Imperfection is another word for immaturity or ignorance – a state of incompletion or being without desired state, knowledge, attitude or skill. It does not neccessarily mean a state or act of sin.
Unlike righteousness that is imposed on us after believing in Jesus Christ, perfection is an achievement that is attained through a process that involves making as many mistakes as necessary. Pain is a major teacher. It helps us acquire knowledge and make proper choices.
Choice is a preferred option that is supposed to give the desired result or effect. A mistake is a wrong choice. It is a preferred option that does not provide the desired result or effect. Sometimes people make wrong choices because they had limited options and time available at the time of decision-making. Nevertheless, all people in their right mind make choices after they have been convinced that the choice they are making is the right one. Meaning the choice they are making will hopefully give them what they want. And always what people really want is to ease pain or improve a life of their own or somebody else’s.
So making errors is a proof of ignorance. Learning takes the form of reducing errors or gaining knowledge. So there is nothing to be ashamed of in making errors. We make errors only when we have the courage to learn to do something. People who dare to do nothing make no errors. Because they never make errors they never learn to succeed. And because they never learn they never become great.
“Though Jesus was the Son of God”, the scriptures says; “yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered” (Heb. 5:8). This proves that even Jesus had to learn through a laborious process of trials and tribulations like all of us. An one-day-old lion cub is naturally a lion. However, it does not become a full-grown lion from birth. Just like an eagle needs to learn how to fly a lion cub has to learn through the pain of testing, trials and errors. You and me are no exception.
Intelligence is the ability to learn. One can be intelligent but ignorant because one has not learned a thing yet. As we shall see later Jesus was extremely wise because He learned a lot. Nevertheless, that doesn’t necessarily suggest that He possessed an abnormally high IQ.
As opposed to sin which is a conscious violation of God’s instruction, a mistake (I insist: as used in this article) is unintended setback / failed attempt to attain a certain goal, skill or knowledge. For instance failing to balance your body and consequently falling down as you learn to ride a bicycle is an error. However, to ignore the poor, according to the Bible, is sin.
God in His infinite wisdom planned that learning must be accompanied by adversity and at times with painful mistakes. Of course not all learning is characterized by pain or mistakes. Nevertheless, great learning is always accompanied with great pain. As we learn to walk for example we inevitably fall down and pick up a few knocks here and there. Although the Bible is silent about this, I’m sure Jesus fell down a few times as He learned to walk.
Even as we attempt to learn to fulfil Gods purpose for our lives we sometimes get overwhelmed. Jesus was also overwhelmed at Gethsemane, falling on His face and cried in agony as He faced Calvary. In fact, on His way up to Golgotha Jesus staggered and fell down after being overwhelmed by the heaviness of the cross and needed help from someone. Again by this I’m neither just trying to imply that Jesus fell in sin nor am I condoning sin.
By saying Jesus “learned obedience” scripture does not mean Jesus was a sinner because indeed as we all know, though tempted like all of us, was proved to be without sin. In saying that Apostle Paul only served to explain the fact that even Jesus our Lord had to attain precise wisdom, skills and attributes in a manner similar to ours.
Regardless of where we learn from (being it from a teacher, from equipment such as computer or media, from trials / experiments or directly from God through revelations) the process of assimilating knowledge will always be accompanied with costly efforts. No one can be born as a human being with everything needed to live and fulfil life purpose on earth. Jesus Christ was no exception. Regardless of the fact that His conception was miraculous some elements of Jesus’ growing (learning) process was anything but miraculous. He was not born full-grown, walking, talking, all-knowing man. Instead He had to learn those very skills like all of us. In Luke 2:52, for example, we are informed that Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men. The fact that He increased proves that Jesus previously lacked the very things He increased in.
Its true that at early age Jesus was more vested in scriptural knowledge (and other divine knowledge) than an average Jewish Rabi. And it is also true that some of that knowledge of Jesus learned directly from God His father through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But it is also true that some of that knowledge, as Bible scholars attest. Jesus learned from the doctors of the law and, as mentioned earlier, by going through some painful situations.
Before coming to earth the scripture says Jesus was equal to God. And He is now back in heaven seated at the right hand of God. Now some of us may rightly argue, if He was all knowing and all-powerful how come Jesus had to learn anything on earth?
To try and respond to this question we need to refer to Philippians 2:6-8 (NLT). The Bible says “Though he was God, he did not consider of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being… (emphasis mine)
By taking human form (flesh), Jesus (the Word) gave up his divine privileges that included most of his divine knowledge, memory and power. So while on earth Jesus did not have the full divine package He had before coming to the world. That is why He had to depend on God the Father for divine power, inspiration, knowledge and guidance. And as for the rest of the natural knowledge Jesus had to learn naturally. For instance Jesus said “But of the (last) day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Mark 13:32). If He knew everything and had all the powers why would Jesus endure hours of nights and days in harsh conditions praying and sometimes fasting?
Let us remind ourselves that a thorough divine package is too powerful and too sensitive for the human body. As God reminded Moses it is impossible to have contact with 100% divine power and knowledge in a mortal flesh and stay alive. That is why Jesus the Son of Man, though He truly had unprecedented power and wisdom, could only access a portion of that divine knowledge or power when and as necessary.
Jesus’ crucifixion had a two-fold meaning. Firstly the sins of the world were paid for, but secondly it earned Jesus the highest possible recognition a human being can earn from God. The Bible says as a result of Him deliberately forsaking His divine privileges God rewarded Jesus Christ with the name above all names. After resurrection, Jesus became the Lord of lords and the King of kings. At the name of Jesus every knee shall eventually bow and every tongue shall ultimately confess that He is the Lord (Phil. 2:9-11). Yes Jesus was destined for the title, but He had to earn it by the pain of the cross. He was born to be all that, but He was not born all that. To be all that Jesus had to pass through a natural excruciating painful process.
By no means this is meant to demean my Lord Jesus. In truth, no one can match His present and future glory, majesty and power. This is because God planned for this universe to have only one supreme king – Jesus. And for this reason Jesus had a special grace to help Him know and endure certain things. For the same reason, no one can ever go what Jesus went through and earn what He earned. For me, the knowledge that Jesus did not triumph in this world because He had some unique unfair divine advantage serves as an encouragement. Or else it would be unfair for the scripture to challenge us to try to learn the same attitude that Jesus had (Phil. 2:5-8).
Jesus attained what ever He attained through learning under the tutorship, leadership and guidance of the Holy Spirit. In a number of occasions, we read that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit (in the desert to be tempted by the devil for instance). Jesus never did anything without consulting His Father. He did what ever He did by the power of the Holy Spirit who is also available to us all. That is the reason why Jesus said the works that He did (before the cross), and even better works, we can also do if we believe and do what He taught us (John 14:12). For the same reason He urged His disciples never to leave Jerusalem without receiving this great helper and tutor, the Holy Spirit.
Jesus, God’s first born and our elder brother showed us that with the Holy Spirit we could achieve anything. In essence, Apostle Paul said that if the Spirit of God, who taught, guided, and helped Jesus to endure pain before raising Him from the dead lives in us He will also do the same to us by this same Spirit that lives within us. (Roman 8:11). “In the world ye shall have tribulation”, Jesus said, “but be of good cheer; I have overcome”. John 16:33
This, I hope, is enough to lift our ailing souls.