The scriptures not only speak of the Deity of Christ, but they also affirm his humanity. In fact, the full humanness of Jesus Christ forms the basis of his earthly ministry and is what makes Jesus a well-suited friend to him or her that believes. This article presents a basic introduction to the humanity of the God-Man, Jesus Christ.
Humanity of Jesus Christ Biblically Defined
Jesus Had a Human Body
From the beginning of the gospels, Jesus' genealogy is affirmed (Matt. 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38). Although supernaturally conceived, He is taught to have been born naturally into the world (Luke 2:6-7). And Luke speaks of Jesus' growth from childhood to adulthood (Luke 2:52). As a man in the flesh, Jesus experienced fatigue (John 4:6), thirst (John 19:28), hunger (Matt. 4:2), and basic weaknesses (Matt 4:11). Perhaps the most human of all Jesus' experiences was His death (Luke 23:46) from which He was physically resurrected (Luke 24:30, 39, 42; John 20:19-20; 20:27) and raised into Heaven (Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9).
Jesus Had a Human Mind & Human Emotions
Jesus grew mentally in his wisdom (Luke 2:52), learned obedience (Heb. 5:8), and was limited as a man in his knowledge (Mark 13:32). Jesus' soul and emotions were human. He shared in many attributes, which were not exclusively human: love (John 11:3; 13:23; Mark 10:21), sorrow (Matt 26:37), joy (John 15:11; 17:13; Heb. 12:2), and anger/grief (Mark 3:5; 10:14). He expressed emotions, which God alone could not experience: astonishment (Luke 7:9; cf. Matt. 8:10), troubled-ness (John 11:33-38; John 12:27; 13:21; Heb. 5:7), and grief, which anticipated death (Matt. 26:38). That Jesus was tempted in every way just as we are (Heb. 4:15) requires that he was and is human, as God alone cannot be tempted (James 1:13).
Jesus Was Broadly Considered a Man
For even his own brothers did not believe Jesus to be anything more than a man (John 7:5). In fact, as Jesus taught marvelously in the synagogues, the people saw nothing more than the humanity of Jesus and were thusly condemned:
Jesus regularly attended worship in the synagogue (Luke 4:16) and prayed to the Father. He prayed before choosing his disciples (Luke 6:12), the Lord's Prayer (Matt 6:9-13), the High Priestly Prayer (John 17), and the Prayer in Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-36; Luke 22:41-44). The basic instinct and desire to worship and pray to God is instilled by the creator in creation. It is fundamentally human.
The Scriptures Teach That Jesus Was a Man
Jesus was the Word, God Himself (John 1:1-3), and was made flesh (John 1:14). Consequently, he could be touched naturally by those who were with him (1 John 1:1). That the great God of all could do such a thing is the mystery of godliness (1 Tim. 3:16) and the awe of His people. For when the time had fully come, God sent his son born of a woman (Gal. 4:4) to be confessed in the flesh (1 John 4:2-3). Even Jesus himself taught that he was man (Matt. 4:4; John 8:40). So too do the rest of the apostolic writings (Acts 2:22-23; 1 Tim. 2:5), as Jesus is the second Adam (Rom. 5, esp. vv. 15, 17, and 19).
The Extent of Jesus' Humanity
Born of a Virgin
The scriptures affirm that Jesus - like none other - was born miraculously of a virgin (Matt. 1:18, 20, 24-25; Luke 1:34-35). As salvation comes only from God, the Savior Jesus had to be born of God. Yet, to fulfill the law, He had to be human and born of a woman (Gal. 4:4-5). Jesus' virgin birth through the Holy Spirit provided a savior from God who was detached from the curse of the sin of Adam1. The virgin birth ultimately fulfilled the early promise of Genesis 3:15, where the seed of Eve was to crush the head of Satan. Considering that God could merely have filled a body with the fullness of the Son, the very fact that Jesus was actually born of a woman is a critical basis of the true and full humanity of Jesus.
Jesus Was Sinless
While Jesus was fully man, He was nevertheless without sin. The scriptures affirm this basic point (Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 9:14; 1 Pet. 1:19; 2:22; 1 John 3:5). And, Jesus claimed this holy virtue (John 8:46; cf. John 8:29; 15:10). As God-Man, Jesus would not have sinned, as God does no evil and cannot be tempted. Sin would have disqualified Jesus as a Priestly Savior between God and man (note the qualifications of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement in Lev. 16).
Many might argue at this point that Jesus' temptations were not real if He could not have sinned. Yet, the scriptures plainly affirm that the temptations of Christ were indeed real (Matt. 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13; Heb. 2:18; 4:15-16). This is somewhat of a mystery, where the outcome of the testing of Jesus was always certain; yet, by his own free acts the actuality of his sinlessness was worked out. As one's acts are the product of his/her heart (Prov. 23:7), Jesus' perfect acts were the natural product of his perfect heart. In that sense, Jesus was certain to be sinless.
A second objection often levied at the sinlessness of Christ is that he could not have been fully human if he did not sin. However, behind this protest is a faulty presupposition that man must be sinful to be complete. Yet, God originally created man good and without sin. Adam and Eve were fully human, yet by their acts became abnormally sinful. Essentially, sin is a subtraction from true manhood, rather than something that is rightly added to it. One would do well to ask not if Jesus is as human as mankind; but rather, if mankind is as human as Jesus, the Perfect One.
Jesus Will Forever Remain Man
While the first two points above defined exclusive extents of Christ's humanity (that he had no human father and that he was sinless), this final point relates to that which is inclusive to it. The scriptures teach that Jesus remained man (and God) after his death and resurrection (Luke 24:39, 41-43; John 20:25-27; Acts 9:5; 1 Cor. 9:1). He will continue to be man (and God) into the eternities (Acts 1:11) and therefore be one whom man (although resurrected, glorified, and exalted one day too) can relate with forever.
The Importance of Jesus' Humanity
The full humanity of Jesus is critical to God's creative and redemptive plan. The following points should be considered:
The scriptures are absolutely certain that just as Jesus was God, he was Man too. Jesus' manhood consisted (and consists) of a human body and soul. His mind, emotions, and spirit all attest to his full humanity. As God made man, the Son of God became one ready to fully officiate in the offices of redemption for His people. For Christ was sinless, having been born of God through the virgin Mary and as such, Christ's atonement on behalf of His people is forever acceptable before God.
1By stating that Jesus was removed from the curse of the sin of Adam via the Virgin birth, it is not implied that Mary was sinless. The Bible teaches that all (a term which would include Mary) have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). The virgin birth constituted a break in the patriarchal lineage from the First Adam to Jesus. Because the bible teaches the federal headship of the First Adam and the subsequent inherited sinfulness and guilt of his children, the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, was without blemish or guilt, being born of God through the Holy Spirit. Jesus stands outside of the representative headship of Adam.
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