“…though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
— Phillipians 2:6-8

You’re going to want to keep the definitions below in mind:

Intentionality- to live on purpose; to make decisions based on a motivation to achieve a larger goal

Vulnerability- open to being attacked or harmed; liable to experiencing losses but also gains

Now, let me throw some research at you from a scholar known as Brene Brown. She specializes in understanding very human elements such as shame and empathy. As part of studying shame, she has also studied vulnerability. (I would suggest watching her Ted Talk which is where part of what I’m about to say comes from) She noticed that the people who don’t struggle with shame have one thing in common: they believe they belong and are worthy of being loved. That’s it. She saw 4 things wrapped up in that core belief:

  1. Courage- to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart

  2. Compassion- being kind to yourself and allowing yourself to be imperfect in order to be kind to others

  3. Connection- comes as a result of authenticity; letting go of who you think you ought to be in order to be who you actually are

  4. Vulnerability- allowing yourself to be seen by others; loving with your whole heart even it’s risky

She realized that being vulnerable was the key to all of these and the only way to let someone into your mess called life. And letting someone into your life is the only way to experience true love. It’s the only way for someone to see every part of you, even the bad, and then say, “I still choose you.” Intentionality is simply the mechanism to being vulnerable. You have to be vulnerable on purpose. It won’t just happen by chance. At the end of the day why does all this matter? Because Jesus showed us it’s only way you will ever be free and truly live.

a vulnerable Jesus?

Jesus on the Cross was God being intentionally vulnerable. Let me explain why. Part of Jesus’ purpose was to walk Earth revealing the Kingdom of God, be tempted as we were and ultimately open Himself up to attack. The God of the Universe not only came to dwell among us, He let the very beings He created crucify Him on a tree. There was always purpose in His vulnerability (Isaiah 53). Jesus loved the disciples so fiercely, so gently, so truthfully, yet they were the ones who ultimately betrayed Him and abandoned Him. He loved them in a way where He washed their feet instead of commanding them to wash His because He didn’t count equality with God something to be grasped (Philippians 2:6-8).

Jesus knows what it’s like to put yourself out there and then to be completely let down, reviled and stabbed in the back. He’s been tempted in that way. He knows the depths of your sorrows and loneliness. He loved His disciples selflessly even knowing that they would leave Him hanging when it mattered most. In John 16: 31-32, Jesus says that even though His disciples recognized Him as the Messiah that they would scatter when He was being crucified. And He spent 3 years loving them and walking with them anyways. Imagine meeting your best friend for the first time and God told you that one day your best friend would let you down and reject you when you needed him or her most. Not a single one of us would be friends with that person. Jesus made 12 of those friends. So how was Jesus able to do that? If you read Matthew 3:17 Jesus says “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Jesus knew He belonged and He knew He was loved.

    The beauty of it all is that Jesus forgave them. He forgave them so much that He made breakfast for them on the beach the morning He first reappeared to them after His Resurrection (John 21:9-19). Imagine how healing that must have been for Peter, who knowingly denied Jesus three times. To have your best friend forgive you for contributing to their death and then to have them call you to change the world on their behalf by starting the Church. What’s even MORE healing is that Jesus gave Himself to those same disciples AGAIN by sending His Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:2-4). The Holy Spirit is the fullness of God, so Jesus sending His Holy Spirit to dwell INSIDE of the very people who put Him to death on a tree is why it’s so utterly insane. That’s why life in Jesus is so devastatingly beautiful. He has always been the one who is vulnerable first. And that’s why forgiveness HAS to be a part of being vulnerable, because you will be hurt. But life is so much better when you give yourself away to those whom you love.

    Remember, Jesus didn’t just reveal everything to everyone, He had his close group of disciples to do life with. You need that. So get vulnerable with the God who was vulnerable first and go find those few select people you can open up to and start there. Your life will never be the same.