THE ATTITUDE OF JESUS CHRIST
by Wayne S. Walker
As we read the accounts of Jesus’s earthly life as recorded in the gospel record, we must study carefully His teaching and His actions, and ask ourselves if these are the actions and sayings of a just another human being. Did He react to situations as mere men usually do? Would a Jewish imposter, cheat, and fraud have so behaved himself? Even the people of His day saw that there was something different about Him. On one occasion, some officers who had been sent by the Pharisees and chief priests to arrest Jesus returned and said, "No man ever spoke like this Man!" (John 7:46). Thus, the attitude of Jesus sets Him apart from all other men and adds to the cumulative evidence of His deity.
Jesus was completely void of worldly ambition. He said that His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). Men of worldly ambition desire money, power, and fame. Jesus sought none of these (Luke 9:57-59). And He taught His followers that they are hindrances to His true purpose (Luke 12:15). Instead of trying to win the support of influential leaders of His day, He rebuked them for their ungodliness (Matthew 23:13-16). Rather, He cultivated relationships with the poor and common people (Luke 5:27-32). Most importantly, He chose not worldly things but the method of suffering and death to establish His kingdom (Matthew 16:21).
Jesus never expressed doubt on any subject. Numerous attempts were made to trick Him and by so doing diminsh His influence, but all such attempts failed. In Matthew 22, we have three examples of this. In verses 15-22 the Herodians asked if it was lawful to pay tribute to Caesar, hoping to put Him between the rock of supporting the hated Romans and the hard place of rebelling against them, but even they themselves marvelled at the wisdom of His answer. In verses 23-33 the Saducees asked Him about marriage in the resurrection, hoping to catch Him in uncertainty, but He answered them logically from the scriptures. In verses 34-46 the Pharisees asked which was the greatest commandment, hoping to turn away from Him any one who might disagree with His answer, but His response was one which they could not deny. The reason why Jesus was never at a loss for words was that He taught with authority (Matthew 7:28-29). This, in and of itself, does not prove His personal deity because other men have spoken with authority from God, but it suggests it indirectly since His teaching made the claim and God confirmed it by miracles.
Jesus was entirely free from prejudice and hatred. The Jews were so nationalistic that they despised Samaritans, Gentiles, and even some fellow Jews. Yet, Jesus never expressed hatred for the Samaritans, but even healed a Samaritan of leprosy (Luke 7:15-19). He never showed any prejudice against Gentiles, but even cured the daughter of a Syro-Phoenician woman (Mark 7:24-30). And He never thought Himself too good to associate with those whom others called sinners, but, for example, went to the home of the publican Zaccheus (Luke 19:1-10). In fact, He made provisions in His kingdom for all people, regardless of race, ethnic origin, or social class (Mark 16:15-16).
Jesus was fearless and unfraid of persecution. Since the Jews were so bound by tradition, His teachings were bound to bring persecution (Matthew 12:1-14). But He Himself was not afraid of suffering physical trials to accomplish God’s purpose (Matthew 20:17-19). Furthermore, He taught His disciples to expect and be willing to suffer troubles as well (John 15:18-21). This does not sound like a man of worldly ambition.
Jesus possessed no malice or ill-will toward anyone. He taught His followers to love their enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). He even taught them to respect those in authority when those in authority were not respectable (Matthew 23:1-3). His own love for His enemies is seen in His request on the cross for them to be forgiven (Luke 23:34). These are not the words of a frustrated human being whose plans have been defeated. Of course, the supreme example of this principle is that Jesus gave His life for His enemies.
Jesus was not given over to selfishness or egotism. His life was one of service to others (Matthew 20:25-28). Yet, He did not take credit for Himself but always gave credit to God for His work (John 5:30). Certainly, it does not require supernatural ability to be devoid of human ambition, to be without doubt on any subject, to be entirely free from prejudice and hatred, to be fearless and unafraid of persecution, to be without malice or ill-will, or to be without selfishness or egotism. God wants all people to possess these qualities, and if God desires them, it is possible for us to have them. However, most men do not, and it is not because they lack the divinity which Jesus possessed but because they have yielded to temptation and sin. This underscores the point that Jesus condemned sin in the flesh (Romans 8:3).
Again, the fact that Jesus had the kind of character that He demonstrated, which was totally different from the men of worldly ambition who have often been considered great by people of the world, and which God prophesied that the Messiah would have, points to Him as that Messiah. There are many other noteworthy attitudes of Jesus expressed in His sayings and deeds. But the ones that we have noticed lead us to conclude that Jesus was different, that He was exceptional in His behavior. He is the perfect example of what God wants mankind to be, and since God sent His Son into the world to do just that, then Jesus must be the divine Son of God. Many of the aspects of Jesus’s life on earth do not by themselves prove His deity, but taken all together are part of the general foundation of evidence that leads us to believe that He is who He claimed to be and was preached to be. "…If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." (—revised from With All Boldness; Jan., 2001; Vol. 11, No. 1; p. 18)