Jesus as Human

“Since the children have flesh and blood,
He too shared in their humanity”
( Hebrews 2:14)

Hebrews 1 emphasizes that Jesus Christ is one with the Father and shares His being. Now Hebrews 2 emphasizes that He became one with us so that He could share our being.
He who is fully God entered into our humanity and became fully human. This chapter gives us four main truths about His humanity.

Firstly He experienced the frailty and vulnerability of a human being. His very real human body needed food and drink and sleep. He displayed very real human emotions such as joy, sorrow, compassion and anger. He wept outside the tomb of Lazarus and when He was whipped and nailed to the cross blood flowed from His wounds. His body died.

During His ministry He prayed to the Father for direction and submitted Himself completely to the Father’s will.

  • For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say” (John 12:49-50)
  • “The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me” (John 14:31)

Luke also makes it clear that He needed the guidance and empowerment of the Holy Spirit who He received at His baptism by John.

  • “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert” (Luke 4:1)
  • “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside” (Luke 4:14)

Jesus was not merely God in disguise. He made Himself fully human to enter fully into our humanity so that He could fully represent us and fully absorb our sin and guilt, our pain and our suffering.

The Creator became a part of the fallen creation for my sake.


Thank You Lord Jesus for entering into our fallen humanity so that You could find me, set me free and lead me safely home. Amen.


(Acknowledgements to John Stott)





Show your face

“You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free”
(John 8:32)


Lies mislead us and confuse us. If they are a part of our own lives they envelop us in a web of deceit and fear. Many people attempt to hide their true selves behind a mask or false front which becomes its own bondage. Freedom comes only from living a life of truth and openness. The wonder of the Lord God is that He does not take us merely at face value but He knows and understands the testimony of our hearts – that is, the truth about us. We do not have to pretend with Him.

 “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7)

But whilst that is true, Jesus is talking also about another level of truth – the truth about us as sinners and about God as both Holy and Forgiving, Loving and Merciful, Righteous and Sacrificial. This truth about God is the truth that carries with it the power to set us free from our bondage to sin and death – and enable us to enter into the inheritance that God has provided and prepared for His adopted daughters and sons.

For all (y)our sins and failings, and the lies we both utter and try to live, God’s love is that much greater. Knowing our potential if He can live within us, loving us enough to want us with Him and willing enough to shoulder the blame and penalty that is ours – He holds out His hand to us through His Son and says simply, “Come.”

Come from darkness into the Light, from death to Life, from the lies of a blind world into the Truth of the God of Love. Come home.

The false me is limited by my fears – the real me is limited only by the vision of God


Father God, please help me to walk with You – simply and trustingly – believing that even although You know me more intimately than even I know myself, You have and always will love me with Your everlasting love. Amen.


Keep on

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,
who loved us and by his grace gave us
eternal encouragement and good hope,
encourage your hearts and strengthen you
in every good deed and word.”

(2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

Paul never thought that God was a disinterested spectator in the affairs of the world, of His Church and of His people individually. His learning and his experience taught him otherwise. His encounter with the living Jesus, his experience of the Holy Spirit and the way God opened his eyes to the Scriptures convinced him of God’s presence, purpose and commitment. He lived his life accordingly.

Christian life and ministry can, at times, be very lonely and insecure. We may wonder where God is and if what we are about has any significance or value in the greater scale of things. We need to remember that Jesus gave His life, and His ongoing commitment, to the people who would believe in Him and continue His work and ministry. Every aspect of it, whether thought, word or deed is of importance and, if of God, contributes towards the building and extension of His Kingdom. Each one of us does indeed have a Circle of Influence, far wider in today’s world than we would at first imagine. God encourages us to use that influence to bless others and bring glory to Him.

If God desires something to happen, whether on an international or personal front, then He will support and empower it. If God wishes you or me to lead a particular type of life – a holy life – then He will support, empower and encourage it. Because He wants us to reflect Him in our world He will inspire and strengthen us. He will also stand with us when the enemy attacks us and attempts to scare us into inactivity or lead us astray. He will be both our strength and our refuge.

