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  • Rick LoPresti

Point of reference

Although Jesus was fully God, He was also fully man. People often give much focus to how Jesus was God, and they should, because it is essential to our relationship with Him. However, it is also important to understand the human part of Jesus, because it is alo essential. The only way we can be who God meant for us to be is through who Jesus was - not only in His divinity, but also in His humanity. He came in both aspects on purpose, and He did it for us. He was already God, so He could not become anything more in Himself. He could only become more to us. David said, "O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together (Psalm 34:3)." Mary said, "My soul doth magnify the Lord (Luke 1:46)." It is not that we can actually make God any bigger or more powerful. It is that our perception of Him gets bigger, and thus more accurate. It is impossible for us to think that God is bigger or more powerful than He actually is. What we have difficulty with is believing and understanding how big and powerful He is.

Moses had seen many great miracles from God. God had miraculously turned around the plans of Pharaoh for his death to his salvation as a baby (Exodus 1-2). Moses had seen the burning bush and uniquely spoke with God face to face there and later on Mount Sinai and at the tabernacle (Exodus 3-4, Exodus 19-40, Exodus 33:11, Numbers 12:6-8, Deuteronomy 34:10). He was so immersed in the presence of God his face shined. He saw the miracles in Egypt from which we get the phrase "on a Biblical scale" (Exodus 7-14). He saw many miracles in the wilderness. Yet he was still hungry to see the glory of God (Exodus 33:18-23). God told him he could only see a very limited manifestation of it. Moses' point of reference was great, but still only a little compared to all that God is.

The distance from the earth to the moon is great. It is about 240,000 miles on average. You have to travel at the speed of a bullet for 3 days to get there. Yet that is tiny. The distance to the sun is 93 million miles. Yet that is tiny. The sun is a star. The distance to the next star after the sun is 4 light years. That means you have to travel 186,000 miles per second for 4 years to get there. Yet that is also tiny. It is estimated that there are 100 million stars in this galaxy. Yet that is tiny. It is estimated there are 100 million galaxies in the universe. Yet all of that is tiny compared to God. He made it just by speaking in 6 short days. In fact, the creation account in Genesis 1-2 describes the universe beyond the earth as almost an afterthought with only 5 words: "He made the stars also (Genesis 1:16)." The words "He made" are in italics in the King James Bible to indicate they were not there in the original Hebrew, but were added by the translators for clarity in English. That makes it only 3 words. That is just an illustration related to space as to how big God is. It is incomprehensible. Yet God is not confined to space. He made space. He is also not confined to time. He is eternal, and made time. It is impossible for us to fully understand what it is like to have always been (Exodus 3:14). God does not need a point of reference in space or time. That is ours, but not His.

So what makes Jesus different than us in His humanity? His birth was no different than ours. His conception was (Matthew 1, Luke 1-2), but He spent 9 months in the womb and was born just like us. He grew up just like us (Luke 2:51-52). He subjected Himself to the full human experience except for sinning Himself (2Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15, Hebrews 9:28, 1Peter 2:22). His only experience with sin was taking ours on the cross. His point of reference was not that of a faulty, weak, failed, sinful, human. It was a perfect relationship with God. He called Him His Father. That was literally true, but it was also His point of reference for everything. He saw everything from a different perspective than everyone around Him. He saw everything the way His Father saw it. This is especially revealed in the book of John (John 5:30, John 8:16, John 10:15, John 15:9, John 17:24). God is called the Father 114 times in John.

We use our earthly fathers as a point of reference for our heavenly Father, but this is not accurate because our earthly fathers are imperfect. We use our sinful life as a point of reference. We use the sins committed against us as a point of reference. These are all doomed to fail because sin distorts our view of God, others, ourselves, and the events of our lives. Jesus had a perfect point of reference, but that alone does not satisfy Him. He needed nothing in His divinity, and He had nothing to gain. He did not come in the flesh for Himself. He did it for us. He came to change our point of reference. He wants to share His with us. We can be free from distortion (John 8:31-32). We can see God for who He really is (John 17:3, 1John 5:20). We can see others as God intended (Mark 8:22-25). We can see ourselves as He does. God sees our faults, but not just as our Judge. He sees them as our Savior with the power and intent to help us. It is ironic that the most basic thing about ourselves God wants us to see is sometimes the hardest for us - that He loves us. God also wants us to see the events of our lives the way He does. God can take everything, good and bad, and make it all work together for our good (Romans 8:28). While we will never completely see the entire eternal picture that God sees in this life, He can give us peace and understanding now which can help us to someday get to that eternal point of reference He has.

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