Why it Matters – The Humanity of Christ

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Why it Matters – The Humanity of Christ

To read the other posts in the Why It Matters series, click here

The Humanity of Christ: What It Is

A close friend of mine is crazy smart. Like Harvard undergrad and Stanford Law kind of smart. He tells a funny story about the historical, human Jesus.

My friend and his Ivy League buddies were up late playing Trivial Pursuit (what else would a group of super smart collegians do?) For those of you unfamiliar with it, Trivial Pursuit is a game in which each player works his/her way around the game-board by answering trivia questions in any of six different categories – geography, entertainment, literature, science and nature, sports, and history. That night as they played, one of the guys drew a history question that went something like this:

“A first century Jew from Nazareth, his life serves as the turning point in the Julian and Gregorian calendars and the basis for a major world religion. Who is he?”

The question is an easy one. The answer is Jesus. But before the other player could give it, the Harvard senior who asked the simple question was utterly flabbergasted at it, and blurted out, “What?! This question is a history question? Why? According to who? Why would a question about Jesus be in the history category?!”

My friend was equally flabbergasted, but not at the question. He was baffled by his classmate’s ignorance, to which he responded, “Dude – you don’t have to believe he’s God, but c’mon man, you can’t honestly think he didn’t exist!”

My friend is right. Believe what you want about who Jesus was, but there is no doubt that he was. Jesus of Nazareth lived – as a man – on this planet – at a fixed time – in a real place.

Jesus was human. 

He had a mother, he had brothers, he had friends, and he walked, talked, ate, drank, worked, slept, laughed and cried. These are historical facts attested to by non-religious first-century historians, ancient writings, the Bible, and – as mentioned in the game Trivial Pursuit – the world’s most-recognized calendar for 2,000 years.

Beyond these facts lies the Church’s traditional teaching of Jesus’ humanity. The Christian Church believes and teaches, as most people know, that Jesus Christ is God. But the church also believes he was fully human. Like the Trinity, this teaching of the church can be difficult to grasp because it is so unique. There have been prophets, teachers, and religious leaders throughout time, but none have legitimately claimed to be God while also being fully human. Yet that is the Christian understanding of Jesus.

He was indeed God, but he was also born a helpless baby, he grew into adulthood, he walked the roads of Galilee and Jerusalem, he got hungry and thirsty, he experienced human emotion, and he died a brutal death. He bled real blood, cried real tears, knew real anger and experienced real joy – because he was really human.

This is what it means to believe that Jesus of Nazareth, the Jesus that Christianity worships as God, is also fully human. So the question we pose again here is, why does it matter?

The Humanity of Christ: Why It Matters

I’m not sure at what age a child is able to understand that a person in costume – whether it’s Dad playing Santa Claus or a stranger at Disneyland in a mouse costume – is still a real person, dressed up as something different. But until they do, Halloween must be pretty terrifying, right? I mean, how many times have you seen young children run in pure fear from someone in a gorilla suit while the older kids laugh hysterically at the practical joke? The older kids know it isn’t real. They know what the young ones don’t – that it’s just Dad having fun, pretending to be a giant monkey.

It may seem an elementary illustration, but it’s an important one for understanding why it matters that Jesus was fully human. If Jesus was fully divine (as we discussed in our last Why it Matters post) but not also fully human, then he didn’t really live a life like ours – he was just pretending. He was God in a human suit. While he may have fooled some and not others, the truth is he didn’t live an authentic human life. He only pretended to be like us.

That matters. Because if God, like dads in monkey suits and Santa costumes, was just pretending to be human, then he only pretended to experience what we do. It means he pretended to be a baby. He pretended to be helpless. He pretended to grow. He pretended to endure adolescence. He pretended to be tempted. He pretended to feel sorrow, anger and amazement, and he pretended to need food, water and rest.

So what? Why does all this pretending or not pretending matter?

It matters because of this: the crux of Christian belief is that Jesus showed us what human life in perfect relationship with our Creator can be like.

Jesus, as a human, lived the perfect life we couldn’t, died the death we deserve, and was raised by God to new human life, and in doing so, showed the same is possible for us.

