The Problem With Exaltation
Right off the bat, I want to get something straight. I do believe that Jesus is worthy to be exalted. He is the only one who is. The problem with only seeing Him as exalted is the inability to see Him as He really was while here on Earth. He was and is fully God, and He was and still is fully man, fully human. Take a quick Google Images search for “Jesus” and see what you find. Mostly, you’ll find a tall thin white guy with long hair and a well-trimmed beard. But, you’ll also notice that His robes are always Oxy Clean and He’s either wearing a Frisbee on His head or He’s sporting a shine that only the most expensive shampoo and conditioner can offer.
I don’t find anywhere in scripture that suggests that Jesus was physically distinguishable from anyone else. I also can’t find where he owned a horse or a donkey, so I’m pretty sure He walked everywhere He went. According to MyWellnessWarriors.com, Jesus walked over 3,100 miles just during His three-year ministry alone and a grand total of over 21,000 miles during His life. That leads to the question of how did He keep His robes so clean?
So why do Christians have such a problem with the humanity of Jesus? Why is it so hard to believe that He was just as human as you or me? He had to eat, sleep, clip His fingernails, and (are you ready for this?) even had to “use the restroom”. So is it such a stretch to see in scripture where He felt love, grief, anger and all of the other very human emotions, and acted upon them.
I hope to cover just a few of these amazing stories in scripture and dissect them through eyes that long to see our Savior for who He really is.
On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. LUKE 5:1-11
Here we find Jesus and His best friends in a boat after a very long day of fishing and preaching. He thinks to Himself “Fish fry sounds awesome right now”, so he asks Simon to throw his nets out and catch us some grub. But Simon’s all like “Dude! We fished all morning and didn’t catch a thing, THEN we had to deal with all these people that keep coming to hear you. We’re whipped man. But, because you’re so awesome, and a fish fry does sound amazing, we’ll give it another try, just because You say so.” So they let down their nets and BAM! the fish are there just waiting to jump in. In fact, they almost sink their boat with the weight of the haul and have to ask for help from another boat. So Simon say’s “Jesus, I am totally not worthy to be hanging with you.” and Jesus says “Chill bro, from now on you’ll be catching men. AAAAH! See what I did there?”
After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.
When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. JOHN 21:1–12
Jesus was just crucified and buried. His friends were beside themselves with pain and grief. Their world turned upside down. They decide to do what they know and enjoy. They go fishing, and they get skunked. Then Jesus walks up, hiding his identity, “Hey, catch anything? Did you try the other side of the boat?” Like to say, “Hey knuckleheads, there’s more water right behind you.” I find it so precious that a carpenter keeps sticking it to these professional fishermen by telling them how to do their jobs. Then Simon and company realize “Hey! That’s Jesus! Aaw, He got us again!”
The gospels are full of these stories if you just know how to interpret them. Stop reading the great stories as if they are some other-worldly happenings that just don’t apply to what we go through.
I had intended on expounding on many more of these stories, but I didn’t realize how much I had to say about them. Take the list of scriptures below and read the stories like they are stories. Put yourself in the story. Find the humor, the anger, the grief and the pain in them:
I would love to hear your interpretation of these stories in the comments below.