Today at church, our lesson was focused specifically on the life of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we claim to be devoted followers of Christ and to emulate His perfect example. As part of the lesson, our instructor asks the class to think about what events in Christ's life that really defined him. What were the defining moments, the moments of truth, that set Jesus Christ apart from anyone else.
EXAMPLE OF FAITH
One such defining moment in the Life of Christ for me was how Christ responded to temptation. After he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights the scriptures tell us that Satan came tempting. I wonder if many Christians take for granted the possibility that Christ may not have had a perfect knowledge of who He was and what his mission was to be. I wonder if Christ was born into this world with a veil of forgetfulness of His prior life just as all people are. With this in mind, I remember the continual jeers of Satan who tempted "If thou art the Christ, then change these stones into bread." and "If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence (pinnacle of the temple)" Then later on the Cross, again the people mocked, "if thou art the Christ, come down off the cross." and again, "He saved other, but himself he cannot save." However, despite not having a perfect knowledge from the beginning and having to grow from grace to grace, Christ exemplified perfect faith in never doubting who He was and His purpose to save all mankind from sin and death. Like Jesus Christ, Satan tries to get us to doubt that we are spiritual children of our Heavenly Father.
EXAMPLE OF OBEDIENCE
Another defining moment of Christ's character was His submission to the will of the Father in getting baptized and being crucified. At the start of Christ's mortal ministry, He went to John the Baptist to be baptized of him by water in the River Jordan. Upon seeing Christ, John replied "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" In response, Jesus said, "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness". Even thou Christ was sinless and had no need to be baptized for the remission of sin, Christ submitted to the will of the Father to set us an example and mark the gate we are to enter to the Kingdom of God. And much later, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ submits to take upon Him the sins of the world by saying, 'If it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt;" Again, Christ exemplified complete submission and obedience to the will of the Father in all things even when that obedience resulted in taking upon Him the sins and pains and sufferings of His people.
EXAMPLE OF PATIENCE
Lastly, I think other defining moments in Christ's life were how He responded to His enemies. To the scholars and Pharisees who came tempting, He met their challenges with thoughtful questions of His own. To Judas who would betray Him, he did not call him out in front of of the other 11 Apostles, but privately excused him saying, "what thou doest do quickly." Later in front of Pilate and Herod Antipas, we are told by Isaiah that Christ would face great injustice and pains yet he would "open not His mouth." How many of us wouldn't feel justified in complaining about the injustice of it all and be tempted to "curse God and die." Yet, Christ again submitted to the will of the Father in all things and patiently bore the persecutions. Isaiah foretold that Christ would "[give] my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting."
Isa 53:3 "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: . . Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. . . and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.