And He was saying to them, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." (Luke 6:5 NASB)
Son of God. Son of Man.
Why does it matter than the Son of God referred to Himself as the Son of Man instead of the Son of God? The first is who Jesus is and why He came. The second is how He came and what He offered. Although fully God, Jesus was also fully human. His use of the term Son of Man implies that He identified with our humanness and all the struggles that brings. King Jesus understands what it feels like when we are angry, hurt, rejected, misunderstood, because He has been human and experienced the emotions and problems with which we are burdened. He identifies and He understands.
The difference between our humanity and His is that we regularly fail in a God-like response to the challenges of life. Jesus however, faced what we face, yet without sin. He acted in obedience to His Father every time. Every single time. He demonstrated obedience, even when it was hard, and He left the Holy Spirit to help us in our own efforts at obedience. We certainly cannot live a sinless life on our own, but, as believers, we have the Spirit as our Helper and our Guide. Could we live in perfect obedience? Maybe so, if we were consistently, constantly led by the Spirit of God, and if we chose God's way rather than our own every single time. Of course, we don't. We don't obey every time. We don't respond to hurts and trials with a godly response every time, but that does not mean we shouldn't.
Jesus came as the Son of Man and demonstrated what a God-filled, God-controlled, obedient life should be, and we are to emulate Him. We are supposed to... if we will. I'm supposed to, if I will. That little four-letter word is at the root of the problem, isn't it?
Paul, in his letter to the Romans, wrote about this very dilemma.
"For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:14-24 NASB)
It's a dilemma, this problem of wanting to do right and not doing it, but Paul recognized the solution to the problem was in Jesus Christ alone. He went on to write that, when our mind is focused on the things of flesh (the sin things we want to do), we are going to do them. When we get our mind focused on the things of God, and are led by the Spirit, we can obey and live a godly life. Paul said something very important, and very hard. We are under obligation. (Romans 8:12) We are under obligation, not to ourselves, but to Christ, and that obligation requires us to live according to His way.
Are we living as if we are obligated by the sacrifice Christ made on our behalf? Do we obey as if our only joy is in pleasing Christ?
Today, pray that we will live by the Spirit and obey by the Spirit, with our hearts set on pleasing Christ alone. Pray that our loved ones will be so astounded by the victory they see in our lives that they will want the same for themselves and willingly embrace the Cross.