What is the mind of Christ?

1 Corinthians 2:16b

But we [apostles] have the mind of Christ.


Last time we spoke about having the mind of Christ – something all believers can

have, but not all do have. The main reason many don’t have it is because of what

we must give up in order to receive it. So what is the mind of Christ, and what

does it cost?


There are many examples which show the mind of Christ, but perhaps the best

ones are those which involve Jesus being tempted to do something outside of

God’s will. In these circumstances we see how Jesus thinks, which presents a

dramatic contrast to how man thinks.


The first instance of temptation was after Jesus’ period of forty days fasting and

praying in the wilderness, described in both Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13.

After Jesus’ fasting He was of course hungry, and the devil came to Him in this

moment of weakness to tempt Him to use His power and authority to meet His

own needs:

  • Make stones become bread, to satisfy His hunger

  • Leap from a great height, to prove His divinity (the devil even quoted Scripture on this one!)

  • Worship the devil, to obtain dominion without suffering

Jesus refused all three temptations. Why? The last two are obvious, because

they both clearly violate Scripture. But what about the first one? It isn’t a sin to

make bread, or to perform a miracle, or to feed oneself. Why did Jesus refuse?


Jesus refused because, as He said, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30) and

“the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever

He does, the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19b). Jesus had the mind of His

Father; in many cases He saw what His Father saw, and when He didn’t He trusted

His Father’s judgment and plan. He saw that there was no purpose in changing stones to bread other than satisfying His own desires, and He knew that was not

His Father’s will.


At the end of Luke’s description of the temptation he writes, “Now when the devil

had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time” (v.

13). The clearest example of a later, opportune time is Jesus praying in the

Garden of Gethsemane on the night of His betrayal.


Jesus had separated Himself from His closest disciples a bit, and was praying so

fervently that “His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the

ground” (Luke 22:44). He prayed, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away

from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42). In these

words is the primary distinction between the mind of Christ – which is the same

as the mind of God – and the mind of man: Christ looks at the ultimate good

which comes from obeying the will of the Father, and man sees only what is best

for himself or those to whom he is closest.


This is why we cannot have the mind of Christ until we lay down our own desires,

our own priorities, even our own wisdom in order to “take up” His wisdom. This

is why Jesus says to us, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself,

and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). Too often our desires,

our will, our wisdom, and our way of thinking actually fight against God’s plan,

and so we must lay them all down as an offering at His feet.


That does not mean His way is easy: we lay down all that we love, all that we are

familiar with, all that we trust … and we pick up a cross, not a limousine! It makes

no sense, unless we see the way Jesus sees: if we see the ultimate good which

comes from obeying the will of the Father. And if we can’t see it, we hold on to

the knowledge that His unseen plan is far better than anything we can come up

with!


Jesus is the Word made flesh, and He speaks to us. May God grant us the ears to

hear, the mind to understand, and the heart (and courage) to obey!


Word of God: speak!

Non nobis Domine+

by Fr. Dana Jackson

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