It is more likely that the deity of Christ will be disputed by those seeking to undermine the credibility of the Bible, rather than the humanity of Christ. John declared that the Word became flesh (Jno. 1:14). Therefore, Christ was a man who lived among men -- whatever, becoming flesh entails, that is what Jesus became. The humanity of Jesus has been the subject of discussion and debate historically; it is not an issue that has been discussed much in recent years by "Christendom." This subject is discussed often by many New Testament Christians.
This issue is important because it relates to our salvation. The gap between God and man, the chasm of sin, can not be closed by man alone. He needs help. God took the initiative by sending His Son to die for the sin of the world. When God became flesh, humanity was given hope. Now there was one who understood. Now that was one that walked where man walked. Jesus' death on the cross made His humanity a necessity. This does not negate His deity; our salvation is as dependent upon one as the other. Jesus' role as mediator is possible because of His humanity. Tempted as a man, He knows all about us; He understands; He cares.
In defense of Jesus' humanity it should be noted that He had a human body. His birth was a human birth as were other births in the first century Palestine. The Synoptics indicate that Jesus had an earthly family. He lived as a human being; He had a physical nature. He experienced all the normal patterns of growth common to other young Jewish boys. As a human, Jesus was sometimes hungry. He experienced thirst. He was sometimes tired, Jesus suffered cruel torture and finally crucifixion on a Roman cross. The story of Jesus' death assures us that He was a human being -- one who was willing to die for our sins. His body was a human body, suitable for such a death.
Jesus demonstrated the full range of human emotions. He loved others. When His friend Lazarus died, Jesus wept. He had compassion for the poor and downtrodden. He was often joyous. His betrayal brought Him sorrow. He marveled at the faith of some folks and at the lack of faith of others. He attended worship in the synagogue on a regular basis. He prayed to His Father relying on strength and guidance from above.
He was thoroughly committed to His mission as the world's Savior. He felt a compulsion that drove Him inexorably toward Jerusalem. In the Garden of Gethsemane He struggled and was in stress. He cried from the cross about the apparent desertion of His Father.
As New Testament writers go about the business of presenting the life of Jesus, they recognize His humanity, but do not call attention to it in any undue way. The men who were closest to Him recognized that He was human. As He schooled them, they ate together, cried, and laughed together. Even after His resurrection He appealed to His fleshly body as proof of having come from the grave.
Jesus lived as a man among
men. Yet, there is one thing He did not do. He did not sin. He did not have
to ask for forgiveness. In resisting temptation He qualified as the perfect
sacrifice for the sins of the world. Yes, we affirm the deity of Jesus. But
let us never be guilty of denying His humanity.
By Randy Harshbarger via.
Gospel Power, Vol. 12, No. 47,
Nov. 20, 2005.
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