The Weakness of Christ the Man

By John Thiel, The Power of the Cross Conference, mp3

The power of God can actually operate through Jesus Christ. You cannot appreciate the power of God unless you realise your weakness and your smallness. In our weakness and depravity which is the law of sin in my members, the moment that we want to do what is right because our mind has been affected by the purity of God and His truth and His law, we immediately discover there is a law in our members that fights against the law and the expectations of God.

According to the words of Apostle Paul, he says there is a law in my members that works contrary to the law of my mind. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death, from this power? We read that there is a way by which we can actually conquer the weakness of our sinful flesh.

The body is the only medium through which the mind and the soul are developed for the upbuilding of character. Hence it is that the adversary of souls directs his temptations to the enfeebling and degrading of the physical powers. His success here means the surrender to evil of the whole being. The tendencies of our physical nature, unless under the dominion of a higher power, will surely work ruin and death. {MH 130.1}

What is that? It is the tendencies of our physical nature. In our physical nature we are depraved, we have a personality trait that is governed by chemistry, the chemicals of our hormones. Whether it be the slushy emotional weaknesses of the sensual nature of the sexual hormones or whether it be lethargy of not enough thyroxin or whether it be the violence and antagonism that comes through the adrenalin rush in the system. Whatever it is, it is the law of sin, the physical nature that must be kept under dominion of some other power.

The body is to be brought into subjection. The higher powers of the being are to rule. The passions (which are the hormonal impulses), are to be controlled by the will, which is itself to be under the control of God. The kingly power of reason, sanctified by divine grace, is to bear sway in our lives. {MH 130.2}

What is to bear sway in our lives? It is the kingly power of reason. It’s a power that must control the impulses, the thoughts and feelings that come which is a law of sin in our members. You can see there is something I must do to conquer. We are to gain the mastery and we must fight lawfully so we must understand the laws. The law of sin versus the law of God and battling lawfully. To give us the correct appreciation of this we have an example. That example is Jesus.

Our study is the weakness of Christ the man. Was Jesus the man weak? That is what we want to study so we can learn from Him because we are here to uplift Jesus. What does it mean to trust Him? This is the practical study that we want to get into now.

When God saw us in our human depravity in our human weakness, He had compassion for us. He will not always be angry because He remembers that we are flesh. He is a God who understands this problem. Although He was very hurt about man not obeying Him, He was filled with grief which is His wrath but He will not always be wrath because He remembers.

He remembers that we are flesh. In His effort to try to help us, He said I have found a ransom. When you look at a ransom, it is something that purchases us from captivity. We are in captivity to the law of sin which is in our members. To pay us out of that captivity as a ransom; that ransom has to have the ingredient of the depravity from which we are to be purchased.

Divinity is the power of the value that we are purchased by, but to be purchased out of depravity, there must be the human factor in that ransom. That was what Jesus was about. In Him the divine and the human were intermingled. The weak flesh that you and I have was there with Jesus. The hormonal inheritance that we are all born with, the law of sin in the flesh, that was there from the moment of His conception. It was the ingredient of Mary; her ovum was there and the Holy Spirit infused the divine nature into the ovum and now there was Jesus the ransom; the divine and human. The question we want to get an answer to is; was Jesus truly weak? In other words, was He the man that was exactly like you and me who not of Himself attained to perfection? Could He do it Himself? Was He so weak like you and me so that He needed a helper? Was that the case?

Isaiah 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, [there is] no beauty that we should desire him.

The kind of description that is given of Jesus is very clear that He was a very weak human element. Can you see the root out of a dry ground? What is the human nature? There is no spiritual moisture there. He came up as a root out of a dry ground.

Isaiah 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

What has He borne? He has borne our grief. Are you grieved like it says in Romans chapter 7? Wretched man that I am! Isn’t that grief? I am trying to do right and I can’t do the right. Here it says He bore the griefs, He carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. Did God smite His Son? Why? He did it because He inherited and received the full gamut of our depravity. He was weak like us.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isn’t that right? Our natural course is our own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. When that took place:

Isaiah 53:12 He shall see of the travail of his soul, [and] shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

What is this saying? He bore our iniquities and He had a knowledge that you and I have; my weak human nature. By His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many.

Isaiah 53:12 Therefore will I divide him [a portion] with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

When it says here that He had a knowledge, it was the knowledge of the iniquity of us all that He came to pay a ransom for and He was numbered with the transgressors. What did Jesus say in reference to this Scripture? Most people read that and say He was on the cross between the two transgressors. This is true, Sr. White says the same but that’s not all that is involved here. When He was numbered with the transgressors there is more.

Luke 22:37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.

He is quoting directly from Isaiah. What did Jesus say in reference to that? I say unto you that this is to be accomplished where? It is to be accomplished in Him. That which is in you, that which is in me, was in Christ. He was numbered with the transgressors. He was numbered as one of them.

