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THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST - CHRIST BECAME MAN

One of the greatest of all mysteries is how the Lord Jesus could be both
God and man. When Christ became man, He did not stop being God. He
put aside temporarily the glory of His pre-incarnate state but not His deity.
The prophecy of His coming is clear that He was to be the Son given and
the child born (Isaiah 9:6), both God and man.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government
shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful,
Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of
Peace."

Jesus Christ has the nature of God and the nature of man in His one
person. This hypostatic or personal union of the two natures of Christ is
given in such scripture passages as

John 1:1-14

"[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and
the Word was God.
[2] The same was in the beginning with God.
[3] All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing
made that was made.
[4] In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
[5] And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it
not.
[6] There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
[7] The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all
men through him might believe.
[8] He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
[9] That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into
the world.
[10] He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the
world knew him not.
[11] He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
[12] But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the
sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
[13] Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of
the will of man, but of God.
[14] And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld
his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and
truth."

Philippians 2:5-11

"[5] Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
[6] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal
with God:
[7] But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a
servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
[8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and
became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
[9] Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name
which is above every name:
[10] That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in
heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
[11] And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to
the glory of God the Father."

1 Timothy 3:16

"[16] And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God


was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached
unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

1 John 1:1-3.

"[1] That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which
we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands
have handled, of the Word of life;
[2] (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness,
and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was
manifested unto us;)
[3] That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye
also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the
Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."

This union is not a meshing of deity and humanity, for each nature
remains separate and distinct from the other. The deity remains
undiminished deity and the humanity remains genuine humanity. The two
natures are eternally and inseparably united in the one person so that there
is no thought of a dual personality in Christ. It is not correct to speak of
His divine-human consciousness. Rather, He had a divine consciousness
and a human consciousness.

"Christ is therefore both God and Man, no less God because of His
humanity and no less human because of His deity."

The union of the two natures in Christ is not at all similar to the union of a
believer with Christ. The Lord Jesus is not a man filled with God; He is
God. While we cannot understand this, we can accept the statement of 1
Timothy 3:16 that in Christ. "God was manifest in the flesh."

The Bible teaches that Christ's humanity is permanent. The body He


received at the incarnation is the body He died in, was buried in, and rose in.
His resurrected body was glorified and changed, but it was nonetheless His
body.

The disciples recognized Him (John 20:19,20).

"[19] Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week,
when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the
Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto
you.
[20] And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his
side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord."

He ascended in His body (Acts 1:9).

"[9] And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was
taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."

He is in heaven now in His body (Philippians 3:20-21).

"[20] For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look


for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
[21] Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like
unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to
subdue all things unto himself."

He will return in His body (Acts 1:11).

"[11] Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into
heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so
come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."

Christ died as man, not God. His death on the cross would not have
been real if He were not man. But the victory of His death lay in the fact that
He was God. The death would not have been sufficient if He were not God.
Because of the personal union of the two natures, what is true of either
nature is true of the person. That is why Christ on earth was both weak and
omnipotent, increasing in knowledge while remaining omniscient. The
gospels given by inspiration of God do not reveal specific details of Christ's
growing years.

His supernatural birth,

a brief glimpse of His divine consciousness at the age of twelve (Luke 2:46-
47),

"[46] And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them
questions.

[47] And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and
answers."

and His willing obedience in His home (Luke 2:51)

"[51] And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject
unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart."

are a background for the work He came to do.


"[52] And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God
and man." - Luke 2:52

How could Jesus increase in wisdom if He knows everything? Because this


refers to His humanity - His human nature.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE LORD JESUS

Omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence are those attributes of


deity which the Lord Jesus retained when He became man. He could not
give them up, for then He would have ceased to be God, an impossibility.
God cannot stop being God. But while He was man, He deliberately and
voluntarily limited Himself in the use of these attributes.