Jesus great promise is to be with us always. He undertook also that the Holy Spirit would be within us and be the one to  bring God’s love into our hearts. We are not alone – God is at work within and around us even when we are blind to His presence.


Remind yourself of Jesus’ presence. Involve Him in everything.


Lord Jesus do help me to remember that  You are with me always. Please help me to acknowledge You and  to think, speak and act in ways that honour You – and strengthen and encourage me every step of the Way. Amen


A Beautiful Thing


“While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table”
(Matthew 26:6-7)

I have always loved this story Lord. This account of a nameless woman who perceived in You a beauty, love and life that touched her own life with new light and hope. She honoured You with the only things of value that she had – her public acknowledgement and this ‘alabaster jar of very expensive perfume.’ Your disciples were indignant at the ‘waste’, but she had seen a truth that they were still to discover. You accepted her and her gift of which You said simply ‘She has done a beautiful thing to me.’  And then You added that, ‘Wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.’ And so it is. She remains nameless to us – but You know her name and will never forget.

It reminds me of that event I witnessed at a girls senior school. On Valentine’s Day long-stemmed red carnations were sent to the matriculants from their counter-parts at a local boy’s school. They were badges of honour to the girls who would not have wanted to have missed out on receiving one. This story was read in the chapel that day and obviously had an impact. Early the next morning when I went into the chapel there was one long-stemmed red carnation lying on the altar. It was a valued gift from another nameless woman to her Lord. But again, Lord, You know who she is and will never forget – for she too has done a beautiful thing to You.

How precious it is that we can bless you like this – not to gain anything but just to acknowledge how special You are to us. I know that it is not the commercial value of the gift itself that is important – it is the value that You have in our hearts and the way that it is reflected in our gift. All that You really want from me is all of my heart. I so want to give it to You but keep finding bits of me there that are hanging on! Thank You that You do accept what I can give You and wait in loving patience as I look to free up other parts as well.

I do love You Lord – and I do want to get to the ‘with all of my heart’ as well. I know that You will help me. Thank You!


Can you see?


“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby,
keeping watch over their flocks at night.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.
I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you;
he is Christ the Lord”
(Luke 2:8-11)

Quietly and humbly a momentous event was taking place in Bethlehem. The Son of God and Saviour of the world was born. With all the hustle and bustle of the town, filled with visitors returning for the census, the Light of the world slipped in through the relative silence of the night. There was no town-crier to proclaim the event, nor squad of medical personal to ensure that nothing went wrong – just a man and a woman and, maybe, one or two others who happened to be aware of a birth.

Outside of the town there were a group of shepherds, watching over their flocks as they bedded down for the night. They were probably talking quietly to each other and, perhaps, looking up at the overwhelming grandeur of the night sky. Shepherds did not have a good reputation in Israel where they were generally considered to be unreliable and dishonest. And so it is both amazing and wonderful that God chose to make the announcement to them – ‘the most stupendous good news the world has ever heard.’

An angel appeared, and the glory of the Lord shone all around them, and the announcement was followed by a great company of the heavenly host praising God. We cannot begin to imagine what this was like, the effect of the praise of the multitudes of angels, and the blessing that it brought to these earthy men. But their response tells us a lot.

They went to Bethlehem to see for themselves. They did not wait for the morning but ‘hurried off’ and found Mary and Joseph and the baby. When they had seen Him they could not keep the news to themselves but ‘spread the word concerning what they had seen and heard.’ Then they ‘returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen.’

They did not remain in the stable or settle around the manger – instead they returned to their jobs and homes and families. But although these would still be the same the men themselves would be different – they had seen the Lord!  And as Jesus life began to unfold in due course, and news of Him filtered back to these shepherds, they would have been able to tell their children and grand-children how they had been amongst the very first to see and worship the Lord and Messiah.

Will you seek Him and worship Him tomorrow?