It all makes sense when you understand there is a company of transgressors over there. We say look at all those criminals, and Jesus is among them. He was numbered among them. In the sense of the law of sin in my members that makes me so weak and so incapable of doing and fighting lawfully I need someone to help me. Jesus was the ransom that came to help. He was numbered with the transgressors. This took place He said, in me.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Here is a profound statement. We cannot be righteous because we have the law of sin in our members. We have been told that if we are going to conquer, we must fight lawfully, we must let the power of the mind and reason control me, but have you tried? How successful have you been? There must be some way.

The remedy to this problem is in Jesus. Here it is again. In Him the transgression was identified together with us. He hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin. What for? That we might be made the righteousness of God in him. All these words are often read over and don’t really register. What does it mean in Him? It is an internal experience which the law of sin is declared to be in me as in my mind there is the law of God and it is all in me, and it’s in Jesus. Jesus is one with us and we are in Him and He is in us. The whole thing becomes a reality.

What made it such that Jesus could be made sin? When was it that Jesus actually expressed Himself in the weakness of our condition?

John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily,

He repeats that twice. In other words, truly, this is true.

John 5:19 I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

How weak was Jesus? He could do nothing of Himself. If I try to do it myself, I can’t succeed. Just like you and me. The Son can do nothing of Himself. This is truly true He says. Don’t doubt it, this is reality. Most people come away from the story of Jesus and think Jesus has got something over me. No, He said, I can do nothing of myself.

John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

Here is the ransom; He is like us as a human being, totally weak. Of mine own self I can do nothing. That was the ransom that the Lord has sent so that we can find the remedy, the action that is required to fight lawfully for the mastery. He gives us not only the instruction, but He shows us Jesus.

I love singing that song we would see Jesus. This is what we want to do here at this camp, we want to see the power that is the power that gives the weakness of our nature the ability to fight lawfully and gain the mastery. Jesus could do nothing and in our own situation we have the problem as well.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Try to couple all this together. I can do nothing, I can’t succeed. Jesus said I cannot succeed, I can of mine own self do nothing. He also says this when he says you can do nothing just as the vine cannot produce fruit in John chapter 15. There is the principle. Then Apostle Paul says O wretched man! Who can deliver me from the body of this death? I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. I can do all things through Christ. Discover this principle; through Christ, discover that Jesus could do nothing then learn of Him how to do all things because it’s all in Jesus.

People want a religion that is magic. Just believe in Jesus and everything will be fine. No, to believe in Jesus means we look at Him. In my weakness I cannot succeed, I cannot do anything right. Jesus said neither can I. I am here with you, but learn of Me. You can do all things through Me. That word through is the operative word that correctly helps us to understand that I must actually engage together with Jesus so that through Him I can do all things.

John 15:5 I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Here we are we have proven that we are so weak that we can do nothing. Jesus says I can do nothing either; I am here with you, but I have one ingredient in me and that is I am going to trust God the Father. If you will be in me, if you will connect my mind together with your sinful body like my mind was in my sinful body, you are going to get the answer. You are going to be in me and I am going to be in you and you have the internal connection by which you will be able to do all things; for without me you cannot achieve that. God has provided you me, so that you can achieve it.

He laid upon Him the sins of us all. He was numbered with the transgressors. He was one with the transgressor and He was made to be sin with us so He became a sin-laden soul. Was Jesus a sin-laden soul? It says it, He bore all our sins, and He was heavily loaded with our sins. Jesus, because of our weakness, was made the same.

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin,

Marginal reading, as a sacrifice for sin.

Romans 8:3 ….condemned sin in the flesh:

Through Him we who are frail and weak may understand what to do because He was frail and weak. In the likeness of sinful flesh, He received in the flesh what we have. Some people think to be like is not exactly the same. When you say he is like him, what does that mean? It means what we understand naturally. Some people argue theologically that like is not exactly the same, but the fact is it is a twist of words. He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh.

That He might by His own example condemn sin in the flesh, He took upon Himself the likeness of sinful flesh. {AG 322.3}

If He is going to be an example to condemn sin in the flesh, does that mean He had to work against the sin in His flesh? That is common sense reasoning. He gave us an example what to do with the sin in the flesh, with our hormonal nature. He came and He received sinful flesh that had exactly the same ingredients in it so that He said, of mine own self I can do nothing. He was numbered with the transgressors; that was fulfilled in Him.

Hebrews 2:13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. 14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 16 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

In His terrible despairing condition He was numbered with the transgressors, He says I will put my trust in God. Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Here we are together, transgressors together. He was numbered with the transgressors. Although I am with these people in their deplorable situation I can’t do anything of myself, I cry to God and I will put my trust in Him. He trusted in God to save Him. He showed us when He was us what to do. Jesus became us that we might do as He did. That is what it said, through Jesus Christ. What did Jesus do? This is what Apostle Paul was crying out, O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of death? Then he says, I thank God not that Jesus did it, but through Jesus Christ. Jesus depended on God like we have to depend on God.

Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

Of mine own self I can do nothing He said. I am going to hang onto God. Now I am in this deplorable situation of sin in the flesh that wants to control me and I can’t control it of myself. I am hanging here, I am here in Gethsemane, I am here on the cross and I can’t, I am overwhelmed. He cries in the days of His flesh with strong crying and tears. Why did He do that? He could do nothing; He was showing us the way.

Someone that is crying because he can’t help himself is the description. You read about the record of Him crying with strong crying and tears. The description of the strong crying and tears can be read of in Psalm 69. This is the Scripture that I often go to because here you have not only the announcement that He was crying strongly, but His person cry which you and I when we are trying to gain the mastery and realise that we can’t do it we will cry, O agony I can’t change! Can you see how important it is to search the Scriptures not just to have the abstract announcement of Him crying but you actually see the living cry.

Psalm 69:1 Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto [my] soul. 2 I sink in deep mire, where [there is] no standing: 3 I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.

He is overwhelmed with the muddy waters of sin.

Psalm 69:3 I am weary of my crying:

Have you ever cried so much that you can’t cry anymore? There is such an urge to cry.

Psalm 69:3 …my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.

I can of mine own self do nothing; I am waiting for my God.

Pslam 69:4 They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, [being] mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored [that] which I took not away. 5 O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.

Is that somebody crying with strong crying and tears? Who is that speaking about?

Psalm 69:20 Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked [for some] to take pity, but [there was] none; and for comforters, but I found none. 21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

This is Jesus speaking. There He is with strong crying in the days of His flesh. God save me, I can’t save myself. Why? Because the sins of the flesh are overwhelming me. I need your help. With strong crying and tears He cried.

Psalm 69:13 But as for me, my prayer [is] unto thee, O LORD, [in] an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.

Save me God, I can of mine own self do nothing. Something is provided for us here, something powerful is provided for us. We are given the practical living experience of our own cry. The total trust that Jesus needed to exercise shows us what we should exercise. When He was crying like this, when He was crying out for God to save Him, did He feel that God was hearing Him? Have you ever felt that way? You cry to God for help and you don’t feel that you are being helped.

Psalm 22

Rally to the thought of what we read before. He is weak together with me not for the sake of going down in discouragement and into despair and to total depression which people fall into. Here we have our Saviour coming to experience us so that we would have hope in that situation. Here in Psalm 22 He expressed what a sinner will express because he feels no answer to his prayer. My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? Why art Thou so far from helping me and from the words of my roaring? He cried with strong crying and tears and he said I am roaring to you and you are not answering me. That is exactly how a sinner feels.

Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? [why art thou so] far from helping me, [and from] the words of my roaring? 2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

Here He is feeling completely depraved because God is not hearing Him, but what does He say?

Psalm 22:3 But thou [art] holy, [O thou] that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.

Can you see what He is saying here? He is saying I read the story of how you helped others but I am not being helped. Awaken to what He is going through. This is so essential that we actually really come to this because when sin overwhelms us like He said, like a flood, sinking in the mud, when this is all happening to us most people say that is too bad I’m lost. I may as well give up. Does Jesus give up? No, I am going to trust you. They trusted in Thee and you helped them. Well here I am in an acceptable time I am lost and this is acceptable to you when I cry to you because the humble contrite soul God cannot resist. That’s the acceptable time.

Psalm 22:6 But I [am] a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip; they shake the head, [saying],

There’s a double suffering there.

Psalm 22: 7 …they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, [saying], 8 He trusted on the LORD [that] he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

When people rub salt into the wound when everything is against you because of your own sin and then they say look at that; that is what Jesus was suffering.

Psalm 22:9 But thou [art] he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope [when I was] upon my mother’s breasts. 10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou [art] my God from my mother’s belly. Be not far from me; for trouble [is] near; for [there is] none to help.

Just to satisfy our minds again Jesus is speaking this.

Psalm 22:17 They may tell all my bones: they look [and] stare upon me. 18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. 19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me.

Here is strong crying and tears; we are to be saved through them. In the days of His flesh He showed us the way no matter how weak and sinful we feel, no matter how much depression we are tempted to succumb to we are to trust the Lord as Jesus did. Sinners usually give up but Jesus who became us decided to trust the Lord even in the depth of despair. Did Jesus give up? We know He didn’t because what did He do when He was hanging on the cross and in that horrible description that we have just been reading, what did He say?

