Oh, the Humanity
The second stanza of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” reads, in part, “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see: Hail th’incarnate Deity; Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel!”
Indeed, our Lord became human and dwelt among men. “In all things He had to be made like His brethren” (Heb. 2:17). “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:14).
This evening, we want to examine Jesus’ humanity. We will show that Jesus was completely human during his earthly ministry. We will examine why Jesus was completely human during his earthly ministry.
Jesus was a Man while on Earth
Jesus was born of the flesh. Genealogies in Matthew and Luke show Jesus’ human ancestry. In Matthew 1:1 Jesus is called the “Son of David.” Jesus was “born of a woman” (Gal. 4:4). Jesus “was born of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3).
Jesus became flesh.
- This means that he fully took on human nature.
- Jesus “was manifested in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16).
- “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God” (1 Jn. 4:2).
- Jesus had a body and blood (Matt. 26:26-28).
- Jesus had a spirit as does all humans: “Bowing His head, He gave up His spirit” (Jn. 19:30).
Jesus went through the normal growth processes. “The Child grew and became strong in spirit” (Lk. 2:40). “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Lk. 2:52).
Jesus had normal physical, human needs.
- Jesus became hungry (Mt. 4:2).
- Jesus became thirsty (Jn. 4:7).
- Jesus became tired (Jn. 4:5-6).
- Jesus slept (Mt. 8:24).
Jesus experienced human emotions.
- He felt joy (Jn. 15:11).
- He felt sorrow (Jn. 12:27).
- He felt anger (Mk. 3:5).
- He felt love (Mk. 10:21).
- He felt compassion (Mt. 9:36).
Jesus was tempted. “God cannot be tempted by evil” (Js. 1:13). Although God cannot be tempted, Jesus faced temptation. Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13 record three temptations of our Lord. Jesus faced other temptations than just these three. After tempting Jesus, Satan left him “until an opportune time” (Lk. 4:13)- -Satan would come back and tempt Jesus when a good opportunity arose. When Jesus told his disciples that he would be killed, Peter replied, “Far be it from you, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” (Mt. 16:22). Peter seems to have wanted Jesus and the apostles to devise a plan where Jesus would not need to die. Jesus replied to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan!” (Mt. 16:23)–No doubt but that Peter tempted the Lord.
Jesus suffered and died as a human. Christ was “put to death in the flesh” (1 Pet. 3:18). “Christ suffered in the flesh” (1 Pet. 4:1).
Jesus is frequently called a man.
- John the Baptist said, speaking of Jesus, “After me comes a Man who is preferred before me” (Jn. 1:30).
- Pilate brought out Jesus before the Jews and said, “Behold, the Man!” (Jn. 19:5).
- “There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).
- Why would these individuals have called Jesus a man if he did not have flesh and blood as humans have?”
Jesus had limited knowledge as a man.
- Jesus increased in wisdom (Lk. 2:52). In order for growth to take place, some deficiency must exist. Jesus did not have all the knowledge of Deity, therefore, he had to grow.
- Jesus did not know when the Second Coming would occur (Mk. 13:32).
- When the woman who had the flow of` blood touched Jesus garment, Jesus replied, “Who touched My clothes?” (Mk. 13:30).
- Jesus went to a fig tree to see if there were figs on the tree (Mk. 11:13). Some might be tempted to say that Jesus knew there were no figs on this tree, and he went to the tree just to curse it. However, the text says he went to find figs on the tree.
Indeed, the Lord Jesus lived as a man on this earth.
Why Did Jesus Become a Man?
It is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. The Old Testament taught that a Messiah was coming. Moses told the Israelites, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst” (Deut. 18:15). Micah 5:2 prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.
Jesus taught that he came to fulfill the Old Testament. “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Mt. 5:17). “All things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” (Lk. 24:44).
It is the requirement of a sympathetic high priest. God knows everything we endure, but before Jesus he had never experienced it first-hand. Jesus experienced first-hand the difficulties in our lives. Hebrews 2:17. Jesus can be a merciful high priest because he knows what it’s like to be tempted. Jesus can sympathize with us because he endured the same hurts and disappointment we have. “There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).
It is for the purpose of revelation. Some want us to believe that God is so far off that we can know nothing about him. In the Incarnation, God reveals himself to man. The title “Immanuel” means “God with us” (Mt. 1:23). God has spoken to us through his Son (Heb. 1:1-2). Jesus said the one who had seen him had seen the Father (Jn. 14:8-9). God is knowable, because Jesus came to earth and made him such.
It affirms something positive about humanity. We often hear how evil mankind is–The Columbine school shooting underscores the fact that evil is in this world. The Scriptures teach that man is made in the image of God. “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him” (Gen. 1:27). The Hebrew of Psalm 8:5 says that man is made “a little lower than God.” The fact that Jesus became flesh to redeem man shows that mankind is valuable. Had Jesus not seen value in man, surely he would not have died for man. Man is valuable to God–He wants none to perish (2 Pet. 3:9).
It is for our redemption. “Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor” (2 Cor. 8:9). “He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb. 9:26). “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45). The idea of redemption is that Jesus came to “buy” humanity from sin. Athanasius said, “What God has not become, he has not redeemed.”
It gives us an example of a holy life. Jesus came and set the supreme example of a holy life. Jesus left us an example that we should walk in his steps (1 Pet. 2:21).
It allows God to judge the world fairly. God has “appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained” (Acts 17:31). Since God became man and dwelt among men, he is able to judge fairly.