I hate to break it to you but Jesus is a bigger celebrity than Justin Bieber and Lady GaGa combined!
Mention his name and people are sure to react – positively or negatively. People have all sorts of ideas about him and his identity ranging from man, good teacher, prophet, looney tunes, a god, magician and the Son of God. Out of curiosity, how do you react at his name? Who do you think this masked man is anyhow? Well, we thought we’d unmask Jesus and explore his true identity for you. If you’re interested in discovering it, read on.
OUT OF THE WOMB
So, the million dollar question is “Was Jesus a human being?” Contrary to some people’s belief, Jesus didn’t arrive on earth by a spaceship. Nor did God magically transport him down here from heaven like the Terminators from all the Terminator movies. Just like you and I, Jesus swam around in his mom’s womb for 40 weeks (give or take a week) then took a ride down the birth canal before coming out naked and crying to say hi to this world. Yes, that’s right, I said naked and crying. That’s because he was totally human.
While Jesus’ incubation and delivery method was the same as ours, his conception wasn’t. **Spoiler Alert** If you haven’t had the ‘where babies come from’ talk with an adult or parent yet, stop reading, go have the talk then come back. As I was saying, He was NOT made by a mommy and daddy like you and I. He was made by mommy and the Holy Spirit. You might be saying, “Whoa, how’d that happen?” I won’t get into that here but let’s just say that this gives us a glimpse into more of his identity that we’ll explore in another conversation, k?! There’s also some really good reasons why that’s his mom & ‘dad’. If you’ve got comments or questions, let’s talk by you leaving them below.
FLESH & BLOOD LIMITATIONS
If you’re in the camp that believes Jesus walked around on earth solely as the holy God almighty, you might want to cover your ears right now. Psst… Jesus filled his diaper – front and back! Yep, he went pee-pee and poo-poo. Mary had to wipe his bum (and so did Joseph if he knew what was good for him!). Is that hard to imagine? Why? If he’s human then he did more than that! He burped and farted too. Silent but deadlies and the loud ones.
Maybe you’re saying, “Yo man, where does it say or prove that Jesus was flesh and blood?” That’s a great question, I’m glad you asked.
Jesus had a human body
Jesus had a flesh and blood, skin and bones body just like ours. As said earlier, he was born just like you, I and all other human babies (Luke 2:7). Since the bible also talks of Jesus as a man then we know that he ate (probably goat and spelt bread?) to grow up from baby to child to adulthood and sprouted some muscles in the process (Luke 2:40). Jesus got tired (John 4:6) in Samaria, thirsty when he was on the cross (John 19:28) and physically weak when he was tempted in the wilderness during his fast (Matthew 4:11). Unlike UFC, he couldn’t tap out after his beating by the Roman Soldiers and so because he was so weak they had to get a nearby guy – Simon of Cyrene – to carry his cross for him. Being human he was mortal and this can be seen when we read of him dying on the cross whereby his body ceased to function and have life in it.
Jesus had a human mind
Some might think that God just dropped a divine Apple computer hard drive and chip into Jesus’ brain and that he knew everything already and did what he was programmed to do while here on earth. Not so. In Luke 2:52 it indicates that Jesus went through the same learning curve that we all do. He had to learn how to talk, walk, be toilet trained, run, play sports, think for games and read and write.
Jesus Had a Human Soul and Human Emotions
So, we can see that Jesus resembled us physically and mentally. How about emotionally and in spirit? Just before he gets falsely arrested, accused and murdered on the cross he experiences a range of emotions. Realizing what was soon going to be reality for him he felt troubled, sorrowful and anxious (John 12:27, John 13:21, Matthew 26:38). These are all common human emotions don’t you think? I know I would have felt that x100! He also marveled and was amazed at the faith of a centurion and like any of us, he cried like a baby when a close pal of his named Lazarus died. I’d say that all these emotions show that he was def human wouldn’t you?
WHY DOES HE HAVE TO BE HUMAN?
K, by now you should have a grasp on the fact that the bible is pretty clear that Jesus was fully human. Why is that important though? Well, it’s kinda important from a faith perspective. Here are a few reasons why Jesus had to be fully human.
He’s man’s substitute sacrifice
God’s concern is with saving man but a penalty was required to be paid for man’s sin. This penalty was the shedding of blood – death. Man’s penalty required a man to die. Jesus was fully man so he could be that substitute sacrifice. Check out Hebrews 2:16-17.
He’s our example in life
Forget about looking up to all our athletes, movie stars and singers as our role models. If you haven’t learned by now most are a wreck and not something to follow. Jesus on the other hand is. John tells us in 1John 2:6 that if we believe in and live for Jesus then we should follow his lead. Paul says believers are continually being changed into his likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18) and that we might be conformed to the image of God’s Son (Romans 8:29). As we’re living out our Christian life, we’re encouraged to look to Jesus as the perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus being our example is so important that scripture even encourages us to follow his example when we’re suffering and get this; become like him in his death! Essentially we’re encouraged to follow Jesus’ lead in how to love, serve and forgive others as well as commune with and be obedient to God all the days of our lives. Easy right?!
To sympathize as our high priest
Jesus is our ‘high priest’ of the Old Testament. He’s the mediator between God and us. The thing is, he’s not some stoic, untouchable high priest who doesn’t think, feel or experience. Because he was fully man, he knows what it’s like to go through struggles and temptations in life (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15-16). Think about it, I’m sure women surrounded him and some were babes. Remember, he was 16 once too and was filled with hormones. I’m sure there was a Mary, Deborah or Sarah who generally distracted the boys and he was tempted to gawk and lust after her. But he didn’t. He one-ups us by not acting on the temptation. So his humanity means he was tempted in every way we are and in fact can sympathize with us in our journey through life’s challenges. That’s kinda cool don’t you think? Jesus can relate. I like knowing that. It gives me comfort and hope.
Well, what do you think? Is Jesus – The Man (fully human)? This is but one aspect of who Jesus is. It’s not his complete identity. We’ll explore more with another conversations soon titled “Jesus Unmasked – God.” Stay tuned for that one. In the meantime, share some of your comments and thoughts below.
:: by Clint Houlbrook of Vernon, BC
Back in the day as a new Christian, the Matthew videos helped me to see another side of Jesus other than the scowly faced guy in the paintings I’d seen.