Regarding the person of Christ, two essential truths must be considered and understood by every believer. The humanity of Christ and the Deity of Christ. The New Testament teaching regarding the Person of Christ is that Jesus is fully God and fully man in the most profound sense of the terms.
The humanity of Christ refers to the theological concept that Jesus was, in fact, a complete human. And as a man, in the flesh, Jesus experienced all the limitations of being in human form (but without in any way surrendering his Divinity). The humanity of Christ is as essential to the Christian faith as his deity.
The incarnation is defined as the act of grace whereby Christ took our human nature into union with his Divine person and became man. Christ is both God and man. A Divine Person was united to a human nature (Acts 20:28, Romans 8:32, 1 Corinthians 2:8, Hebrews 2:11-14, 1 Timothy 3:16, Galatians 4:4). (M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
published by Thomas Nelson, 1897).
The New Testament attributes both divine and human attributes to Jesus without dividing him into two persons. Theologically, Christ is a single person with two natures. To emphasize the deity of Christ in no way diminishes his humanity and to highlight his humanity in no way detracts from his Divinity. He is the Son of God and the Son of Man.
Christ’s humanity is evident from the following assertions in the New Testament:
- He was born. (Luke 2:7, 2:40, 2:52)
- He was hungry (Matt 4:2)
- He was thirsty (John 4:7; 19:28)
- He grew tired (John 4:6)
- He experienced the full range of human emotions (Matt 26:37; John 2:15; 11:35).
- He was tempted but did not sin (Matt 4:1–11, Heb 2:18, Heb 4:15, 9:14, 1Pet 1:19).
- He physically died and was buried. (Rom 8:3–4, 2 Cor 5:21).
- He was raised from the dead in his humanity (1Cor 15:45).
- Christ’s incarnation had a beginning in human history, but it has no end. He continues to reign as the exalted Son of God from the Father’s right hand (Rom 1:4; Col 3:1).
- He also continues his priestly work of intercession in the heavenly sanctuary (Heb 7:24–25).
- He will return in his humanity. When Christ ascended to heaven, the angel announced to the apostles that Christ would return just as he had been taken up into heaven (Acts 1:11). Jesus did not shed his humanity like a garment when he entered the clouds. He remains a glorified human being and will return personally and visibly on the last day (Col 3:4).
Furthermore, Christ’s humanity is evidenced in his human development. From a therapeutic perspective, this is of particular interest. Luke’s gospel outlines this developmental process as an increase or growth. “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52 NKJV).
Notice the four domains of human development demonstrated in the life of Christ:
- Intellectually: He grew in Wisdom
- Physically: He grew in stature
- Spiritually: He grew in favor with God
- Socially: He grew in favor with man
Human development is a significant study of psychology and sociology. As a man, Jesus grew and developed. In life, we will experience the related learning processes of human development from childhood to adolescence and into adulthood. This process was modeled before us in the person of Christ.
THE IMPLICATIONS OF CHRIST HUMANITY
Christ humanity was as integral to his SAVING WORK as his Divinity. As a human, the last Adam, he lived out obedience to God, displayed in his humanity as our representative and substitute. As a human, he also serves as our example: (1 Corinthians 15:20-22, 45-47, Romans 5:15, Romans 6:23)
- In the flesh, as a man, Jesus exemplified and modeled the Spirit-Filled life
“Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Luke 4:1).
You may recall the Temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). This event is foundational in our understanding of the life of Christ. Satan tempted Jesus in three specific areas of his life.
- The first temptation was physical. This temptation involved immediate gratification or to live for material self-gratification (Matthew 4:3-4).
- The second temptation was emotional. This temptation questioned God’s love and involved the desire for self-empowerment. (Matthew 4:5-7).
- The third temptation was willful. This temptation was to literally take over the throne of God or man’s innate desire for self-exaltation (Matthew 4:8-10).
The victory over these three temptations and the defeat of Satan by Christ was accomplished by the God-Man – Jesus Christ. In this sense, Jesus defeated Satan not as God but as a man – a Spirit-Filled man – in his humanity; he defeated Satan demonstrating that we too can overcome the power of temptation in our humanity as a Spirit-filled, Spirit-empowered believer.
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (I John 4:4).
APPLICATIONS OF CHRIST’S HUMANITY
The New Testament plainly teaches that Jesus is the divine-human redeemer. His humanity is apparent throughout the span of his life. It is because He is human, and was made like us in every way, that He could do three vital things: 1) destroy the devil’s power and free those who were held in slavery by their fear of death (Hebrews 2:15); 2) become a merciful and faithful High Priest in service to God and atone for our sins (Hebrews 2:17); and 3) be the one who can sympathize with us in all our weaknesses and infirmities (Hebrews 4:15). Our Lord’s human nature enables Him to sympathize with our weaknesses because He was subjected to weakness, too. More importantly, we have a High Priest who can intercede on our behalf and provide the grace of forgiveness.
The Final Analysis
Christ’s humanity establishes that you and I have the perfect blueprint to live an overcoming Spirit-filled life. You and I may experience, in our humanity, complete victory over all temptation, obstacles, and challenges. “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37).
By Tim Lloyd, Ph.D., D.Min.
“The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity,” in Biblical Doctrines, vol. 2 of The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield (New York: Oxford University Press, 1932; reprint, Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000), 141.
M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.
Bible Society. (1993). The holy Bible: The new King James Version.