Jesus was God spelling himself out in language humanity could understandS.D.Gordon
Exploring the Wonders of Christ’s Humanity
IN THE CHRISTIAN VIEW, the ultimate evidence for the existence of God is Jesus Christ,” wrote Timothy Keller. He adds:
If there is a God, we characters in his play have to hope that he put some information about himself in the play. But Christians believe he did more than give us information. He wrote himself into the play as the main character in history, when Jesus was born in a manger and rose from the dead.
“The really staggering Christian claim is that Jesus of Nazareth was God made man. . . . The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as is this truth of the Incarnation.”James I. Packer
Our journey to explore the wonders of the nature and names of Jesus brings us to our view of the Human Jesus.
Heaven Meets Earth
The author of Hebrews affirms the significance of the Human Jesus throughout his letter. On one occasion he wrote:
Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. . . . Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested. Hebrews 2:14–18 NLT
Later in this same letter, more insight is given regarding the profound significance of God taking upon Himself human form in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ:
You are a priest forever . . . who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey HimHeberws 5: 9-6
Theologians refer to Christ’s coming to earth as His incarnation. Incarnation is defined as “endowment with a human body; appearance in human form.” A simple definition of human reads: “having human form or attributes; representative or susceptible to the sympathies and frailties of human nature.” The definition expands: “having or sharing qualities viewed as distinctive of people; member of the human race; a living soul; as being a part of humankind.” This certainly describes the Human Jesus. In referring to Christ as simply the Word, the apostle John said of His incarnation: “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.
And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son” (John 1:14 NLT)
Henry Law summed it up in a single sentence: “In Jesus Christ heaven meets earth and earth ascends to heaven.”
One of the Sheep
Other Bible writers would likewise speak of the profound significance of Christ’s humanity. Paul would tell Colossian believers:
“For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority” (Colossians 2:9–10 NLT).
Paul would also write to his young colleague Timothy describing Christ’s incarnation as a mystery: “
Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16 NLT).
Of this mystery of Christ’s incarnation, Bishop Melito of Sardis in the second century said of Christ: He appeared as one of the sheep, yet He still womb of Mary, yet arrayed in the nature of his Father. He walked upon the earth, yet He filled heaven
He appeared as one of the sheep, yet He still remained the Shepherd. He was esteemed a servant, yet He did not renounce His Sonship. He was carried in the womb of Mary, yet arrayed in the nature of his Father. He walked upon the earth, yet He filled heaven
Christianity is clearly unique among all religions in suggesting the very Creator of the universe came to earth in the form of a man to redeem humankind.
A Prayer for Today
Jesus, today I come before You to thank You for taking on flesh and blood and walking this earth as one of us. Only in human form could You die and conquer the power of death. Only in a human body could You bear the sufferings of humankind and share their pain. Only in a human body could You truly be “God with us.” As I focus today on Your humanity, I become aware of how deeply I am able to trust You. You truly know, understand and sympathetically share in my humanness. Thank You for Your nearness, Lord Jesus. Amen.
ENCOUNTERING AWESOME JESUS:
A PRACTICAL APPLICATION
Remember—these four steps to help you apply this quality of Christ to your own life.
- EXPLORE: Take time to meditate on this quality of Christ. Use Scriptures in this chapter to get started.
- EXPERIENCE: Turn your meditation into prayer that this quality might impact your life today. Pray the above prayer to begin.
- EXPRESS: During your quiet time, take a moment to journal your thoughts, even if briefly.
- EXALT: Pray, praise or even spontaneously sing your way through today’s list of the names of Jesus. It only requires a few minutes.
Author: Dr Dick Eastman.
We are grateful to Dr Eastman and Dr Doug Clay of US AG who has provided these resources. This is an edited version for the international audience.