The Humanity of Christ
A. I believe that Jesus was fully man…
This “what” of who Jesus was is probably the hardest for me to wrap my mind fully around. In my mind I know that He was fully man yet, when I’m in a tempting situation, I all too often tell myself that Jesus was fully God as well as fully man so he had it easier. (At least this has been my previous mindset on Jesus.) This isn’t true at all, and in fact, is the opposite of the truth. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” It’s reassuring knowing that I can cry out to a God who has felt, and understands, what I’m feeling. So, believing and knowing that Jesus was truly fully man is something that is important to me.
I’ll come back to Hebrews 4:15 in just a bit, but the biggest proof for Jesus being fully man is that everyone around him saw him as a man. When Jesus goes back home to teach in Matthew 13 the people say in verses 54-55, “… and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this MAN get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s SON? Is not his mother called Mary?” The people who had been around Jesus the most as he grew up, which I’ll bring up in a moment, knew without a doubt that he was a man.
These were also the people who saw him grow up, and just as a human does, Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” Jesus went through the same psychological developmental stages that all humans go through. He even learned obedience through what he suffered! (Hebrews 5:8) The Bible is very clear about others seeing him as a man, and him going through psychological stages. The leading psychologist on human development, Erik Erikson found that, at ages 6-11 years old, children hit a stage he refers to as “Industry vs. Inferiority.” This stage says that children busily learn to be competent and productive in mastering new skills or feel inferior and unable to do anything well. Right at the tail end of this stage is where we find Jesus in the synagogue teaching God’s Word. We find the account in Luke 2:42-49 saying, “And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem… they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.” We see Jesus right at the tail end of this HUMAN developmental stage mastering this knowledge and skill. The stage he was transitioning into is Erikson’s stage of Identity vs. Role Confusion that says adolescents try to figure out “who am I?” They establish sexual, political, and vocational identities or are confused about what roles to play. This HUMAN developmental stage that Jesus would have just been getting to is very evident in the interaction that follows between him and his parents. Luke 2:48-49 says, “… And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Jesus, in Erikson’s human developmental stage of Identity vs. Role confusion finds and understands who he is; knowing who his father is (God) and what his role was on earth.
In fact, just before this story Luke 2:40 says,” And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.” This verse touches on the three domains of human development; biosocial development (Physical Growth), cognitive development (Development of the process of thinking/learning), and psychosocial development (Development in relation to family or community).
There is also several Passages that show that Jesus was psychosocially developed as a human being because he has feelings and emotions. In Matthew 8:10 after seeing/hearing (which are biosocial HUMAN developments) the centurion’s faith, “He marveled.” In Luke 22:44 Luke says that Jesus was in “agony.” In John 11:35 John tells us that, “Jesus wept.”
These are all Psychological facts about humans that have been accepted by both Christian and non-Christian alike in our world, and we see them backing up Christ’s humanity all throughout Scripture.
Coming back to Hebrews 4:15, which says that, “…we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin,” leads me to my belief that Jesus was fully God who was fully experiencing life as a man. The biggest part of Scripture that affirms this belief was when Jesus went out into the wilderness for 40 days and was tempted by Satan. Luke 4:2-3 says, “And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written,’ Man shall not live by bread alone.’” In this passage we see that Satan is tempting Jesus to stop experiencing life as a man, and to use his deity to make his experience as a man easier and to disobey God. But Jesus resists the devils temptation and obeys God.
Jesus was clearly fully Man.