Free files for youth pastors:
“The little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.” Did Jesus cry when He was a baby? Or when laying in the manger was He thinking to Himself, “Okay, this hay feels a little rough, but soon the shepherds will be here. Later on, the wise-men will arrive, and we’ll be headin’ over to Egypt. Then, I have to get my game on for the temple when they’ll leave me”?
There are several of these false ideas about Jesus being human. First, “Docetism” says that because all matter is evil and God is holy, Jesus only really appeared to be human…like a ghost. “Apollinarianism” says that Jesus has a real human body but with a Divine mind. Therefore, He is really just “God in a bod.” Eutychianism says that Jesus’ deity is so vast that it swallows up the human side of Jesus like a drop of coke in the Pacific Ocean. Jesus didn’t just appear to be human; He was fully human! He had both a human mind and body! Jesus was both fully human and fully God! We must believe those facts to understand His humanity.
It’s not just that Jesus was fully man, but Jesus IS fully man. Luke tells us, “Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (2:52). Jesus learned when He was growing up, but He learned as a boy who was not under the curse of sin. Jesus learned Hebrew, He grew in wisdom in the Scriptures, and I believe He even learned who He was from reading the OT probably early on. When thinking about Jesus being human, we can’t view it as He put off some of His Divine qualities like some say from Philippians 2. “Pouring Himself out” or “making Himself nothing” isn’t speaking of Jesus losing any attributes of Deity, rather those phrases are speaking of His death on the cross. If Jesus can lose His omniscience, then could He also lose His holiness? Rather than losing any Deity, Jesus gained a human nature. It’s like a brand-new, shimmering Corvette being taken on a test drive through a mud field. The glory of the ‘Vette is still there, just underneath all the mud. This explains passages like Jesus being fully God and omniscient but yet not knowing when the 2nd coming would happen.
Jesus relived the life of Old Testament humanity. This is one significant aspect of Jesus’ humanity that I missed as I was growing up. To reverse the curse and become a proper sacrifice for humanity, its not just that Jesus had to stay out of sin. Jesus also had to obey the commands and covenant of God where it was broken…everywhere! Jesus relived the life of Adam by being fruitful and multiplying with all those God had given Him, by exercising dominion over all aspects of creation, by imaging God perfectly, and by crushing the head of the serpent (Gen 1:26-28, 3:15). Jesus also relived the life of Israel by such things like being led into the wilderness by the Spirit of God, being tempted by Satan in the wilderness with food, and going through the Jordan river in baptism. He was the covenant-keeper of God. Also, Jesus relived the life of David as He was the Shepherd-King who was anointed with the Holy Spirit and led into the wilderness to fight against God’s arch-enemy in order to save His people.
Even Jesus’ names point to His humanity. The name Jesus means that He would “save His people from their sins” (Matt 1:21). Only through a righteous-human sacrifice could God justly save the sin-cursed world which came through humanity. The name Christ means “the One anointed with the Spirit of God” (Acts 10:38). There were many christs (anointed ones) before Jesus, but Jesus was the final Anointed One who would be forever Anointed with the Holy Spirit. Jesus claimed to do all of His miraculous works through the power of the Holy Spirit and for the will of God. Therefore, Jesus brings meaning to our humanity. To be human doesn’t mean to be sinful, that’s what it means to be cursed. To be human means to be created in the image of God, to live in the power of the Holy Spirit, and to look to the perfect human – Jesus. I am longing for the day that I will be even more human than I am now (Philippians 3:21).