In Philippians 2;5 the Apostle Paul tells us to have the same mind in us that was in Christ Jesus. In Romans 11:34, Paul asks, “Who has known the mind of the Lord?” But in 1 Corinthians 2:16 Paul answers that question by stating, “but we have the mind of Christ.” What can we learn from scripture about the mind of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ? Can we develop from scripture a psychological profile of Jesus and the inner motivations that inspired His actions?
In the Gospel of Mark 1:14-15, Jesus of Nazareth went around preaching that the Kingdom of God was at hand; the Kingdom of God was near. He was calling all people to enter this Kingdom by an act of repentance—the act of turning their lives around and going toward God instead of going away from God.
Jesus preached that the Kingdom of God was the realm where God ruled with GODauthority. Mankind, through its own sin and willful rejection of God existed in a realm of suffering and brokenness. Mankind had created its own mess. God, however, because of His love and mercy was offering all people everywhere the opportunity to enter His Kingdom where they would be forgiven, redeemed, restored, healed, liberated, and made whole.
Jesus called to all people to enter this Kingdom of God that was now breaking through into human history through His ministry. Jesus warned that there would be a day of judgment when God the Father would destroy the systems of this world that had brought sin and suffering and He would also judge those who lived by that world system, and then God’s rule would be absolute. Now was the time to turn to God who would bring healing and wholeness. Jesus proclaimed Himself as God the Father’s absolute messenger and also as the agent who would bring this Kingdom into fullness in history (John 14:6). The proclaiming of God’s Kingdom was the driving force in the life and ministry of Jesus.
There’s often a lot of preaching and teaching about the mind of Christ. We are told to have the mind of Christ. As we look at Jesus and we search the scriptures for the mindset of Christ, looking, as it were, for a psychological profile of Jesus, we can, I believe, see four foundational principles that made up Jesus’ mindset. This should be our mindset also.
1) THE ABBA EXPERIENCE of Jesus—In His human consciousness, the first, foremost and overriding experience of Jesus was His constant abiding consciousness of God as His Father. Jesus always used the familiar term “abba” or “daddy” rather than the formal “ab” or “father” when He spoke of God. In fact, Jesus’ body had been miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary. Throughout all the levels of Jesus’ human psyche, He had a conscious, subconscious and unconscious sense of perfect fellowship with God His Father. In Luke 2:49 we read that at 12 years old, entering puberty and adult consciousness, Jesus told Mary and Joseph in the Temple at Jerusalem that He was about His Father’s business in His Father’s house. God the Father Himself confirmed Jesus’ sonship by actually speaking in an audible voice at Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River and later on the Mount of Transfiguration, that Jesus was His beloved Son in whom He was well-pleased. The bedrock of Jesus’ psyche, or mind, was His absolute confidence and trust in the Father and that all He (Jesus) said and did was approved of and commissioned by the Father.
2) THE KENOSIS EXPERIENCE of Jesus—Kenosis is the Greek word meaning “emptying” and has the sense of freely laying aside one’s rightful higher status in order to serve others for their benefit. (Read Philippians 2:5- 9.) Secure in the Father’s love, Jesus could act in human history without any need for ego-reinforcement and He did not need self-validation from any human source, because the love and fellowship of the Father was the absolute validation of His human personality. Jesus’ psychological freedom enabled Him to serve and minister to others and even forgive those who wronged Him and minister in this self-emptying mode with perfection. As a result, both the love of God (agape) and the power of God (dunamis) could flow through Him perfectly. Jesus was intensely aware of His role as the Servant of God prophesied in the Book of Isaiah. His statements in the Gospels about Himself as the Son of Man pointed to His lordship as a lordship of service and love for the Father and for others. Even in the parable of the unworthy servant who does all he is told without expecting a reward (Luke 17:5-10), Jesus is primarily referring to His own example of ministry and service.
3) THE LAW OF SOWING AND REAPING—The third active principle in the mind of Jesus of Nazareth was the constant awareness of the law of sowing and reaping. Every thought, word and action is a seed which produces a harvest. Every thought, word and consequences that are greater than the thought, word or action itself. This law was established by God in the act of creation in Genesis. Everything physically reproduces through a seed. This is also true in the spiritual and psychological realms of life. Sowing and reaping is the very essence of creative power in the Kingdom of God. Jesus often preached and taught about the law of sowing and reaping. The Apostle Paul, later in the New Testament, also framed many teachings in the context of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7- 9; 2 Corinthians 9:6-11).
4) THE ALPHA SEED AND THE OMEGA HARVEST—In other words, Jesus was always intensely aware in His mind that every act of His earthly life was a seed that would produce a glorified harvest for eternity. For example, He rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday on a donkey, but He will return to earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords riding a majestic white horse. He called His church a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14); the eternal city of the New Jerusalem is on a high mountain (Revelation 21:10). In His earthly ministry, He ministered to multitudes of sick, hurting, hungry people.
In Revelation 7:9-17, we see a multitude around His throne in heaven, redeemed by His blood, who enjoy eternal blessings and they will never hurt or hunger again. Jesus also told us that our lives have this same importance and that in and through Him we are “alpha seeds” who will have an “omega harvest” - “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth… But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” (Matthew 5:19-21). His Apostles left all to follow Him and their names are on the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:14). Most important, Jesus lived a perfectly righteous, obedient life as the Alpha Seed so that in the resurrection, His Omega Harvest of eternal perfect righteousness could be imparted to each one of us who accept Him into our heart.
We are told to have “the mind of Christ.” To have the mind of Christ, we must have the Person of Christ. That comes by our saying “Yes” to the decision Jesus originally proclaimed, “Repent and turn to God, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”