Why Christians need to stop saying "But That's Jesus..."
Jesus’s life was a dizzying series of supernatural healings, brilliant teachings, and actions that seem to defy understanding. It was so incredible that if we’re not careful we can catch ourselves saying, “But that was Jesus…”. We think that we are speaking out of humility when we say that we could never do some of the things Jesus did, but I would propose it's actually a subtle form of pride. Confused? Let me explain.
We have been taught that to elevate God, we have to talk more lowly of ourselves. We say things that contrast God's holiness with our sinfulness and his ability with our inability. I understand where it is coming from, but God actually calls us to be like him. To say that he is holy and that we are not causes some problems. We are called to live a life of holiness. To say that he is able to do great things and we are not denies the reality of the Holy Spirit in us to do the miraculous.
A few thoughts about humility and pride
I think that humility has been largely misunderstood in the church. Humility is not thinking or speaking poorly of yourself. Humility is agreeing with God about what he says about you. That means that there may be some incredible things that God is saying about you, but you may not be able to hear because of pride masquerading as false humility. If God says that you are his beloved son or daughter, and you disagree with him, it's not him that's wrong—it's you. To say that your maker doesn't have an accurate picture of who you are and that you probably have a better idea is a statement dripping with pride. But that's what we do when we disagree with God about what he says about us.
Pride and humility do not hinge on thinking of yourself highly or lowly. They hinge on listening to what God says about you and agreeing with him. Anything less or more is arrogance. God is the potter, we are the clay. Pride is when the clay turns to the potter that formed it and tries to dictate what it is. Humility is agreeing with whatever the potter says about you regardless of what you think he should be saying. I believe that our Potter has a much bigger destiny for us than we could ever have imagined.
What all this comes down to is: Don't put yourself in a box. I'll tell you why this is important.
We like to talk about not limiting God by putting him in a box, but do you want to know a secret? By putting yourself in a box you actually put God in a box as well. You are God's number one choice as a conduit for him to change the world. God lives inside of you and intends to operate in this world through his vessels. You are God's agent, but if his agent doesn't believe the great things that God says about him, there are some problems. It will reduce your effectiveness and limit what you believe God could do through you!
Well, that was Jesus, but it should be you too!
Jesus came into the world to make disciples, and in Jewish culture when a rabbi took on disciples, the disciples lived life with him with the intention of replicating the rabbi’s life in their own life. Jesus was no different. Romans 8:29 it says that God intends that we would be conformed to the image of his son. That means that in word and indeed we are supposed to be an image of Jesus.
Take some time to think about this. If we go back to the beginning of the book, to Genesis. We find that when God made man and woman he made them in his image and his likeness. From the very beginning, we were supposed to reflect God on this earth in every way.
Fast forward to the New Testament, we find that Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). If we connect the dots its plain to see that our life finds its original form in Jesus. That means that everything humans were meant to live since Genesis 1 is modeled perfectly in the life of Jesus. If we were meant to be the image of God, and Jesus was the image, then Jesus is what we are supposed to look like! The misunderstanding is reasonable. After all, Jesus is God and we are humans. What changes things is that we have God living on the inside of us. If we will give our lives to it, then he will conform us to the image of his son and there is no telling how close we could get.