THE IMPORTANCE OF THE HUMANITY OF JESUS
by Allon Maxwell
THE HUMAN SON OF GOD
The writers of the New Testament are unanimous in their declaration that the MAN they know as Jesus, is also The Son of God.
They do NOT write to say that Jesus is God. No one familiar with the Old Testament could ever accept that. Instead, over and over again, they speak of God and His Son in language which indicates, beyond question, that God is NOT Jesus, and Jesus is NOT God.
Their Old Testament faith is in the ONE LORD who declared that God is not a man . (Num 23:19). Their eye witness is that Jesus really is a man with a real human body. Moreover they have heard Jesus say in His own words, that He is a man. Therefore Jesus is NOT God.
They know that the Old Testament says that no man can look on God and live, (Exodus 33:20) They agree. No man has ever seen, nor can see God, (John 1:18 & 1 Tim 6:16). But they are men, and they have seen Jesus. Again, therefore, Jesus cannot be God.
They offer compelling eye witness evidence for their claim that the ONE LORD of the Old Testament, has become the Father of a MAN, and that this man is now risen from the dead, immortal, and exalted to the right hand of God.
The New Testament writers use the word "father", in exactly the same sense that we use it to describe our own relationship with our children. By the use of the word they mean that the birth of Jesus was first planned by His Father; that He was then begotten by God; that He owes His origin to God; that His existence as a living person began when His mother gave birth; and that He has no prior existence, except as a plan in the mind of His Father .
The one almost unthinkable difference is that they know that Jesus has no human father! And they KNOW that this staggering claim is NOT impossible. His birth IS the direct result of the miracle of the virgin conception. " For with God nothing will be impossible ." (Luke 1:37).
This difference in origin does not result in any difference in nature. The New Testament writers know nothing of the Trinitarian theology which insists that Jesus possesses two natures , which somehow merged to give him "impersonal human nature", without actually making Him a human person! The Jesus they know is NOT the two natured "God-man" of the Trinitarian creeds. He is no partly divine "hybrid', with a little "extra" that is not possible for other men. He is a real man, of the same human nature and therefore exactly like all other men, in every respect. (Heb 2:14,17)
The Jesus they know has experienced real human temptation, exactly like all other men, in every respect. (Heb 4:15). They describe His temptations in detail. On the other hand, they know that God cannot be tempted by evil things, (James 1:13) Yet Jesus has both experienced temptation, and overcome, indicating that it was certainly possible for Him to sin.
If it was not really possible for Jesus to sin, then His temptations were not real, and His claim to have overcome the world, (John 16:33), was no more than a cruel deception.
It follows therefore that since the temptations of Jesus were real, and since His rejection of temptation was a real triumph over a real possibility of sin, Jesus is NOT God. He is a separate and dependent being. He is a MAN.
A UNIQUE MAN
However, although Jesus is a real man, it would be wrong to describe Him as a mere man. He is not. He is unique.
But we must not make the mistake of ascribing His uniqueness to any imaginary divinity or other difference in nature, resulting from His origin.
Jesus is unique because He is the ONLY begotten Son, ..... not adopted like other sons.
Jesus is unique because of the status conveyed by His unparalleled origin as only begotten Son.
Jesus is unique because as God's only begotten Son, He is the Messiah. (Matt 16:13-16)
Jesus is unique because as God's only begotten Son, He is THE MAN for whom all else was created. It is his by right of birth.
Jesus is unique because He has overcome in temptation, where all other men failed.
Jesus is unique because of the reason for His death and the manner of His resurrection.
He is unique because He is the first immortal man.
He is unique because He now sits at God's right hand with supreme, (but delegated), authority.
Jesus is unique, because He alone, amongst all other men, is THE WAY to God.
(John 14:6 & Acts 4:12).
Jesus is unique because He is the MAN who is the sole mediator between God and all other men. (1 Tim 2:5)
He is unique because He is the MAN appointed by God, to raise other men from the dead, and judge them, (Acts 17:30-31), and confer immortality on those who have done good. (John 5,29)
Such incredible claims about a virgin birth, a human Son of God, and a resurrected man, need irrefutable evidence to verify them.
The four Gospels are written for this purpose.
Backed by the evidence drawn from the Old Testament prophets; the miracles they have seen; the teaching they have heard; and most important of all, the resurrection which they have personally witnessed; the writers establish, beyond question, that Jesus really is the human Son of the ONE LORD of the Old Testament.
THE IMPORTANCE OF IT ALL
We repeat that the Gospel writers do NOT say they have seen God.
They do say that they have seen this MAN, Jesus, who though He is a man, has made God known. (John 1:18)
They tell us that to see this MAN, is to see God. (John 14:9).
By this they do not mean that Jesus himself is God, but that He is an exact likeness of God, (Hebrews 1:,3 & 2 Cor 4:4) ...... the fulfilment of what God meant when He said, " let us make man in our image, after our likeness ". (Genesis 1:26)
The complete and real humanity of Jesus lies at the very heart of the GOSPEL. For all other men who share the same human nature, the GOOD NEWS declares that, not only can our sins be forgiven, but that our human nature can be changed to be like the human nature of the MAN, Jesus.
Even victory over temptation and sin is possible, if we will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God; and if we will choose to love God as this MAN does. (1 John 5:1-5)
Through His own human experience, Jesus has learned obedience . (Heb 5:8). He is therefore able to understand completely the weaknesses of men, because He is one Himself.
At the same time, because He is a man, He offers hope to all other men who experience the same temptations. If they will submit to Him, He is both willing and able to teach them how to grow into the mature obedience of a true Son of God, experience temptation, and overcome, as He did, without sin.
The Holy Spirit is given to those who love Jesus and obey Jesus. (John 14,15-16). If our bodies can become a temple for the living God, as His is, through the indwelling Spirit of God, (1 Cor 3,16), then we have a guarantee from God that we too can share in all the inheritance which belongs to His Son. (Eph 6:13-14)
The New Testament writers are silent about any supposed Divinity for Jesus, but insistent on His humanity.
They prove again and again, by the miracles they report, that God has vested authority in a MAN, to speak for God. When Jesus speaks, He does not claim to be God. But He does claim to be a MAN who is an agent for the ONE LORD, who alone is God. The miracles are not His own work, but the Father's confirmation of the source of the authority granted to His human Son.
This is their united testimony.
To believe that the MAN, Jesus, is both Messiah and SON of God, is to have life in His name.