The journey with Jesus
As noted frequently in this blog, the Son of God, our Creator and Sustainer, united himself to all humanity by adding humanity to his divinity in the person of the God-man, Jesus Christ.
Though not all people know of and thus personally experience this established union with Jesus, Christians do, and through the Holy Spirit they share actively in the Son's communion with his Father. Is their sharing perfect? No. Christians, like all human beings, are a work in progress. Therefore,I think it's helpful to think of this union leading to communion as a journey with Jesus. As I study Jesus' earthly life in Scripture, I see the journey as consisting of three basic steps (or, better yet, patterns of being and doing) that are grounded in and expressive of God's own life and love:
1. Seeking the lost
The journey begins for all people in a condition of not knowing of their true identity in Jesus (as it says in Col. 3:3, our true life is "hidden in Christ with God"). Jesus refers to such people as 'lost' (as in lost sheep, see Luke 15:3-7). Though Jesus is their devoted, loving shepherd (they belong to him and are united to him), they have no recognition of this reality. And so Jesus seeks after them (Luke 19:10), so that they may come to know him, and in knowing, to follow him.
2. Nurturing believers
In the power of the Holy Spirit, through Jesus' initiative (often involving his followers with him), the lost become found - the blind begin to see - the deaf begin to hear - the lame begin to walk - non-believers become believers. Jesus, with the assistance of the church, nurtures these believers in the faith - building them up in Christ (Col 2:7) and helping them to walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:25). As this transformation occurs, their union with Jesus becomes communion - an active sharing with Jesus in his own fellowship with his Father and with all humanity.
3. Equipping workers
As this communion deepens, these 'babes in Christ' (no matter their chronological age), are led by the Holy Spirit, who equips them through the church (Eph 4:11-13) to become 'workers' with Jesus (Mat 9:37-38). As workers, they share actively and skillfully with Jesus in what he is doing to seek the lost, to nurture believers and to equip others to be active workers with Jesus.
A way of being and becoming
This participation in the love and life of Jesus is not merely about 'Sunday-best' behavior. Rather, it's a 24-7 way of life in union and communion with God. Is this pie in the sky stuff? No, it is real sharing in Jesus' actual life in communion with his Father and with all humanity through his continuing incarnation. Do we share in Jesus' divine-human communion perfectly? Of course not. As noted earlier, we're a work in progress - on a journey toward glorification in Christ; and we're not there yet. However, we are becoming more and more who we truly are in Christ (Eph 2:10).
And so we journey forward with Jesus - confident and trusting in his power and perfection (Mat 11:28). We look to Jesus and away from ourselves, knowing that he accepts and loves us where we are, even while he leads us forward to become all that he has created us to be. Enjoy the journey!