WEReveal

On Jesus: His Humanity

Modern think­ing often wants to make Jesus only a man and not God. However, ancient think­ing often refused to acknowl­edge Jesus’ human­i­ty. Both were declared hereti­cal. This study looks at the human­i­ty of Jesus and why it is impor­tant.

The gospel of John and his epis­tles are often believed to have been writ­ten in the last decade of the first cen­tu­ry (cir­ca 90 AD). It is inter­est­ing how John empha­sizes sev­er­al times the human­i­ty of Jesus. Examples include John 1:14 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
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, “So the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” 1 John 1:1 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
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“We  saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands.” and 2 John 1:7 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
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  “I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body. Such a per­son is a deceiv­er and an antichrist.”

Those who denied the total human­i­ty of Jesus tend­ed to dom­i­nate the ear­ly church the­o­log­i­cal debates. Their teach­ings man­i­fest­ed them­selves in var­i­ous guis­es and are known by sev­er­al names, depend­ing on their empha­sis or leader. Many were direct­ly or indi­rect­ly influ­enced by gnos­tic think­ing, although a cou­ple came from oth­er sources.

Toward the end of the first cen­tu­ry, ear­ly gnos­ti­cism was becom­ing fair­ly wide spread through out the Roman empire. Gnosticism was not Christian based, rather, it was based on Greek phi­los­o­phy, espe­cial­ly Plato. Some Christian groups adopt­ed gnos­tic think­ing and mod­i­fied Christian teach­ings to fit the gnos­tic teach­ings.

Fundamental to gnos­tic think­ing was that knowl­edge was king (gnos­tic comes from the Greek word gno­sis which mean knowl­edge). As Plato taught, gnos­tics believed that the mate­r­i­al world was some­thing to slough off and become pure spir­it. As such, Christian gnos­tics felt that Jesus, the Son of God, would not have actu­al­ly become flesh. Rather, Jesus was an ema­na­tion of God, some­thing oth­er­world­ly.

Another major thought was Arianism which taught that the Word took the place of the human soul in Jesus, mak­ing the man a mere pup­pet of the Word. Jesus, the flesh, was not actu­al­ly the Word. The Word inhab­it­ed Jesus. Ironically, Arianism also taught that the Word was not God either, rather the Son was cre­at­ed (begot­ten).

Arius, the leader of this group and from which they took their name was a fair­ly influ­en­cial church leader. The ear­ly church had a large group which fol­lowed Arius’ teach­ing and with­out Athanasius firm oppo­si­tion, this heresy could have become dom­i­nant. Arianism was basi­cal­ly anti­thet­i­cal to Trinitarian thought. It prob­a­bly took the four great coun­cils to final­ly declare it as hereti­cal.

Generally, Jesus’ human­i­ty is not ques­tioned in today’s Christian think­ing although it can still be seen to a small degree in some Unitarian thought or oth­er.

So why is the Son of God’s human­i­ty so impor­tant?

Without God becom­ing man, we would have no vic­ar­i­ous atone­ment. Ok, lots of syl­la­bles there, what in the world did that mean? Romans 6:23 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
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prob­a­bly puts it best. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eter­nal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Sin demands pun­ish­ment from God. OUR sin results in God’s judge­ment upon us — eter­nal death. “And the judg­ment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but peo­ple loved the dark­ness more than the light, for their actions were evil.” John 3:19 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
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But God does not want to pun­ish us, “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that every­one who believes in Him will not per­ish but have eter­nal life.” John 3:16 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
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It took a per­fect sac­ri­fice, the shed­ding of blood, to bring us sal­va­tion. This sounds bar­bar­ic! And it would have been if God would have demand­ed some ran­dom indi­vid­ual to die for all of us. However, He demand­ed it of Himself, for only a per­fect, sin­less sac­ri­fice could bring us that sal­va­tion. He became a man, born of a vir­gin (the immac­u­late con­cep­tion) so that He would be a unique human, sin­less. He was born with­out orig­i­nal sin and remained sin­less through­out His life. He had to be a man, tru­ly human, to be able to offer Himself as the sac­ri­fice.

His sin­less sac­ri­fice on the cross is accept­ed as a sat­is­fac­to­ry pay­ment for our sin—a vic­ar­i­ous atone­ment.

And so, the Son of God had to become the Son of Man that we might be saved. To deny the Son of God’s human­i­ty is to deny our sal­va­tion.

All scrip­ture quot­ed came from the New Living Translation (NLT).

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