Ensure you unwrap the greatest gift of all


In the night-time and in the morning Lord help me to be aware – of the child who was born and the angels who sang and the simple shepherds who worshipped and adored You. Let me slip in beside them in the silence of my spirit and look in wonder and love. Amen and Amen.




“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
(Matthew 5:10)

At first this seems out of place amongst the other characteristics that Jesus envisions in the Christian:

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
  • Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
  • Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
  • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

The first seven are those qualities that grow from within. This new one is something that is imposed from without. The truth is, though, and particularly as it follows the one that refers to peacemakers, that there will be some people who will refuse to live in peace with the Christians. In fact, they may purposefully oppose them.

The Christian may be persecuted not because of some over-zealous or anti-social behaviour on their part but because they are a certain type of person and, therefore, behave in a certain way. These ways are described in the first seven beatitudes. It is worth noticing in this regard that the first and the eighth beatitude both contain the same promise – ‘for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ It was as if Jesus were keen to impress upon His disciples that membership of the kingdom was of prime importance – a truth He would more clearly state towards the end of the Sermon,

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  (Matthew 6:33)

The Christians, if they are to be persecuted at all, should suffer it not because of their own sins or shortcomings but ‘because of righteousness’ – the righteousness for which they hunger and thirst. That means that they will live to a different standard and with different values to the rest of the world. Like Christ who is their model and example the light of their lives and living will show up the darkness and difference in the world around them – and may cause a reaction. The sad truth is that, as with Jesus, the people involved may be those who appear to be within the Church as well as those who are without. It is so natural a consequence in the world in which we live that Dietrich Bonhoeffer would write,

‘Suffering is the badge of true discipleship.’

The Christian filled with the Spirit of God cannot be luke-warm about his or her faith and relationship with Christ. Such will be the impact of that revelation and relationship that their lives will be transformed. They will increasingly see their own natural spiritual poverty; they will mourn over their sins and shortcomings – and the sin and suffering that they see around them; they will have no place in their lives for pride, arrogance or self-satisfaction and so will not look down upon others; they will long passionately for God’s love, life, healing and right rule to be released into the world; they will increasingly have mercy on those who sin and suffer, and themselves seek to be undivided in their relationship with, and attitude and response to, God.

Although it may seem daunting to the Christian persecution is not something that they deliberately seek. If and when it happens they have the great promise of Jesus to be with them and the empowering and inspiring presence of the Holy Spirit within. Such may their awareness of Them grow at the time that, like the apostles before them, they come to rejoice that they have been counted worthy to suffer ‘on My account.’

“The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” (Acts 5:41)

May God be glorified in me and through me. Do not fear – you will always receive what you need from God.


Dear Lord, please help me to be Your disciple and the reflection of Your great Light. Amen.


Encounter at the Cross


“Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth,
today you will be with me in paradise.”
(Luke 23:42-43)

When He was crucified two criminals were crucified with Jesus. Whilst the one shouted and cursed the second admitted that they deserved to be where they were. He also knew that Jesus had done nothing to warrant His execution. Whilst they all hung there naked, rejected and dying he turned to the Lord of Life next to Him and asked to be remembered when He came into His Kingdom.

It was an incredible thing for one dying man to say to another. Yet in this brief encounter something had touched his spirit. Something caused him to reach out in hope – not asking for an escape from pain or death, not pleading that there was something in his life that deserved consideration – just a simple plea from the parched lips of a man whose life was seeping slowly and painfully away.

Jesus response was so full of gentle understanding, love and grace that it stuns us. He answers the man with the most wonderful promise. A promise not for some dim and distant time in the future but for the immediacy of their present day.

“today you will be with me in paradise.”

Where death had brought them together death would never be able to separate them.

In each of the three encounters we have looked at so far this week Jesus, in one way or another, accepted the outcast and gave to them the precious gift of new life. More than they could have expected or even hoped for. Such is our great Lord.

Don’t strive for what you cannot keep. Seek instead that which you cannot lose.


