By David Faust
No section of the Bible portrays the superiority of the Lord Jesus Christ more clearly than the book of Hebrews. According to this letter, Christ is “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3). Christ is “superior to the angels” (1:4), “worthy of greater honor than Moses” (3:3), “the guarantor of a better covenant” (7:22), and the perfect high priest who “offered for all time one sacrifice for sins” (10:12).
While it points to the grandeur and deity of Christ, the book of Hebrews also reveals important information about the humanity of Christ. “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity. . . . For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way” (2:14, 17).
A Well-Rounded Life
Christ experienced humanity to the fullest extent. “The Word became flesh” (John 1:14).
His body grew in stature from infancy to boyhood to manhood. He experienced hunger, weariness, and thirst. His feet must have ached after walking long distances on unpaved roads. Calloused from working in a carpenter shop, his hands were nimble and strong when he lifted up the lame or placed a child on his lap. Blood flowed from his crucifixion wounds. After the resurrection he ate fish with his disciples. He was physically human.
Jesus felt compassion and joy. He suffered the sting of betrayal and rejection. His eyes flashed with anger when hard-hearted critics watched to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. Those same eyes communicated love to a rich young ruler struggling with pride and greed. Acquainted with grief and familiar with loneliness, Jesus cried at the tomb of a friend. Yet it’s natural to imagine him laughing with his disciples near a campfire by the sea. He was emotionally human.
Are you amazed when you encounter someone with great faith—or astonished when someone lacks faith altogether? Do you ever wrestle with God’s will? Are you frustrated by pointless religious traditions, angered by injustice, and disappointed by the behavior of individuals who claim to know God? Do you ever feel as if God has forsaken you? Jesus understands all of these. He was spiritually human.
Jesus had a family. Like ours, his relatives weren’t perfect. His brothers didn’t believe in his deity at first, and at one point his family questioned his stability and “went to take charge of him” (Mark 3:21). Jesus also had friends. Like ours, sometimes his friends made him proud, and other times they disappointed and wounded him. He was relationally human.
An Example to Follow
Jesus’ humanity makes God seem less distant, more understanding, and more accessible when we need his help. “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (4:15).
There’s the key difference. Christ’s humanity was untainted by sin. We try to excuse our blunders by saying, “I’m only human,” but Jesus challenges us to be our best selves. His perfect example inspires us to align ourselves with God’s will physically, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally. And it makes us appreciate the sacrifice involved when the sinless Christ “bore our sins in his body on the cross” (1 Peter 2:24).
1. What do you appreciate most about Jesus’ humanity?
2. Which part of your humanity is most difficult to conform to the likeness of Christ?
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Lookout’s Bible Reading Plan for September 7, 2014
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
Isaiah 9, 10