It seems that more and more recently this issue of Christ’s nature is coming up. More than ever we find ourselves bombarded with people making claims about Christ that go against what we see in scripture. Probably one of the most troubling claims that is made is that Christ was simply a man, and not at all divine. They claim that Jesus Christ is not God. And so, in the midst of this, I think we often jump to the defense of Christ, humorously assuming that he needs us to defend him, and work really hard to combat this false claim; and with the best of intentions we proudly proclaim that Jesus Christ is God.
First and foremost, let’s just clear the air… Jesus, the Creator, Savior and King, does not need us to defend his deity. Yes, Jesus Christ is God. And yes, Christ was there in the beginning with God. He has existed throughout all of eternity past, and will reign forever on the throne of heaven as Lord, Savior, and God.
Second, I think we need to be careful that as we are passionate about Jesus Christ being God, we need to be equally passionate about the fact that he was also human; God incarnate, literally in flesh. In the same way that we celebrate Christ’s deity, we need to celebrate and embrace his humanity. It is because of his humanity that he is able to empathize with our weaknesses. He is able to understand the troubles and trials of being human. And because of this, we are able to know that in him and through him we receive grace, as we see in Hebrews 4:14-16:
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 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. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
So what does it mean for Christ to be human? It means he had a normal and physical birth. His birth was not some kind of divine c-section. He was not born perfectly clean and glowing. He did not have a halo above his head, nor did he look like one of those creepy baby Jesus pictures where for some reason there is a fully adult face and head on a tiny baby body. No, instead Jesus was born, and it was messy, and it was painful for Mary. Jesus had normal bodily functions, and his mother had to feed him and clean him.
Jesus cried when he felt pain and he laughed when he heard a good joke. Jesus lived a normal childhood. He had to learn to crawl and walk. He had to learn how to talk and was taught life skills by his parents. Bottom line, Jesus was human. And yet Jesus was still fully God. In taking on this human existence, Jesus did not in any way cease to be God. He did not abandon or leave behind his divine nature at all, but instead took on a human nature and body in addition to his perfect and divine nature.
It is so important that we realize that these two things, his human nature and his divine nature, are not mutually exclusive, but instead are in perfect fullness, both at the same time. Because we have a savior who is both fully human, but also fully God, we are given hope in a way that we never could receive under any other circumstance. Because he is God, he is perfectly able to save. Because he is man, he is perfectly able to understand and sympathize with us in our times of trial, temptation and pain, as well as our joys and victories.
Praise him for being perfectly and fully God, as well as human. Praise him, for he is good. Praise him for his love. And Praise him because he is God!