The Humanity of Christ
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It is well known that Jesus came in the form of man, and He experienced life on earth, going through all of the problems we go through, all of the hurt we go through, and experienced pain, suffering, and loss just like the rest of us.  We all know this, but in the back of our minds is a thought that since Jesus is God made flesh, He really did not, or could not have gone through as much pain and suffering as we go through.

Great Loss

When thinking of how Jesus went through loss of personal relationships, two people come to mind.  First is Joseph, his father.  We do not know for sure what happened to Joseph, but we do know that Joseph was there when Jesus was twelve in the temple (Luke 2:28), then we never see him again in scripture. When Jesus was dying on the cross he tells John to take care of his mom, something Jesus would not have to do if his father was still alive (John 19:26-27).  This also shows that Jesus cared about his mom, he wanted her to be well taken care of, something any of us would want.

Another powerful passage in the Bible is when Jesus’ close friend, Lazarus, died.  Jesus got word that Lazarus was not feeling well and then after he died Jesus made his way to visit.  Seeing the women weeping over Lazarus and then seeing the grave himself was too much for Jesus, and “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).  This simple verse showing that Jesus had compassion, felt pain, even though he knew Lazarus would not be dead for much longer, it was still painful to him.

Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Great Suffering

I think it is downright impossible for us to understand the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross.  All to often I hear others, or even think in the back of my own mind, that what Jesus went through was bad but at least he knew the end result so it was not that bad.  How wrong can we get? Not only did Jesus get tortured and executed, but his status with God was, for the first time in all existance, severed from the Father (Mark 15:34).  Can you imagine what this would have been like? Do you think Jesus was anxious at all, or wished that he could avoid what was ahead?

Jesus did not want to go through with what was ahead and prayed for God to remove this trial from his only begotten son (John 22:42).  Jesus, “being in agony, prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (John 22:44)

Yes, Jesus was human, he had compassion, felt the pain of loss felt great anxiety. Jesus went through the pain that we went through, even more so.

So why did He do it?  Jesus prayed “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (John 22:42).  Do you not think that the loving father would take such trials from His only begotten son? But he did not, why?  Because it was the only way.

Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.

“He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever.” (Hebrews 10:12)  Jesus died, do you really understand that? Jesus, our creator, was beaten, tortured, betrayed, and executed for you!

Acts 3:19
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

2 Corinthians 7:10
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

John Piper, in Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ writes

Therefore, this man of indestructible joy was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38). This “great high priest” is not unable to sympathize with us in our weakness, becasue he was tested in every way as a man like us (Hebrews 4:14-15). He wept with those who wept (John 11:35) and rejoiced with those who rejoiced (Luke 10:27, 21). He was hungry (Matthew 4:2), he was weary (John 4:6), he was forsaken (Matthew 26:56), betrayed (Matthew 26:45), whipped (Matthew 27:26), mocked (Matthew 27:31), and crucified (Matthew 27:35).

Jesus can and did relate to us, he felt pain suffering and loss.  Why did he go through all of this pain and suffering?  Because only through Jesus can we be reconciled with God.  Jesus went through all of that, only for you, what do you do for him?

About Jon Zenor

Jon is the founder and leader of ETM, a ministry dedicated to sharing the gospel across the Internet. You can find more information about him on his personal website, JonZenor.com.

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16 Responses to The Humanity of Christ

  1. JDH says:

    Jon,
    Thanks for the post on Christ’s Humanity. I agree that many people assume Christ cannot possibly understand what they are going through. I also think that is something we all have a tendency to do as self-centric people, the result being when times are hard, naval gazing is easy, living with your head up is hard.

    I find that Evangelicals today (Christians who ascribe to the 5 Solas: Sola gratia, Sola fide, Solus Christus, Sola Scriptura, Soli Deo Gloria) often focus on the impact of Christ’s death, i.e. his sacrifice for us. Such touches directly on his suffering as you point out above. (NOTE: I don’t know if you would self lable as an Evangelical or not, but the post rang true in that direction…)

    Something I would like to discuss is the related topic of Christ’s life and its value. Is it appropriate to discuss that here or is there a better thread? I am new to this forum, so I am trying to catch up, but there is a lot. 🙂

  2. Jon Zenor says:

    Thank you for returning to ETM and leaving another comment, JDH. I guess we could be considered evangelicals although I really hate labels among the church more and more as time goes on, but at the same time I see the necessity of it, feel free to discuss anything either here in the post comments or in our community forum.

    What exactly do you mean by Christ’s life and its value? Christ came that we may know God and to testify to the Truth, which is another name for the Holy Spirit. Yeah He did show us how to live good lives, but that was not His main goal or accomplishment. Even Buddah or Ghandi or Mother Therresa can show us how to be “good”. Only the Son of God could let us know God.

