In a room filled with 1700 women, Bible teacher Beth Moore gave an assignment. As a college student, I might have groaned at the thought of a research assignment, but my current self was filled with excitement. First, Beth explained that we have everything we need for life and godliness through Jesus, according to 2 Peter 1:3.
His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Anything we could possibly need to live a fruitful life is found in Jesus. Every tool to keep us from falling into sin is found in God’s Son. What an amazing concept!! It seems too good to be true. But how do we actually access this “everything”?
We access it by gaining knowledge of Jesus. Read the verse again. Through knowledge of Jesus, God can give us this “everything”. The more we learn about Jesus, the more we have access to this divine power that provides all the things we need for life and godliness. We cannot claim this power until we actively search the Bible to learn all we can about Jesus.
Next, Beth explained that Jesus accomplished five things that enable us to live to our fullest potential. She had us write letters on our fingers so that we could remember them. I – C – R – A – S. Today, we will dig into the first letter. “I” stands for incarnate.
Jesus took on human form when He became an embryo in Mary’s womb. He left the glories of heaven to limit Himself to human form. This is what incarnate means. It is what we celebrate at Christmas time when we sing, “O come, O come, Emmanuel, to ransom captive Israel.” It is what the prophet meant when he foretold, “Behold, the Virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which translated means, ‘God with us’.” (Matthew 1:23 ESV)
While Beth got us started by giving us two passages for each of Jesus’ works, I found many more on “Jesus Incarnate” through this web page. Let’s scratch the surface of all that an in-the-flesh Jesus provides…
Jesus can identify with our every struggle.
Feeling rejected? Check. Overwhelmed by the demands of others? Check. Feeling exhausted? Check. Jesus’ own people rejected Him. His disciples wore Him ragged with their stubbornness and neediness. The needs of the sick and poor followed Him relentlessly. Jesus understands when we don’t want to hear another childish question for just 5 minutes. He sympathizes with the exhaustion that threatens to chain us to our bed every morning. Jesus knows how it feels to be criticized. He truly understands us.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. -Isaiah 53:3 ESV
Jesus demonstrated how to face struggles without sin.
Not only did Jesus share our human emotions, but He handled them without sinning. He handled rejection without bitterness or hatred. He juggled His disciples with care and grace, reprimanding them when needed, but never sinning. He managed the needs of the people with His own need for rest–never once resorting to temper tantrums or despair or guilty pleasures.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. -Hebrews 4:15 ESV
Jesus modeled submission to the Father.
Jesus never ceased being God while He was here on earth, yet He willingly surrendered His human wants and needs to the direction of His Father. Each word He spoke, He received from the Father. How much less should I, a mere human, submit everything I say and do to the control of the Holy Spirit? If Jesus Himself relied on the Father for each and every word, I certainly should not depend on my own wisdom to get me through the long, challenging days.
The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. -John 14:10 ESV
Jesus obeyed the Father regardless of the cost.
I struggle to obey God when obedience simply means inconvenience. I let my exhaustion keep me from submitting to the Holy Spirit’s promptings. How cowardly is that! Jesus didn’t just obey when it was awkward, He obeyed when it meant dying a cruel death on the cross. He followed the Father’s will when it meant separation from the Father Himself. Jesus’ immeasurable love carried Him through the agony of a crucifixion…all so He could buy us back to Himself. His pure obedience, motivated by love, makes my disobedience all the more despicable.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. -Philippians 2:8 ESV
Jesus asks us to come to Him boldly.
Remember the verse for our first point? Let’s read it again…only this time, we will read the following verse, too.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. -Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV
Because Jesus experienced all the same temptations as we do, we can be sure that He understands our struggles. He doesn’t look down at us with condemnation. Instead, we find in Him a compassionate Savior who truly knows what we are experiencing. Rather than criticism, we find grace and help in Jesus. We don’t have to shrivel away in the corner over our failures and weaknesses. We can confidently and boldly approach His throne in prayer, knowing that Jesus will bestow all the grace and mercy we need.
As Beth Moore said, Jesus Incarnate sympathizes with me and provides the exits I need to avoid sin. So go to that throne of grace. Bow down before Jesus and confess your struggles and temptations. Let Him cover you with His mercy. Look for the exit He provides. Thank Him for the grace He so freely extends.
Emmanuel. God with us.
We have a Savior who truly understands.
Want to dig deeper to increase your own knowledge? Study these verses. Read them carefully and write them out. Examine how the words fit together. Write out the insights you receive as you as the Holy Spirit to teach you what they mean.
- 2 Peter 1:1-11
- Hebrews 4:14-16
- Isaiah 53:1-4
- John 1:11-14
- Colossians 1:15
- John 14:9-10
- Matthew 1:23
- Philippians 2:8
Let me know what you learn!