So, if he didn’t actually experience a human relationship with God, real human death, and a real bodily resurrection, then how can we ever believe we will experience it? If he hasn’t done it, then there’s no proof we can. If Jesus’ life was an act, then his promise is only a theory.

As the Apostle Paul wrote, “If Christ has not been raised, then [our] faith is useless…and we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.” (1 Corinthians 15:17, 19 NLT)

But if he was not pretending, and he really was human – fully human – and really did die on that cross and walk out of the grave, then there is real hope that God is not just saying resurrection of human life is possible, but God has proved it. With that as a reality, it changes everything about our human life, giving it meaning, purpose, peace, and power.

That matters to me. Does it matter to you?

The Humanity of Christ – Scripture

Here are some key Scripture passages about Jesus’ humanity:

Philippians 2:6-8

1 Corinthians 15:12-23

Matthew 4:1-2

Hebrews 4:14-15

John 11:33-35

John 4:4-8

Luke 2:51-52

Luke 7:9

The Humanity of Christ – Read About It

Want to learn more? Here are some recommended book titles regarding the humanity of Christ:

  • Theology for the Community of God – Stanley Grenz
  • The Man Christ Jesus – Bruce A. Ware
  • The Jesus We Missed – Patrick Henry Reardon
  • Christology – Gerald O’Collins
  • The Incarnation – Stephen Davis
About The Author
Chris Greer
Chris Greer
Hi y’all! My name is Christopher and I live in Costa Mesa, CA with my amazing wife, Kerry. I’m a writer and a Young Adult Pastor at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, CA. And this is how good God is: I was born in the greatest state in the Union (Texas!) and I now live, work, and write in one of the most beautiful places on the planet (Southern California!). Life is good. I am excited that you have found Trochia, a place online to be mentored through God’s grace and truth. God has used mentorship relationships to change my life. Keenan, my friend and former boss helped me to see that my work and relationships were about far more than just “getting the job done.” My current mentor, Stan, is a Christian author who has taught me that Christians (no matter what age) can be intellectually engaged with God and culture in a way that is current, fun, and makes disciples. And I’m forever thankful to God for my parents who are my most influential mentors in faith, marriage, family, and life. Without mentorship, I would not be the man I am. That is why mentorship, along with God’s calling for us to “make disciples” and “teach them to obey everything that [He] commanded” (Matthew 28:19-20), is part of everything I do as a writer and as a young adult pastor. I hope that Trochia will be a resource that helps you receive God’s grace and understand His truth, so that you can take one obedient step after another and mentor others along the way. Check out my two latest devotional books: Easter Is Coming and Christmas Is Coming, available through Amazon.com.
43 Comments
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  • Donna Shepherd
    September 5, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Amen

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  • Lue Forte
    September 5, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    To believe on the name of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ who sacrificed his life for the sins of the whole world, yours and mines. Who defeated death in the flesh after being tempted to secure a sceptre of Gods righteous kingdom of power, love, and mercy. There is no other name in heaven by which we can be saved except thru the LordGod!

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  • Lourdes Millie Santos
    September 5, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Hello!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Hazle Sledge
    September 5, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Me to Lue

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  • Malcolm Parker
    September 5, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    amen

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  • Scarlett Hutchinson
    September 5, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    AMEN.

    0
  • Carrol Payne
    September 5, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Tell them about JESUS!

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  • Kay Squire
    September 5, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Share all I know

    0
  • Marisol Garcia
    September 5, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    AMEN.

    0
  • Doug Baer
    September 5, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    How much time do you have?

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  • Delbert Leroy Disbrow
    September 5, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Amen.

    0
  • Laura Murillo
    September 5, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    AMEN

    0
  • David Witherspoon Jr
    September 5, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Christ is THE Answer!

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  • Stephen Therey
    September 5, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    amen

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  • Robert Greene
    September 5, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Amen!

    0
  • MaryEllen Carson
    September 5, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    I gladly share at any time!

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  • Carmen Perez
    September 5, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    pronto

    0
  • Marilyn Collins
    September 5, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Share what I can

    0
  • Olive Icke Miranda
    September 5, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    AMEN I have not found a lie in GODS word yet only TRUTH , LOVE and HOPE.

    0
  • Cynthia Boullard
    September 5, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    The life, death and buriel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    0
  • Dave Holcomb
    September 5, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    I would say Yes.