His deity was within Him in all its power, but He did not use it on His
own behalf. Christ made Himself obedient to the physical limitations of a
human being. That is, when He was hungry, He did not miraculously provide
food for Himself—though He could have. His self-limitation is seen in His
temptation. He could have turned the stones to bread, but He chose not to,
lest He seem to be obeying Satan. His self-limitation is a further evidence of
His deity. All of this is a matter of faith on man's part rather than of
understanding.

However, in John 6, Jesus took a lunch sufficient for one person and
fed more than five thousand. He eluded the mob who wanted to kill Him
(Luke 4:29-30) and those who tried to stone Him (John 8:59), because it was
not time for Him to die, but later allowed Himself to be taken and crucified
(John 18:4-11).

His holiness. Jesus is the only baby who was born holy. Other babies
are sweet or cute, but not holy, for each one is born with a sin nature. Jesus
as God and man did not have a sin nature. Any temptation that came to Him
came from without, not from within. It is clear from Scripture that He was
tempted (Hebrews 4:15).

"[15] For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with
the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet
without sin."

His human nature can be tempted; His divine nature cannot. Could He
be tempted when there was no possibility of sinning? Yes, for to be tempted
does not imply a yielding to the temptation.

Some might question whether Christ's temptations were real. The


answer is found in Satan's tempting of Him. To turn stones to bread is no
temptation to one who can't do it—but Christ could.

Christ's human will was constantly subject to His divine will. This is
clear in Gethsemane as He prayed, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from
me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Matthew 26:39). On the
divine side there was equality with God; on the human side, submission to
God.

The theological term that explains Christ's sinlessness is


impeccability. It is not merely that Christ chose not to sin but that He could
not sin. This truth can be summarized in this way:

God cannot be tempted and God cannot sin. See (James 1:13).

"[13] Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God
cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:"

Man can be tempted and man can sin. See (Romans 3:23).

"[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

The Lord Jesus could be tempted because He is man. See (Matthew 4:1-10).

"[1] Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of
the devil."

The Lord Jesus could not sin because He is God. See (1 Peter 2:22).

"[21] For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us,
leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
[22] Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:"
His sinlessness is an essential part of His work as the Saviour. As man. He
could die; as God, His death had infinite value.

ANSWERING AN OBJECTION TO IMPECCABILITY

The next quote is taken from A.W. Pink's Studies in the Scriptures from the
Impeccability of Christ:

"It is objected to the truth of Christ’s impeccability that it is


inconsistent with His temptability. A person who cannot sin, it is argued,
cannot be tempted to sin. As well might one reason that because an
army cannot be defeated, it cannot be attacked. ‘Temptability depends
upon the constitutional susceptibility, while impeccability depends upon
the will. So far as His natural susceptibility, both physical and mental,
was concerned, Jesus Christ was open to all forms of human temptation,
excepting those that spring out of lust, or corruption of nature. But His
peccability, or the possibility of being overcome by these temptations,
would depend upon the amount of voluntary resistance which He was
able to bring to bear against them. Those temptations were very strong,
but if the self-determination of His holy will was stronger than they,
then they could not induce Him to sin, and He would be impeccable.
And yet plainly He would be temptable’ (W.G. Shedd, 1889).

Probably there were many reasons why God ordained that His
incarnate Son should be tempted by men, by the Devil, by
circumstances. One of these was to demonstrate His impeccability.
Throw a lighted match into a barrel of gunpowder, and there will be an
explosion; throw it into a barrel of water, and the match will be
quenched. This, in a very crude way, may be taken to illustrate the
difference between Satan’s tempting us and his tempting of the God-
man. In us, there is that which is susceptible to his ‘fiery darts’; but the
Holy One could say, ‘The prince of this world cometh and hath nothing
in Me’ (John 14:30). The Lord Jesus was exposed to a far more severe
testing and trying than the first Adam was, in order to make manifest
His mighty power of resistance.

