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JESUS

What Did He Think of Himself?

CHAPTER 5

Jesus is considered by many to be the Son of God, and so He is. He is considered to be the salvation for this race of men, and so He is. Besides this, He knew He was the salvation of the world and He knew He was the Son of God. Here was a man who knew this of Himself.

Knowing this, He also considered Himself. "...The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." (John 5:19) Jesus knew He could do nothing of Himself. He did not say to people, "I am God and you had better do as I say." Even though this would have been a true statement, it would have come from a self-centered perspective. Even though it would be true that Jesus was God and men aught to obey Him, the statement of itself would emanate from an attitude of Satan.

"...When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself...." (John 8:28) This is the true perspective of a God-centered individual: I do nothing of myself; those things the Father tells me to do are the things that I do. This does not come from a perspective of boastful self-exaltation, but rather from the perspective of faith and experience.

He Saw Himself

Lucifer was the antithesis of Jesus. It was true that he was the reflection of God. Lucifer was as his name suggested, "light bearer". He stood next to Christ in all his glory. The angels loved receiving instructions from him but there was one major difference—he saw himself. "Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness...." (Eze. 28:17) When Lucifer took notice of his brightness and attributed that brightness to himself, it became iniquity. He forgot that he could do nothing without God. He forgot that he was nothing without God. As his center became himself, all his beauty and brightness became corruption.

To be bright is not evil. To perfectly reflect the image of Christ is not evil. To notice that brightness as one's own and to recognize that brightness as your own goodness becomes the act of self-destruction.

As with a storage battery, as long as it receives energy from another source, it is useful. As long as it gives energy for another purpose it is useful; but when its energy is turned upon itself, it soon loses all its power and is a thing dead, lifeless and burned.

All beauty upon the earth comes from the great Life-giver. God is the center of all power and light. From the flowers that grace the hills and valleys to the suns that fill the heavens, there is one source of power for all of it the Father. Without Him we can do nothing. Without Him there is no worth of any kind for anything.

Jesus came as a man. He was a man. He gave us the picture of our own victory in life. It was His own dependence on His Father. All things come from Him. All things are in Him and without Him there will be nothing.

We can see the contrast in the two perspectives mentioned here. Suppose all of nature, on the one hand, beheld its own beauty. What if all of the flowers and trees spent the whole day looking at themselves commenting on how beautiful they were? What if all of the little animals would be over at the pond beholding their reflection?

In reality, things are quite different. The things of nature rarely, if ever, see themselves. They just go about being who they are. In the Christian church it is not uncommon to hear apostates extolling their numbers or exploits. Sometimes they tell of their noble people and their wonderful families. Only humans and Satan can do this. All of the rest of nature simply goes about doing what it should.

They Enjoy Being

So it is with Christ and His followers. They hear what the Father says and they set about to do it. They do not take credit or glory for whatever they do. They just love doing what they do. They enjoy being what they are because that is what God is. The sons of God do not compare themselves amongst themselves. There is no need.

In a toolbox, does the hammer boast of itself against the wrench? Which is better? When the wrench is needed, it is the most important tool; but when a hammer is needed, it is the most important. Neither one is better than the other. Why humans boast of themselves can be explained in no other way than that they have Satan's nature, since he is the one who first saw his own brightness.

When human beings are born again into the Spirit of God, they do not see their brightness. Yes, they are bright, but it is invisible to them. "Thus it is with the truly righteous man. He is unconscious of his goodness and piety. Religious principle has become the spring of his life and conduct, and it is just as natural for him to bear the fruits of the Spirit as for the fig tree to bear figs or for the rosebush to yield roses." (SL 13)

Only God Is Good

"And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God." (Luke 18:18-19) Jesus said that none is good save one. God is good and there is none other. Jesus was as we are. He knew He could do nothing of Himself. He had taken on the attributes of God as we do, but He had laid down the prerogatives of God. "Christ revealed no qualities and exercised no powers that men may not have through faith in Him." (DA 664)

Jesus had all the attributes of God. These attributes He gives to His followers. In His earthly life He was guarded never to take the prerogatives of God. Man is not called upon to do this. Christ came not to show us what God can do but what men can do who believe in God. He was the human example of our own course if we are to be His children.

In all this He said, "Only God is good". Surely all of us have seen good men. No, we have not. We have only seen God. That is, God the attribute. There is only one good and that is God. The mystery that is evident is how one who has received all the attributes of God, and who lives all the attributes of God, sees that only God is good. The more we are imbued with the attributes of God, the more unworthy we appear in our own eyes. The more we reflect the image of Christ, the more we understand our need of God. We understand that without Him we can do nothing.

The other side of this is that the more we understand that we are unworthy and nothing before God, the more invincible we become. We cannot be overcome by man or angel if our hold is firmly upon our Saviour. Jesus came to show us the way of a victorious man. He did not come to show us the way of a victorious God. He came to prepare our path, not so that we will not have to walk that path but because we must all walk that path. His footsteps are precisely laid where ours must lie.

