Was Jesus Actually Human?
Does anyone else experience a disconnect between Jesus the baby and Jesus the man who died on the cross? Christmas Jesus and Easter Jesus? For some reason, I feel like my brain makes them into two different people.
I think I tend to see baby Jesus as purely human. Innocent, weak, needing his mother. And I tend to see adult Jesus as superhuman, as God. Miracle worker, Resurrected, all knowing. I don't have any qualms about Jesus as God but I have a hard time imaging him as human.
The Bible is very clear that Jesus was both fully God and fully man, and that He needed to be both God and man in order for atone for our sins.
Hebrews 2 : 17 ESV
"Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people."
While on a Spring Break trip in Colorado Springs, we visited the Air Force Academy. At the time, they had a cast of the Shroud of Turen on display. The Shroud is a relic that Catholics believe was Jesus' death mask. Now, I'm not an expert on theology by any means and I have no idea about the accuracy of the relic, but they told us if it was in fact Jesus' death mask, they could determine Jesus' dimensions by the oil impressions Jesus' face had left. If everything was accurate, Jesus could have been less than 5' tall.
I would have been taller than Jesus!
The Bible gives more concrete evidence of Jesus' humanity. Different Gospel writers emphasize different parts of Jesus' ministry. The Gospel of Luke emphasizes the humanity of Christ. To see examples of Christ’s humanness, I would definitely recommend reading Luke.
Examples of Jesus as man in the Gospels include:
- Jesus felt hunger. "And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry." (John 4 : 2)
- Jesus was thirsty. "After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.”" (John 19 : 28 ESV)
- Jesus was tired. "Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour." (John 4 : 6 ESV)
- Jesus was emotional. "Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”' (Matthew 26 : 38 ESV)
Jesus was a man, he would have gone through that awkward stage during puberty like we all have, he would have gotten sick, he would have experienced the pain of rejection, he may have been bullied for coming from a poor family, he even had to go to the bathroom!
Does imagining that or thinking that feel uncomfortable to anyone? It does to me. It feels irreverent, disrespectful to think of Jesus the Son of God so humanly. But he was human, as human as you and me!
Jesus' humanity makes Easter even more of a miracle than it already is. C.S. Lewis calls the incarnation "the Grand Miracle", saying it is central to every other miracle in the Bible. Do you have trouble imagining Christ as a man? Take hold of the Grand Miracle this Easter and thank God for His human son, Jesus Christ.