Was Jesus Truly Human?

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Part Three - The Humanity of Jesus Christ

This doctrine or truth taught in the Scriptures is know in theological terms as the Incarnation of Christ. It, like so many other truths of God’s Word, is greatly debated in some Christian circles. Questions arise like:

· Could God really become a man?

· Could God really die on a cross?

· Could God if He was a man truly be tempted?

This debate is not over what the Bible says but rather whether it can be believed. The concept of God becoming truly human is so beyond the ability of the human mind to grasp, that many stumble at this idea and thus question the accuracy of the Scriptures in this matter. However, let us remember that if God is the eternally existent Creator of all the Universe, then we should expect that He is capable of doing things that are beyond the human mind to comprehend. Therefore, we will take the record of the Bible as true and accept the fact that Christ was God who became a man.

As we look at the biblical record on this matter, let us note some important facts.

1) When Christ became a man, he was a man in every way and in every sense as every other human being. Phil. 2: indicates that when the Lord became a human being, he laid aside the use of all of His divine attributes.

Phil 2:6-9, “Who, being in the form of God, did not consider equality with God Something He had to hold on to, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

The writer here says He emptied Himself (“no reputation”) of His equality with God the Father and God the Spirit. He laid aside the exercise of all the divine attributes that made Him equal with God so that He could live a normal human life. For example, the miracles that Jesus did were not done in His own strength but rather they were done through the work of the Holy Spirit. This is seen in the passage on the “unpardonable sin” where Jesus declares openly His power to cast out demons was through the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12:27-28). In Acts 10:38, Peter add additional support to this idea when he declares that God anointed or gave Jesus of Nazareth the Holy Spirit and power to do the miracles He did. In other words, since He laid aside the exercise of His divine attributes, then the only way He could do the things He did was through the work of the other two persons of the Trinity.

With this thought in mind, we have a marvelous truth here. Jesus lived and faced all that life threw at him including thousands of temptations and His crucifixion in the same strength that he expects us to live our lives. God has given us the same resources that Jesus had. We have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and the Father gives us the resources, gifts, and power to carry out His will.

2) Since Christ emptied Himself to become a human being, then we must draw the conclusion that He experienced and knows completely what it means to be a human being in a sin cursed world. A look at the Gospel of Luke makes this point very clear.

Luke in his genealogy traces our Lord’s human heritage back through Mary all the way back to Adam. In essence, Christ is a son of Adam, a human being. Thus often in Luke our Lord calls Himself the “son of man” which means in the original language, “I am a human being.” Luke also shows our Lord experienced all of the same things every one of us experiences

o He is tempted by Satan to sin. He knew the pull or tug to sin but was able to always say no and therefore did not sin – Lk. 4:2

o He needed time alone to rest – Lk. 4:10

o He gets so tired he sleeps through a raging storm - Lk. 8:23-24

o He got hungry and thirsty - Lk 15:2; 24:43

o He cried due to sadness of heart - Lk. 19:41

o He sweated - Lk. 22:44

o He experienced the pangs of fear and anxiety - Lk. 22:44

o He endures the pain and physical suffering associated with crucifixion - Lk. 22:45-23:43

o He experiences physical death - Lk. 23:44-48

With this fact in hand, another wonderful truth is revealed. The Lord understands the all that we face in our human experience. Since He understands the human existence from first hand experience, he can empathize with us regardless of what we are going through in life. He truly can cay, “I understand what you are going through and I care.” Likewise, He can communicate our needs perfectly to God the Father and God the Spirit. He is the perfect mediator and intercessor between God and man.

1 Tim 2:5, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,” 

Heb 2:18, “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” 

Heb 4:15-16, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Heb 7:25, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

3) Finally, it Christ had not been God who became a man there would be no salvation. To bring complete and total redemption to the sinner He had to be the both God and man. The Bible is very specific about this fact.

1 John 4:2-3, “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”

2 John 7, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”

John is very blunt and to the point on this fact. Anyone who does not believe that Jesus was God who became a man (“come in the flesh”) is not a believer but rather represents the spirit of Antichrist. Likewise anyone who preaches Christ was not God who became a man is a deceiver, a liar who seeks to deceive people concerning the truth. To put it simply, if you deny the truth of the humanity of Christ, you are not a Christian. This eliminates the Jehovah Witnesses, the liberal main line denominations, and many other cults or groups that do not believe Christ to have been the God/man. They are on their way to hell and they are seeking to drag others along with them.

There is a two fold reason why the humanity of Christ is essential to salvation.

Reason #1: There was a need for a Second Human Representative. The first representative was Adam. Because of his willful sin, he passed on the sin nature making all of his descendents sinners and condemning them to hell. It would take a Second representative from the race who would live a sinless life to bring his descendents life eternal. This second “Adam” was Jesus Christ. To become His “descendent” we must be “born again,” (John 3:3).

Rom 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned”

Rom. 5:15-16, “But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.” 

1 Cor 15:20-22, “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.”

 

 

 

 

Reason #2: There was a need for a complete redemption. Man is not made up of just the physical body he dwells in but he is also a soul. If Christ had been God but not a human, He could have died spiritually for man and brought man’s soul salvation but man’s body would have remained in the grave. Christ had to die not only spiritually but also physically as a man if He was going to bring to man redemption for his soul and body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The humanity of Christ is an important doctrinal truth of the Word of God. It is not only essential to our salvation but it gives us hope and encouragement when go through the deep and dark times of life.