Was Jesus Human?
By Mark Jordan
Apostolics rightly place great emphasis on the deity of Christ, but this does not preclude His humanity. Christ’s humanity stands out as a significant fact. He was fully God and fully man-both God and man. Paul wrote, “Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh” (I Timothy 3:16). Even though Jesus was God, it is important for us to understand that He was also a human being like you and me. Theologically, this satisfies the scriptural description of Jesus, validates His historical lineage, qualifies Him to be our sacrifice for sin, makes His resurrection a true miracle, and fulfills prophecy. Moreover, from a personal standpoint, Christ’s humanity forms the basis for our relationship to Him. The very essence of the Incarnation was to experience the human condition in every way except in sin.
First, why would anyone deny the humanity of Christ? Some may think that to affirm His humanity is to negate His divinity. They may have fallen for the old gnostic heresy, refuted by the apostle Paul in the Book of Colossians, that all flesh is evil and thus Jesus could not have existed in human flesh. They may be attempting to “hyper-analyze” the Incarnation to the point that they destroy it. Whatever the reason, the result is a dangerous and erroneous view that denies access to God to all who believe it. Consider the Scriptures:
Jesus was not an angel. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels … that he … should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9).
Jesus had human parentage. “Of this man’s seed hath God … raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus”
(Acts 13:23). “The generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Romans 1:3). “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Galatians 4:4).
Jesus developed as a normal human being. `And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 24:15-16).
Jesus looked, acted, and felt like a man. He was recognizable as a Jew (John 4:9). He was mistaken for an ordinary man (Luke 24:13). He looked like the gardener (John 20:15).
Jesus was tempted to sin. “Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” (Matthew 4:1). We also read that Jesus ascribed human names to Himself, that He was the sacrificial lamb, that He had flesh which was capable of dying, and that He had a post-resurrection body that became a prototype for all believers.
We must regard the humanity of Christ as a vital and necessary doctrine. Those who say that the flesh of Jesus was not flesh at all, or was different from our flesh, negate the role of Mary and the lineage of Christ through David back to Adam. But Jesus did not offer angelic “flesh” on the cross. He did not simulate suffering in a “virtual reality” Calvary. He did not play mind games with us to mislead us into thinking that He was one of us yet actually existing as an “other-worldly” being. Jesus sacrificed His body, His flesh, His
“terrestrial body” (I Corinthians 15:40) on the Roman instrument of execution, the cross.
If Jesus did not die as a man, then He did not destroy the devil. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14). If Jesus did not die as a man, then His resurrection loses its potency. The miraculous impact of the empty tomb stems from the fact that, as a true man, He died. After He arose, He said, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39).
Apostolics must never forget that our relationship to God rests solely upon the Incarnation. None of us can know God without the “mediator between God and men, the man [anthropon] Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5). Thus, we possess a viable relationship to God, perpetual intercession, empathy in suffering, and boldness in prayer. “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16). Let us jealously guard this marvelous truth.
Mark Jordan is superintendent of the Ohio District, pastor of First Apostolic Church, Toledo, Ohio, and a member of the Board of Publication.
The Above Material Was Published By The Pentecostal Herald, March 2003, Page 18. This Material Is Copyrighted And May Be Used For Study & Research Purposes Only.