Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Devotion 13. Jesus: Fully Man

The angel Gabriel told Mary she would be pregnant and give birth to a son (Luke 1:31). The Son of God became a man without giving up his divinity. You may have heard the phrase “fully God and fully man” to describe this. Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit, but grew as a fully human child in the womb of Mary and was born as any human baby is. Philippians 2:7 said he was made in human likeness (NIV).

The story of his life in the gospels demonstrates his humanity. He got tired, hungry and thirsty. He wept at the loss of his friend Lazarus. He felt pain when he was tortured. He bled. He died physically.

The church has maintained the full humanity of Christ through the ages. John 1:14 says Christ became flesh and dwelt among us. 1 John 4:2 says every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. 2 John 7:7 puts it strongly: “Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.”

Christ’s humanity is important for several reasons. Here are a few. He had to be born under the law and satisfy its requirements so that his righteousness could be credited to us. This is sometimes called his active obedience. Galatians 4:4 says “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, so that we might receive the full rights of sons.” Romans 5:18-19 says “Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” What the first Adam did, the Second Adam “undid”.

By taking on humanity, Jesus was perfected as our Savior and Mediator. Hebrews 2:17 says he had to be made like us in all ways so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest and to make propitiation for sins. Hebrews 4:15 says “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.”

Every pain you feel, Jesus felt. His father died when he was young. His brothers rejected him and thought he was crazy until he appeared to them after the resurrection. His people, the Jews, largely rejected him. The leaders of his religion persecuted him and eventually assassinated him. He lost a friend to death. He walked until he was exhausted, taught until he was so tired he fell asleep in a boat during a storm. He was criticized. He was doubted. His disciples abandoned him. He suffered excruciating pain. He did all this so he could perfectly sympathize with you.

Have you ever tried to share your pain or anxiety with a person that just has everything going their way? Did they patronize you or brush you off? Did they just not understand because they had never suffered? It is not that way with Jesus. While fully in human flesh, he suffered all that we do.

He did not sin, but he understands the pain.
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