Take a look at His life. Here was a man who possessed all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Yet His way was humble. He cared for the needs of the lowest classes of society. He was abused by family and friends. Most of His church deserted Him. He gained the victory over every human besetment and ended His work on a cruel cross. In all this, He was in control. The mobs could not take His life before His time. When the time came for Jesus to lay down His life, He did it without complaint. This is the pathway we must all travel if we expect to enter into those heavenly courts.

We may not have to go to a literal cross and have nails hammered into our hands, but we will all have to go to a cross of some sort. "...If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." (Matt. 16:24-25)

How many I have seen who think too much of themselves. When the test comes from church, family or friends, the cowardly retreat away from the cross and follow after their familiar associations. Some are willing to go as far as the cross, some are willing to suffer humiliation and discomfort for a time; but when one is called upon to be nailed to the cross, there are few that take that final necessary step.

They Must Experience The Nails

No man will enter into the kingdom of God who does not experience in some way those cold nails being driven into his palms. These may not be literal nails, but the pain is experienced just as surely. When our pride is at stake and we are made to be brought into the dust, many rise up in rebellion and save their "life". By doing so they lose their spiritual life. When men are called upon to sacrifice so that they feel they will lose all, some at this point will raise up self and hold back to save their existence and, by that, lose all that they have.

When we think of ourselves as Jesus thought of Himself, we will live. But when we think too much of ourselves, we will die. Jesus is our example of what man aught to think of himself. "Only God is good." Yes, Jesus knew who He was. He was the Son of God. Yes, we too know who we are. We are the sons of God. We have His attributes and "only God is good". God's goodness becomes our goodness by faith. His life is our life by faith. That is by believing in that life, His supernatural power comes into our being and He becomes our own life and that life is God.

The day will soon come when Jesus will return for those who have reflected His image. He will raise those from the dead who have been laid to rest in the grave. Others who are alive will be raised up with them. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

This will not be a mere act of magic on the part of our Savior to bring us back to life again. No, it is the life already in us that is responding to the call of the King. "Christ became one flesh with us, in order that we might become one spirit with Him. It is by virtue of this union that we are to come forth from the grave, not merely as a manifestation of the power of Christ, but because, through faith, His life has become ours." (DA 388)

Our life is actually His own life. If a man thinks too much of himself, he cannot partake of this life. He has to know that he can do nothing of himself. We know that we have eternal life. That is--we will never die. Jesus said, "Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." (John 11:25-26) No, we will never die. Jesus said it. His life is our life and that is everlasting life. This is for those who have no trust in themselves, as Jesus had no trust in Himself. This is for those who know that only God is good. This experience is for those who will walk the path that Jesus walked.

Knowing Oneself As Dust

The benefits of knowing that one is dust are numerous. Suppose you were a worker in a shipbuilding yard. You were in charge of fastening huge steel plates to a giant crane that would lift these parts into position for welding. Can you imagine for one moment thinking you are powerful enough to lift the steel plate yourself? Can you imagine shouting up to the crane operator to go ahead and let the plate drop, for you were big enough to handle it?

Look at the benefits of knowing you are dust. It would never enter your mind to dispense with the crane. In this would be your safety. Trusting in God to handle the weight of any project is truly a safe and secure place to live. Some might say, "Well, you are speaking of the large jobs. You don't need a crane to carry out the trash". That is so, but you need God to carry out the trash.

The Biblical record shows the folly of assuming you are big enough for anything by yourself. The children of Israel thought they were quite sufficient to take the small city of Ai. "And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labor thither; for they are but few." The results were evident. "So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water." (Joshua 7:3-5)

No One Uses God

We should remember that there is a counterfeit. The false understanding of the using of the power of God is that we use God to do whatever it is that we desire. The true understanding of the process is that God uses us. If we use God to do our desires, then we are making ourselves God. If God uses us to do His desires, then He is making us God. That is we are His manifestation. If people see us, they see the Father. If we use God for our purposes, then we are seeking to make Him into our own image.

Jesus was not making God into His image, but placing Himself in such a relation with His Father that He was His Father's image. When we are subject to the crane master, we have all our burdens lifted from us by him. We are not made so that we can do without the master builder. He can show us how to do the simplest task or the most difficult.

We are to remember that we are the clay and not the potter. When we remember that we are partakers of the attributes of God; when we remember that we are the sons of God; when we remember that we are but dust, we become God manifested in the flesh. When people see us, they will see the Father because we have remembered that we are dust.

We have seen where men forget that they are dust. They make themselves God and the result is that they desire to use God for their own purposes. In this they must fail. Their lives will reveal the fallen hopes of man. Sin and grief will be their constant companion. They will lie, cheat and steal, thinking they do God service.

The invitation that has been extended to you is to trust that God will reveal Himself in you. Take not the reigns of your own life. Lift not your own burdens, but let the burden-bearer lift them. Let God be God and let you be His vessel. Let Him bear the responsibility of the outcome. If I am working in a shipyard and the crane has just lifted my load to place in position, I am free of it. Now the crane operator must take the responsibility. If I still cling to the load, I find myself under the greatest of burdens; for I not only have to bear my own load, but also the crane as well.

Jesus said, "Of mine own self I can do nothing". Jesus also said, "...All things are possible to him that believeth". (Mark. 9:23) That is all things are possible if you know that you are dust and that you trust in the all-sufficient One.


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