If we had seen Jesus as a man, we would have seen a normal guy carrying his lunch box in one hand and a tool box in the other, heading off to work. He did the normal things that actual people do: eating, sleeping, and blowing his nose. I say none of this to be disrespectful of Jesus, but to simply state that these are the kinds of things that we experience as humans, and Jesus Christ was not only fully God but also fully human during his Incarnation on the earth.
Jesus looked like a normal, average guy. Or, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, “He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Isa. 53:2). Indeed, when we examine the life of Jesus as told in Scripture, we see a man who does not appear at first glance to be God. Conversely, Jesus appears as a radically normal and average human being experiencing normal life events like the rest of us:
- Born of a woman (Gal. 4:4)
- Had a normal body of flesh and bones (Luke 24:39)
- Grew up as a boy (Luke 2:52)
- Had a family (Matt. 13:54–58; Mark 6:3; 1 Cor. 9:5)
- Obeyed his parents (Luke 2:51)
- Worshiped God (Luke 4:16) and prayed (Mark 1:35; 6:46)
- Worked as a carpenter (Mark 6:3)
- Got hungry (Matt. 4:2; 21:18) and thirsty (John 4:7; 19:28)
- Asked for information (Mark 9:16–21; John 11:34; 18:34)
- Was stressed (John 13:21)
- Was astonished (Mark 6:6; Luke 7:9)
- Was happy (Luke 10:21-24; John 15:11; 17:13; Heb.12:2, 22)
- Told jokes (Matt. 7:6; 23:24; Mark 4:21)
- Had compassion (Mark 1:41; Luke 7:13)
- Had male and female friends he loved (John 11:3-5)
- Gave encouraging compliments (Mark 12:41–44)
- Loved children (Mat. 19:13–15)
- Celebrated holidays (Luke 2:41)
- Went to parties (Matt. 11:19)
- Loved his mom (John 19:26–27)
God does not get tired or hungry. He does not take naps. He does not need a diaper change. He does not grow or add to his knowledge. Taken together, these are clearly the ways we speak of human beings, and Jesus did all of these things during his life on earth because Jesus was a human being. The importance of this fact is found in 1 John 4:2–3:
By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.
The idea of God “in the flesh” is another significant concept referred to as the “Incarnation.” If you’ve ever eaten chili con carne, or carne asada (my favorite) you have had something with meat. In a similar way, the incarnation is about God coming to the earth not just with a spirit, but in meat. If you were God, would you have been willing to enter human history in the humility of a body with all of it’s limitations?
Portions of this blog post were adapted from Vintage Jesus (2007, Crossway) and Doctrine (2010, Crossway), by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears.