Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Jesus - divine or human?

We know that Jesus is known as the son of God, we are probably used to this way of defining who Jesus is. He clearly demonstrates that he is God's son when we read the Bible; we see Jesus doing the right things, saying the right things and caring about people above and beyond what we do. 

Do we see Jesus as human too? 

We know he came in human form; he looked, talked and walked like us, but internally is he the same? As well as being known as the Son of God, Jesus is also referred to as 'the son of man'. It's important that we recognise Jesus as both, because if he is entirely God then he's somewhat out of reach- no wonder he's a goody-two-shoes! We are not as perfect, so, as people we could just dismiss the idea of who Jesus is because he can't help being perfect, he's God, therefore unreachable, and incomprehensible. If he is human, entirely, then we can relate to and understand something of who Jesus is.

So, how can we see Jesus' humanity when his divinity is so clearly displayed?

Well, in the Bible there are a few great passages that show the emotion of Jesus, he had thoughts, temptations and fears like the rest of us. He even had to do things he didn't want to do - did you know that?

I've been looking just at the following few verses which I think depict the humanity of Jesus. There are more, but today I'm focussing on these:

"Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” 
John 12:27-28

He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 
Mark 14:34

Both of the verses relate to Jesus speaking about his coming death. The first verses in John, were just after Jesus triumphant arrival at Jerusalem, complete with palm leaves and a donkey. The second, form Mark, was the night Jesus called his close disciples to pray with him in the garden of Gethsemane, just before he was arrested.

"Now is my soul troubled."
Jesus felt; anxiety, agitation and terror at what was to come. He realised the pain would be mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. There was great degradation dying in this way, the torture was going to be horrendous. His disciples who he'd lived for the last few years would disown and abandon him- in the moment he would need them most. Jesus knew what was coming, but he didn't know what it'd actually be like -he'd not experienced it before. The coming time was the most terrifying and painful time of his life, and it would end his life. No wonder he was troubled! 

Doesn't this show the humanity of Jesus? When we know we are facing something new, difficult, horrendous or painful don't we also feel 'troubled'? 
Jesus does understand what that is like. He is human too. 

He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 

Have you ever felt, "crushed with grief"? The overwhelming heartache and pain that makes you feel like you can't go on? Jesus has felt that same pain. Being crushed makes me think of being forcefully squashed. Unable to function as yourself, being forced into a situation that you can't get out of, but having to bear it. Not destroyed, but feeling close to it. 
Jesus grieved, did you know that? I think most people have experienced what that is like for themselves, the aching, screaming pain of loss. "to the point of death" feeling so distraught, so much pain, that it might as well all be over. Did Jesus feel that depth of sorrow, of grief and distress that he'd rather die than go through it? 

The recognition that Jesus also suffered as intense emotional distress as you and me should help us to understand that he too is human. He too pleaded with God for certain things to happen (or not). He felt misery, loneliness, and intense physical pain. Just like we all do. Jesus is human inside and out.

Jesus' divinity doesn't subdue his humanity.

Jesus' humanity exhibits his divinity. 

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