  3. JDH says:

    Thanks for clarifying on both points.

    I hate how useful lables become corrupted over time by the unauthetic and hypocritical.

    Since the human mind thrives on organization, I don’t see mankind ever getting away from lables, but we can choose to redeem those worth picking out of the trash heep of hypocrasy and syncretism. I’m just trying to dust off one I find helfpul.
    To clarify, I would self-lable as an evangelical who accepts the 5 Solas.

    Answer/Discussion:
    Master Z said: “What exactly do you mean by Christ’s life and its value?”

    I was referencing Double Imputation, i.e. the mechanical or legal application and worth of Christ’s life, death and resurection for us as Christians–albeit without the fancy term.

    If his death paid our penalty, what did his life do for us–aside from showing us how to live in a sense–because that is not why he came.

    So far as Double Imputation, I was wondering how you understood the implication of Christ’s life as related to the Law and our Sanctification, as apposed to Justification?

    My stance: The Budda, Ghandi, Mother Therresa and other notables….
    I disagree that Buddah or Ghandi did or could show people how to live well or “goodly” lives; pleasant lives, self-fulfilling lives…maybe, maybe not. As Mother Therresa was a Christian, I’d say one could glean good info from her life, up to a point–but I would also posit that anything of value was due to the Holy Spirit’s influence and work in her life, not Mother Therresa.

    Scriptural Basis:
    Romans 3:10-12 & Rom 12:1-4; 9-20 may be of assistance for gettng at what I mean.

    The first declaring no one is good as measured by God’s yard stick and the latter instructions for living a good Christian life.

    Conclusion:
    Ghandi and the Budda may have promoted non-violence and other things, such as Ghandi being key to the freeing of a nation, but “none is righteous, no not one…” right? (Rom3) so I see them as hopelessly outmatched with that task, just as the rest of us.
    I’ve already explained Mother Therresa. She was a light in the darkness–thanks to God alone.

    Those are my stances. I’m currious to discuss Double Imputation with you if you’re also interestd. Have a nice day! 🙂

    Soli Deo Gloria,

    JDH

  4. Jon Zenor says:

    “I hate how useful lables become corrupted over time by the unauthetic and hypocritical.”

    C. S. Lewis mentioned something along these lines, in his book Mere Christianity if I recall correctly. He used the example of the word “Gentlemen”. Gentlemen used to refer to ones position in society, not their demeanor. But the word was so overused it became corrupted so calling someone a gentlemen today says nothing about their position.

    In the same way the word Christian is overused to the point now where a Christian is nothing but a person who sometimes goes to church and professes belief in some form of diety which they name Jesus.

    Other labels within the church have similarly been corrupted…

    • JDH says:

      Hello again,
      I would agree your reflection on the word Christian could describe what we see going on in the US, but I don’t agree it applies to other settings.

      For example, a Christian in Iran is not something casual and to take the name of Christ there is to face intense suffering.

      Could you clarify whether your comment was directed toward American culture’s definition or the American Church’s or some segment of it or in general as a percpetion of global trends?

      Also I’m interested to hear your thoughts on what other lables in the Church are corrupted.

      Thanks,

      JDH

      • Jon Zenor says:

        Well when you are determining the meaning of a word, that in itself is very specific to the local area. I cannot speak for the rest of the world, but I do know of several countries (mostly where Christianity is popular) that have a huge problem with lukewarm Chrsitianity.

        I don’t know what other labels are misused, I bet a lot of them. I do not like to focus on what the church is doing wrong as much as do what I can to try and help others to actually focus on Christ. I do not know a whole lot of theology or deep doctrinal discussions, but I know Christ. That is what matters. 🙂

  5. Jon Zenor says:

    As for your question as to what Jesus’ life meant to us, that I think is a tough one that can most likely be answered in many ways, probably none of them satisfactorly.

    The easy broad answer is that Jesus came to do what God wanted him to do. (Luke 2:49) “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (John 6:38) “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”

    Jesus came to testify to Truth (John 18:37) – “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth”

    Jesus came that we can know the Father (John 14:7) “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

    Jesus came to call sinners to repentance (Mark 2:17) “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

    Jesus came to show us light that we would not have to abide by the darkness (John 12:46) “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.”

    But I think one of the key things is that Jesus came to fulfill the law, because if he did not fulfill the law then he could not save us from the law. (Matthew 5:17) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” (Galations 4:4-5) “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

    I hope I gave a thourough enough answer. 🙂

  6. JDH says:

    Master Z,

    Thanks for the answer! Love how you keep dropping verses. That rocks. I’m always impressed at your verse referencing.