Lord Jesus You really are the friend of sinners. Be my friend and help me to stay close to You. Amen.


Light of my Life


I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12)

We know what it is to have darkness in our lives. There is the darkness that comes from the world around us bringing insecurity, fear and despair. There is also the darkness that arises within us bringing clouds of inadequacy, shame, depression and hopelessness.

Into the lost and lonely places of this darkness Jesus Christ speaks quietly – “I am here”; “I am with you”; “I am the light of your world”.

This light is not a small flickering candle threatening to be extinguished by the dismal drafts of despair gusting in from the world. This light is the inextinguishable light of Life. It is found in the eternal, glorious and love-filled Person who is the Christ, Son of the Almighty Father.

The rejected and ridiculed souls who turned to Jesus during His earthly ministry were drawn by this amazing love-filled light. It flowed from Him towards them. They knew that here was their one true hope, and they wept – not due now to their shame and fear but because of the forgiveness, love and life that embraced them in His eyes and though His voice.

Jesus Christ is your light no matter what your darkness is or has been. He is the Light of Love and Life which the world does not understand but which we can know. He is the eternal Light – your Light – which can never be extinguished, no matter how deep the darkness.

Look to the Light that is Jesus the Christ. Ask Him to help you focus on and receive Him more fully.


Lord Jesus, please shine Your Light into my darkness – and help me to trust and live in the pure, new light of the life that you give me. Amen.


Hear the Call


“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

(Matthew 2:13-15)

Over a thousand years had passed since God had called His people out of Egypt. They had originally been brought there by Jacob’s son Joseph to escape the famine that was devastating the surrounding lands. After some four hundred years God then led them away from what had become a place of bondage and persecution, through the waters of the sea, into the desert and the place of commitment, and onwards to the Promised Land.

Now He instructed another Joseph to care for His son by taking him to Egypt. This was in order to protect Jesus from the murderous activities of Herod. Once the danger was past God would call Him out of Egypt again. The prophecy through Hosea which reflected the Exodus would reach its fulfilment in the person of the Son of God Himself. In due course Jesus also would pass through the waters of baptism, into the desert of temptation and commitment, and onwards towards the ‘Promised Land’ on the other side of the cross. He was opening the Way for us.

We too find ourselves in a ‘foreign land’ from which God calls us. With Him we embark upon a new journey as He leads us away from the bondages of a fallen world, through the waters of baptism, into a new place of commitment and onwards to the Promised Land of our eternal home with Him. Spiritually we may enter into His heart immediately although it often takes time and experience for us to fully believe and become secure there. In other ways the journey home lasts a life-time but the end is always secure as we travel on with Him.

Hear the call. Stay on the journey for the coming year.


Lord help me to stay close to You – and please bring me back when I stray. Amen.


(Artist – Bartolome Esteban Murillo  – Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI, USA)

Wants Me?


“He predestined us to be adopted as his sons
through Jesus Christ,
in accordance with his pleasure and will”

(Ephesians 1:5)

In the world in which we live, one of personal inadequacy and insecurity, it is a great blessing to know that we are wanted. It is an even greater blessing to realise that we are desired not for what we can do but for the pleasure we will bring to someone by allowing them to love and bless us.

So it is with God. He wants us not as servants but as family. His purpose is to adopt us as His daughters and sons – and as “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.” His will and purpose is that we should receive the fullness of everything that He has to give – and not just ‘the crumbs that might fall’ from His table. That everything will include all that He has to give of Himself – all His love, peace and joy, light and life, completeness and fulfilment, purpose and pleasure. This will find its full expression in the place that Jesus Christ is preparing for us.

There is the story of a small boy who was being teased by his fellow pupils because he was adopted. Eventually he rounded on them and said, “Your parents were saddled with you. Mine chose me!” God is not saddled with you. He has chosen you so that He can bless you.

Take time to savour the truth – and to receive it.


Thank You Father, for loving me and choosing me. Please help me to recognise, receive and respond to Your love – and to rest there. Amen.