‘We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling
of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, without
sin’ (Heb. 4:15). ‘This text teaches that the temptations of Christ were
‘without sin’ in their source and nature, and not merely, as the passage
is sometimes explained, that they were ‘without sin’ in their result. The
meaning is not, that our Lord was tempted in every respect exactly as
fallen man is-by inward lust, as well as by other temptations—only He
did not outwardly yield to any temptation; but that He was tempted in
every way that man is, excepting by that class of temptations that are
sinful, because originating in evil and forbidden desire.

‘The fact that Christ was almighty and victorious in His resistance
does not unfit Him to be an example for imitation to a weak and sorely-
tempted believer. Because our Lord overcame His temptations, it does
not follow that His conflict and success was an easy one for Him. His
victory cost Him tears and blood. ‘His visage was so marred more than
any man’ (Isa. 52:14). There was the ‘travail of His soul’ (Isa. 52:14). In
the struggle He cried, ‘O My Father, if it be possible let this cup pass
from Me’ (Matt. 26:39). Because an army is victorious, it by no means
follows that the victory was a cheap one’ (W.G.T. Shedd)."

His love. This is a characteristic which does not need proof, for He
Himself is the proof. His love for mankind was demonstrated irrefutably in
His death on the cross (Romans 5:6-8).

His compassion. "He was moved with compassion" (Matthew 9:36)


are words that describe the Lord Jesus. It means that He suffered with
people, as man, He could understand when they were hungry and sick and
sad.
"[16] For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took
on him the seed of Abraham.
[17] Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his
brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things
pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
[18] For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to
succour them that are tempted." - Hebrews 2:16-18
As God, He could do something about it. So He fed the hungry (Mark
8:1-9), healed the sick (Mark 1:30-34), helped the sad (Luke 7:11-15).

His humility. The Lord Jesus is the supreme example of humility. He


left the glory and wonder of heaven to be tired and hungry on earth. He
could have been served by angels, but on earth He refused to use His power
for His own protection. He who created life allowed Himself to be put to
death by men whom He had made.
(There will be a teaching on the humiliation of Christ)

"And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the
air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." -
Matthew 8:20

"when he is weary, and wants rest and sleep, as he did at this time. So
that though he was Lord of all, as being the mighty God; yet as "the son of
man", a phrase, expressive both of the truth and meanness of his human
nature, the most despicable of creatures in the earth and air, were richer than
he. This he said, to convince the Scribe of his mistake; who expected much
worldly grandeur and wealth, by becoming his disciple. When Christ styles
himself "the son of man", it is no contradiction to his being God; nor any
objection to trust and confidence in him, as the JewF26 suggests; for he is
truly and properly God, as well as really man, having two natures, human
and divine, united in his person; so that he is, as was prophesied of him,
Emmanuel, God with us, in our nature, God manifested in the flesh: and
since he is so, it cannot be unlawful to trust in him; which it would be
indeed, was he a mere man. The Jews ought not to object to this name and
title of the "Messiah, the son of man": since he is so called, as their own
writers and commentators acknowledge, inF1 Psalm 80:17 andF2 Daniel
7:13. And whereas it is further urged against these words of Christ, that if he
was God, why does he complain of want of place? Is not the whole world
his, according to Psalm 24:1 ? It may be replied, that it is very true, that the
whole world is his, nor could he be in want of anything, as God; but yet, as
man, for our sakes he became "poor", that we "might be rich":" - John Gill

CONCLUSION
At this point we are confronted with the strongest contrasts between the
Deity and the humanity of Christ.

He was weary; yet He called the weary to Himself for rest.

He was hungry; yet He was "the bread of life."

... He "grew, and waxed strong in spirit"; yet He was from all eternity.

He was tempted, yet. He, as God, could not be tempted.

He was self-limited in knowledge; yet He was the wisdom of God.

... He said, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"; yet it was that
very God to whom He cried who was "in Christ, reconciling the world unto
Himself."

He prayed which is always human; yet He Himself answered prayer.

He died; yet He is eternal life.