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  • Rebecca Perez-Kline
    September 5, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Always believe in God >

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  • Sunnia Eric Rose
    September 5, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Always believe in God ever

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  • Princess Sharis Hassan Butt
    September 6, 2013 at 1:34 am

    AMEN

    0
  • Cindy Nagy
    September 6, 2013 at 2:06 am

    tell them

    0
  • Darron Richard DeSantis
    September 6, 2013 at 2:12 am

    That Jesus Christ is the only way to personal salvation from dying in one’s sins and reaping corruption.

    0
  • Gale Parmer
    September 6, 2013 at 4:45 am

    praise the Lord

    0
  • Sharon Stuart
    September 6, 2013 at 6:47 am

    I am absolutely not ashamed of the gospel!!

    0
  • Ethel Ophelia Huse
    September 6, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Praise the Lord!! For who so ever believes in the Lord Jesus shall have ever lasting life…There is no other way!

    0
  • Louise Holliman Taylor
    September 6, 2013 at 11:11 am

    amen.

    0
  • Terry Cronce
    September 6, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    I’d say how many hours are you free to hear it?

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  • Linda Dixon
    September 11, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    I would say … “Have you come to the place in your spiritual life where you know FOR CERTAIN that if you were to die tonight . . . you would go to heaven ?” . . . You can KNOW. And… If you WERE to die tonight , and stand before God . . . and He were to ask you – – ” Why should I let you into my Heaven’ ? ” – what would you say. These are some pretty profound questions. – And the truth of the matter is that either one could happen any day to any one of us. Stop here a moment and think . . . what would your answer be to God ? – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — — – – – – – – Most people you talk to will say a number of reasons why . . . 1) I’ve been a pretty good person 2) I have never done anything really bad 3) I go to church every Sunday 4) I give to the poor. – – – – and all of these are very good. But if a person is really honest, there will always be SOMETHING , some kind of a mistake they have made just by looking at the 10 Commandments. And when looking at God’s Holy word there are many more mistakes people can and do make. God’s Holy Word calls it Sin. In Hebrews 9: 22 it says . . .” In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” – – – There is a place in scripture where Jesus and His Father were discussing this – – the normal animal sacrifices had come to mean not too much to people – – – and God was getting very disappointed with people’s sincerity – – and Jesus said … “Here I Am … this is a sacrifice for sins that will never be forgotten ” – and it HASN’T been all these hundreds and hundreds of years down the road. The Love Jesus holds for mankind and the longing for whoever will come . . . to come and be with Him Forever will get my heart until the day I am with Him. There is NO ONE like Him. I guess my question to anyone I am talking to is – do YOU want to belong to such an awesome Being like this . . . You can, and you can KNOW it … John 3:16 … “For GOD so Loved the world He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have Everlasting Life. ” – – – and Jesus himself said … ” Most assuredly I say unto you, He that believeth in Me HAS Everlasting Life . ” – – John 6: 47 – – – “Let anyone that will come, come and drink of the water freely ” . . . Isaiah 55: All – The Invitation

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  • Doris Montgomery Gonzales
    October 10, 2013 at 6:07 am

    Talk about fake looking!

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  • Caroline Mellon
    October 10, 2013 at 7:35 am

    and that HE is coming again!!!

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  • Daniel Charlem
    October 10, 2013 at 9:17 am

    He was, is and Will always be our Lord

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  • Oliver Delk
    October 10, 2013 at 9:32 am

    AMEN

    0
  • Vickey Autry
    October 10, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Thank You for your Great Gift!!!

    0
  • Valla Marie Bunn Stewart
    October 10, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Thank You, GOD & Jesus …

    0
  • Anna Nelson
    October 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    You Got It!!! Amen

    0
  • Naomi Anderson-Johnson
    October 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Yes it matters ,and he is coming soon to PROVE it.

    0
  • Shirley Garner
    October 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Amen !!!

    0
  • Eli Deaton
    October 13, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    I’m no genius, but that looks like a gorilla suit.

    0
  • Linda Dixon
    October 20, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    I think God’s WORD is what really matters – and it is THE TRUTH – no theology about it !!! I pray all will realize what they need to in God’s eyes .

    0

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