2:10; Lk. 5:24), and be the atonement for us on the cross (2 Cor. 5:15; Heb. 2:17; 9:15 1 Pet. 1:19-21). He had to be the spotless lamb that would be slaughtered, just as in Egypt during the Exodus, in order that they might be sparred through the symbol.
But I had also recognized that God has personality: a mind, will, and emotion. He thinks, He acts, He feels. This is only right to conclude considering we are made “in His image”, and in “His likeness”. But the very words of Jesus are embodied more fully that I would have accepted a year ago in the epistles of Paul. For Paul used phrases like “die to yourself (Rom. 6:11 Gal. 2:20; 5:24; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:5). But He honestly conveyed the same message that Jesus had not only spoken(Matt. 10:38; Lk. 9:23-24; Jn 12:24) , but lived. Jesus knew God’s will for Him ahead of time. He knew the plan of His Father. It actually had Him sweating blood. But Jesus makes several statements that really came together for me all at once. Jesus said in John 8:28, “I do nothing of my own initiative, but speak these things as the Father taught me”. These words had culminated in my concluding that Jesus power was not a walking deity on earth, but rather divinely seeded in the very human Mary with His powers of divinity suspended.
It wasn’t until age thirty that He begins doing the miraculous, after which He is baptized, at which point the Holy Spirit descends upon Him. He was just a Spirit-filled man! Of course, the soul of Jesus is undoubtedly networked elaborately into the perichoresis (rotational) triune nature of the Godhead. But on earth, His power came through faith in His Father (Mk. 5:34; 7:50; 11:22 Lk. 8:48; 17:19; Jn. 5:19; 6:29; Rev. 14:12). The conduit was the Holy Spirit working through Him (Matt. 4:1; 28:18; Mk. 1:12; Lk. 1:80; 4:1; 10:21; Matt. 12:15-18)! So the transition now taking place in me is that though we have free will, it is exercised by submitting to God’s will, knowing His plan will be better then our own. At the very least, He will be able to see our future as well as we can, and at most – He knows future events with microscopically perfect precision. So following the model of Jesus, as Paul had said (along with himself humbly) (1 Cor. 11:1). The meaning of this phrase “follow me” was to follow the example being presented. Paul was offering his life as an example of someone who was following Christ.
There will never be another Jesus. And there won’t be another Paul. And following either isn’t a bad model at all, but, from the very mouth of the Messiah Himself, “…I do nothing of my own initiative…”. God is the ultimate stable axis by which our lives should revolve. Speaking in terms of actually objectivity, He stands outside not only a cultural context, but (according to some) – time itself. He Jesus is an earthly representation, perfect as that may be, of our Father who is the source of all power, including Jesus’.