    In light of the plethora of options, I’d like to narrow in on Matthew 5 and Galatians 4 if you’re game.

    My interest was in the Double Imputation of Christ’s life, work, death and resurrection as it applies to sanctification (the act of living a life in Christ, as a redeemed person, now justified, growing in Christ likeness over a lifetime).

    In Matthew 5:17 we see Jesus saying he came to fulfill the Law and Prophets, a term which means everything we recognize today as the Old Testament. It wasn’t limited to the Ten Commandments or even the 600+ examples of case law found in the Pentateuch.

    What then of our responsibility to keep the law? If Jesus fulfilled it, why did he do so and what is the implication for us?

    From the above I take it you see an implication for it as relates to Justification. What about Sanctification?

    The Galatians passage makes the issue even more clear with the phrase “adoption as sons.”

    What was adoption back in the first century? What’s the implication of adoption out of being ‘under the law’ (implication being that if we are in Christ we are not under the Law?) and as sons? Again, I think you’ve addressed the Justification question–what about Sanctification question?

    How then shall we now life–since Christ has fulfilled the Law & Prophets and redeemed us out from under the Law, allowing us to receive the adoption as sons?

    What is this adoption? How does it inform my Christian life/walk?

    I hope all of that made sense. It was a lot–looking forward to your responses as they come in!
    🙂

    God Bless,

    JDH

    • Jon Zenor says:

      I do not have the time to answer everything now, but I will get to them later.

      I just wanted to hit on one thing that caught my attention. We do not have any obligation to keep the law anymore as followers of Christ. But if we have the Holy Spirit in us, then we will follow the commandments.

      “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:7

      “Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” – 1 John 2:4-6

      Those who love Christ will follow Him, do what He said to do, live like He lived. This is my struggle right now… This doesn’t just mean to keep the law, but to spend my life actually on fire radical for God!

      I crave that right now, why am I such a coward and live like the rest of the world when Jesus died to save me? Jesus died to save me and I can’t even get out of my own comfort zone to follow Him!

  7. JDH says:

    Jon,

    What does being “on fire, radical for God” look like?

    You seem to think you’re not. I’m sorry you think you’re cowardly–why would you self-assess that way? Having a site for the purposes of witnessing doesn’t strike as cowardly.
    I would argue that getting out of your comfort zone isn’t the goal of Christianity. Following Christ is the journey of Sanctification and its progressive, not a once and done thing.

    No one, and I mean no one is profficient at it. Rom 7.

    • JDH says:

      I want to clarify–I’m trying to be encouraging up above. Not trying to lecture. I sense you were beating yourself there in the last bit and felt sad.

      I’m not sure why you feel the need to belittle yourself like that but even Paul considered himself the chief of sinners. God isn’t interested in our performance but our faithfulness and love–those will lead to performance, but we are going to fail to be perfect–we’re fallen humans.

      Part of our journey in sanctification is realizing our dependency on Christ for all things and failure is a good teacher in that way. When we fail we have Christ and are able to ask for his strength and sufficiency.

      JDH

  8. Jon Zenor says:

    Hey Josh, thank you for the words of encouragement. 🙂

    Why I say what I did is because I have spent the last few years all but ignoring God. And now that I am trying to draw close to Him I still have a lot of doubts in my mind.

    Am I one of the elect, one that is choosen, or am I just “playing Christian”? Is the Holy Spirit in me, if so why was I walking away from God for so long and why is it so hard to follow Him now? Is ETM just me trying to prove that I’m saved and my attempt to follow God on my own terms or…

    Anyway those are the things going through my mind lately. Thank you again for the words of encouragement, it really does help. 🙂

    • JDH says:

      Hey Jon,
      Glad you felt encouraged. We all struggle in our walk. It sounds like you’re wrestling with some hard questions that are good to answer.

      Here’s a thought…Why not start a new thread on the Assurance of Salvation?

      Also, you could start one on Sanctification.

      I’d be up for discussing both items and the seperation from the “Humanity of Christ” topic would make it simpler for the community to hash out the threads and bennefit from the discussion.

      JDH

  9. Jon Zenor says:

    Those would be interesting topics that I will plan on doing one day, but not right now. I have some really good articles coming up and some more planned for the near future. Be sure to stick around. Even though I am dealing these tough questions God is showing me more about different aspects of my faith.

    It has been a journey, that is for sure! 🙂

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  11. Simon Igbinedion says:

    If Jesus is the word of God why did he say my father is greater than I, the word and God should be one,also why did he say i will seat at the right hand of my father. and the same word (Jesus) says you will do greater things than the i(word) considering that nothing can be greater than the word.

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