Can God use us to transform others? Yes, if we realize that it’s not us, but Him working in and through us.
19 Listen, my child, and be wise, and set your foot on the right path…”
Here is a bold statement: We, collectively, murdered Immanuel.
Several years ago, I was part of the cast in “Heaven’s Gates/Hell’s Flames,” a production that acted out scenarios of death and the afterlife. Some of them were funny, but others were scary. Everyone approached the “pearly gates” and waited while St. Peter checked the book for his name. If he found it, the lights came up, the angels rejoiced, and Jesus came out and welcomed him into heaven. If St. Peter didn’t find it, then the lights went to red, the angels hid their faces, and I came out to get them–I played the role of Satan. Twice. The point of this story is actually at the beginning of the drama. The music to Via Dolorosa began to play as “Jesus” carried the cross down the isle toward the front. When he was about two thirds down, the music changed, the lights went crazy, and people (the cast) came out of the audience to drag “Jesus” up onstage and crucify him. The concept was that we all, audience included, crucified Christ. It wasn’t our sin, but us, that put Jesus on the cross.
What happened next was true genius. Jesus took upon Himself all sin. When He had it all, He died, and sin died with Him. There are several verses that attest to this theological view:
14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
The other part of my statement was the use of the term, “Immanuel,” which means, “God with us.” It comes from Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” The ramifications are huge. Jesus wasn’t LIKE God, He WAS/IS God. The best explanation can be found in Philippians 2:7-8,
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature [form] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
He was human, born of Mary, He grew up like we all do, and He lived and died as humans do, but He was also God in the flesh. He experienced everything we humans do, even temptation (Hebrews 4:15) Three of the four Gospels mention it, two of them going into great detail. Yet, He was God. One of the most interesting verses in the Bible to me is John 3:34,
34 For the one whom God has sent [Jesus] speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.
As Christians, we believe that Jesus was sent by God to us. It is to Him that God gave the Spirit without limit. That same Spirit is available to us in the form of the Spirit of Christ. Another favorite verse of mine is Colossians 1:27,
27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
So, can Christ use us? Yes. In what way? We’ll find out that answer tomorrow!
Abba, may You drive the truth of Your Godhood/Manhood deep into our souls. I know I will never truly understand it until I reach heaven–and even into eternity–but I can begin to grasp it with the help of Your Spirit. I ask that You give me the faith to receive and access the Spirit without limit, just as Christ did. I’m open to extremes, Lord. Whatever it takes. Amen.