Luke 23:43-46 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

He cried My God why hast Thou forsaken me? That was written in Matthew. There He was hanging and the Father wasn’t hearing Him but He said I am going to throw myself into your care no matter how hopeless it feels; I am going to trust you.

David in Psalms 51 with a broken and a contrite heart says O Lord Thou will not despise. Here I am, God, I am going to cast myself into your hands and He gave up the ghost. He died with only the assurance of faith that is all. Dependent faith was the only way by which He worked a path of recovery for us.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Did Jesus diligently seek the Father? Did He believe that God would reward Him for His dependence upon Him? He did because faith is the only thing that will please God; to trust Him. To know that this sinner is going to trust in me and not going to give up until I help him. There was Jesus showing us the way through which we may be saved. Here is the perfect answer to His faith. He cast Himself upon God, Father into Your hands I commend my spirit.

Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

He didn’t know that He heard His cry until He was resurrected again. He went into a death of a person who was condemned to die forever but He cast Himself on God.

Psalm 40:2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, [and] established my goings. 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, [even] praise unto our God: many shall see [it], and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

There are many, not all, but there are many who will look at Jesus and in the depravity of their own weakness rely on God as Jesus demonstrated and trust Him even when He feels absolutely lost and God won’t even hear Him. He still will not let go.

Psalm 40:4 Blessed [is] that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

There are lies out there of salvation that is some other way; this is the only true way for salvation. Blessed [is] that man that maketh the LORD his trust, in such a circumstance, respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies, to other ways of salvation. There is only one.

There is no man for whom there is no hope; it is demonstrated by Christ. The reason why people are not saved is because they don’t pick up that hope when they are overwhelmed with the wickedness of their own nature.

The Scripture reading that we had now comes into focus for us who are weak, Jesus became weak with us and we can only be saved through this process.

2 Corinthians 13:4 For though he was crucified through weakness,

Why did He die? He died because His sinful flesh was weak and God stirred all the sins of all the hereditary of the past in Him. He died, He was crucified through weakness.

2 Corinthians 13:4 yet he liveth by the power of God.

This is our theme, the power of the cross. Where is the power of the cross demonstrated? It is in the weakness of humanity who trusts the power of God.

2 Corinthians 13:5 For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.

There is the crux of the faith of Jesus. Do you remember what it is for the people of the last days?

Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Here are the people who don’t give up. This is so precious to me. We are to be perfect but we are not. The 144,000 are to be without sin; we are not. We have failed, we have gone wrong and we think that counts me out. No, don’t give up. Here is the patience. I waited patiently for the Lord.

As with the story of Joshua and the angel, he was there with filthy garments in the time of the judgment hour and the filthy garments were removed because he trusted the Lord like Jesus did. The people of the last days, here is the patience of the saints, here are they that keep the commandments of God, but why? It is because they have the faith of Jesus.

Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin.

We have a knowledge of sin; we know how sinful we are because the law shows us.

Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

We have just studied it; this is the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. If we believe that, not just believe in Him but by believing in Him following His story until we are justified by the redemption that is in Him, rising up together with Him, trusting the Father as He trusted Him; a faith that will not let go. What does that remind you of? The battle of Jacob where he was in the very situation of struggling with Him who he thought was an enemy. That is the way it feels. It doesn’t feel as though it is a blessing to engage with Jesus. The sinful flesh finds it that way, it seems like it is horrible, why should I go through this death experience? Then realising as the angel touched him on the thigh, I am dealing with the mighty God, he held on to Him. I will not let Thee go until you bless me. That is what Jesus did at the cross; that is what we are to do under the Joshua and the angel’s experience. We must prevail with God as Jacob did and as Jesus did.

Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

Where has He reconciled us?

Colossians 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and [be] not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, [and] which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

How meaningful these Scriptures are once we understand this subject. We must prevail with God, we must continue in the faith grounded and settled not to be moved away from the hope of the gospel.

This is what people are failing to do, they are lost, they do not prevail, they do not move on lawfully. This is the lawful way of dealing with it. Now in our deplorable time in which we are living overwhelmed by Satan and our flesh repeatedly, we have failed and we feel that is too bad now we are lost because iniquity abounds we feel; what is the use? What happens with a lot of people?

Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Can we see the meaning of this? Iniquity abounds. We have fallen ourselves in this iniquitous perilous time, but instead of letting our love grow cold it must go stronger as we see His wonderful story of redemption in the gospel.

In the most horrendous time, in the hopelessness as Jesus described, to still trust God and cast ourselves unreservedly upon Him until He lifts us up. This is the one who will endure until the end. Only as I see my own weakness and His with me we will hold together in hopeless dependence. Jesus felt that there was no hope for him but He would cast Himself and depend. This is the ingredient by which we will finally come through to victory. This is the hope of the gospel and this is the power of the cross.

Posted on June 17, 2014, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel, The Power of the Cross and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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