Andrew Hughes | Category: Christmas
In theologically orthodox circles, it is common to spend a lot of time defending the deity of Christ: that he is divine, fully God. And this is rightly so.
But that is only half of the equation.
You might already know of the equation; but sometimes, we can forget that His humanity is equally as important as His deity. Not somewhat important. But equally important. He wasn’t just 70% God and 30% human. Nor was it just a 50/50 deal. He was, and is, 100% God and 100% man. That might not make for good math, but it makes for an astounding and immensely practical theology.
Well, the beauty of the Advent season is that the focus becomes specifically on that of Christ’s incarnation- His putting on human flesh, becoming one of us, for us.
The Human Sympathizer
I recently ran across some beautiful lyrics from a hymn I had never heard of, speaking towards the beauty of Jesus’ humanity. They state the following:
O Savior Christ, thou too art man;
Thou hast been troubled, tempted, tried;
Thy kind but searching glance can scan
The very wounds that shame would hide.
Hebrews 4:15 states the very same thing this way:
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.
Jesus sympathizes with us in our weakness and trials and thus provides us consolation as the One who did so without sin. We find daily hope in His very own sinlessness.
The Human Example
Jesus’s humanity also provides us an example. First Peter 2:21 points this out: For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
In Philippians, Paul speaks to how the incarnation of Christ exemplifies humility for our own practice: Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)
The Human Savior
But Jesus is more than a sympathizer and example, though no less. He is fundamentally a Savior. And it is this reality from which all the other benefits of His humanity come to us.
It is Jesus’ sinlessness for us, that makes Him the perfect sympathizer.
It is Jesus’ suffering and humiliation for us that makes Him the perfect example.
Jesus had to be a human man to become our substitute. This God-man, thus, was able to live the life we could never live, die the death we deserved, physically rise over death, and ascend to His heavenly throne, still as the God-man.
Praise God! Jesus really was (and still is) a man!
*Stanza 5 of At Even, Ere the Sun Was Set, Pilgrim Hymnal, by Henry Twells
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