Being filled with Jesus’ humanity

People would often tell me when they saw my children as youngsters, “Oh, how they look like you,” because children are little versions of their parents. As our children grow they develop several of our personality traits and mannerisms too. Later still they may even follow us into the same careers, or enjoy the same hobbies.

Similarly, God created us in his likeness, so in our humanity we’re little versions of him, the goal being that we develop and share his likeness more and more as we grow, just like our children develop and share more and more of what we are as adults as they grow. Unfortunately, we fell far short of God’s likeness because we believed the serpent’s lie that all we need as humans to become like God is to know good and evil (Genesis 3:5).

The serpent was clever because he was partly right: Knowing good and evil does make us like God, but only in the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:22). It doesn’t fill us with everything that God is. It’s like a child thinking he’s just like his Dad if he can repair a puncture in a bicycle tire like his Dad does. But just because he repairs tires like his Dad does, it doesn’t make him like his Dad in everything else his Dad is capable of.

God’s goal is to make us in the likeness of ALL that he is, but the serpent got us settling for less. So God sent Jesus in whom “all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,” Colossians 2:9 to fill US with the fullness of God in our bodily form too, verse 10. Jesus came in our limited form of humanity to give us the fullness of God’s form of humanity – which Jesus could do, of course, because HE IS the fullness of God in human form, so he’s fully qualified to make us into the fullness of God in human form too.

It is Jesus’ goal, therefore, to fill our humanity with the same fullness of God’s humanity that he has in himself, so that we are truly made in God’s image in every way, not just in knowing good and evil. Through the Holy Spirit Jesus is “transforming us into his likeness with ever-increasing glory,” 2 Corinthians 3:18, just like our children grow into our adult likeness with ever-increasing strength and brainpower. And one day our children become fully-fledged adults in their own right, just as God sent Jesus to make us into fully-fledged humans in the fullness of his humanity too.

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What Simeon saw in Jesus

Jesus was just over a month old when Simeon saw him. It wasn’t a chance meeting either, because “It had been revealed to Simeon by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ,” Luke 2:26. Clearly something vital in God’s plan was about to happen when the two met.

Why Simeon? Because he lived and breathed one hope and dream, that he would see the Messiah come to Israel in his lifetime. All Jews shared that dream, because it had been pumped into their heads for centuries. They knew the amazing prophecies in the Old Testament Scriptures that one day the Messiah would come, but it was Simeon that God wanted to reveal the Messiah to first. Why? Because of Simeon’s reaction, and a statement he would make that would rock the mind of anyone who understood what it implied.

Simeon, meanwhile, was about to have his dream come true because the Spirit made sure he was at the Temple on the very day Joseph and Mary arrived with Jesus to make the redemption payment for a firstborn child. When they handed over their son to Simeon the old man suddenly found himself staring down at a face he’d never seen before, but he knew exactly who it was.

To Joseph’s and Mary’s astonishment Simeon swung the boy high up in his arms and in a voice choking with emotion he thanked God and cried, “You can take my life any time now, my Master, because all that I longed for in this life of mine is right here in my arms. Here is the Saviour you promised I would see before I died, the Saviour that all nations will know about, Gentiles included, but destined for a special place of honour among your beloved people, Israel,” verses 28-32.

What Simeon saw in Jesus was the opening of a new era, a vast door clanking open through which the bright light of salvation would burst through and shine on every human being, Jew and Gentile, male and female, young and old, penetrating to the depths of the darkest jungle and piercing the conscience of the most hardened criminal. No one would be immune to the light and reality of a new world in existence.

And all people will know it, Simeon cried, because Jesus would “expose the garbage that fills people’s heads and hearts,” verse 35. Such would be the power of the Saviour as he set about healing the whole world of all that messed it up. And that healing is happening right now, as Simeon’s great prophecy continues through the centuries.