Are these trivial questions? I really don’t think so. Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. So, how human was He? Was He as human as you, or do you think He was immune to the “ill effects” of bee-stings, dehydration, allergies, sunburns, headaches, upset stomachs, and extreme weather conditions?
What Happened In The Wilderness?
Didn’t He require the actual help of literal angels after His time in the wilderness (Matt. 4:11)? Stop and seriously think about what that means. Jesus actually needed real outside help. Not only did He fast, but He had just endured 40 days in a physically hostile environment. Either one of those situations alone would be bad. Yet, he endured them both at the same time! You have to ask yourself, what kind of physical condition was He suffering that caused angels to be dispatched all the way from heaven in order to “diakoneo” (Greek for minister, serve, care for the sick) Him? Do you think He needed a team of angels from heaven to come nursing and serving just because he was simply hungry? God could have easily sent ravens or some nomad on a camel with a sack lunch. This wasn’t just some picnic! I’m guessing He was laid out and feeling close to death. In a sense, Jesus was probably being served by an Angelic M.A.S.H. unit. Do you think I’m being overly dramatic? If so, then let me remind you about the OTHER TIME that Jesus required angelic nursing (Luke 22). What was His physical condition at that time? He was about to start sweating great drops of blood! Now let’s be honest…If YOU started sweating blood profusely, they would take you to the emergency room and say, “This person needs help right now!” Guess what? Jesus had an angel already on the scene to strengthen Him. He only needed the assistance of ONE angel for that horrific event. But after the wilderness experience, he needed angel(s) plural to come to his aid. If He only needed one angel to strengthen Him as He sweat drops of blood (that’s pretty dire!), then what do you think was going on that he needed a team of angels to help him recover from the wilderness experience??? Compare and decide.
Make no mistake about it, Jesus was physically vulnerable. Now, if you were sweating drops of blood, do you think you might feel sick? If you went through the same exact wilderness experience, could you end up in a hospital? We often forget that the God who walked on water was also a Man who lay nearly dying in the sand. The God who turned water into wine, was also the Man whose sweat turned into blood. He was just as much the Son of Man as He was the Son of God.
How Was He Different From Adam?
Could He have had sun wrinkles, warts, dandruff, grey hairs, or a receding hairline? (He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him). I’d like to understand more about what the Bible describes as “the mystery of Godliness: God was manifest in the flesh…” The more we are able to understand about how Jesus truly identified with us and overwhelmingly understands our human struggle, the better we will be able to translate that into a more vibrant faith that will endure. Let’s take a look and see.
Since the Bible compares Christ with Adam, let’s use that comparison to see how humanly different they are from each other. 1) Adam was initially brought into the sinless Garden of Eden. Jesus was brought into a harsh and evil Roman world. 2) Adam was not born into a lineage of sinful history (He didn’t have a belly button. LOL). Jesus was the son of Mary and was born into a very human body that genetically carried the physical lineage, traits, inclinations, and generational patterns of his ancestors. 3) Adam was born into a body of pure flesh. Jesus was born into a body made in the likeness of sinful flesh. Did you catch that? There is pure flesh, there is sinful flesh, and then there is what the Bible calls “the likeness of sinful flesh”.
Jesus didn’t choose to live a privileged, comfortable, painless life. He really wanted to identify with the lowly and the suffering. Jesus didn’t start in the sinless Garden of Eden like Adam. He was born in some animal’s food trough. Research tells us that he probably lived in an earthen house with flat roofs made of dirt and straw. In the summer, people would sleep on the roof to stay cool. According to the Discovery Channel, lice infestations were a very common problem for practically everyone. He lived under harsh conditions with bees that stung, disease-bearing mosquitoes that sucked, ants that bit, poison ivy that itched, thorns that stuck, flies sitting on food that spoiled quickly, and water with microbes that varied from region to region. He didn’t have a can of Off, ivy-dry, refrigerators, freezers, sunscreen, chlorine tablets, or Dr. Scholl’s foot pads. As a carpenter’s son, He probably worked outdoors, banged his thumb with hammers, walked everywhere, and suffered through life like everyone else in Nazareth. Remember what we pointed out earlier, Jesus was susceptible to the pains of life.
What Did He Inherit From Mary?
Unlike Adam, Christ never committed sin. But does being sinless make Him less human? No. What did he inherit from Mary? Romans 8:3 tells us, “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,” He didn’t just inherit human flesh; He inherited the likeness of sinful flesh. The word “likeness” is the Greek word “homoioma” meaning “same as, in the form of”. So what do I conclude about the statement “in the likeness of sinful flesh”? He did not have the body of God, He had the body like a sinful man. Jesus knew no sin, and yet Jesus identifies with us by being born into a body that was subject to the temptations and inclinations of sin without iniquity. He lived in a body that never sinned, but it operated like one that did. If it didn’t, then He didn’t truly represent us as being one in the likeness of sinful flesh, and He never understood our battle. Now watch this carefully: Jesus didn’t just simply “face temptation”, He had to fight against the inclinations of a warring flesh that wanted to sin just like it’s forefathers did! Yet, it did not contain sin. (That is the likeness of sinful flesh without actual sin or innate iniquity). Like a sinful man, He had to OVERCOME temptation through the power of the Spirit and the written word. He became just like us to become our perfect example. He had to say, “It is written” just like we do in the face of our enemy. He had all of Mary’s lineage with all their family’s chain of sinful inclinations warring against Him. It was a body of temptation without sin, and inclination without iniquity. Jesus understands the struggle of the addicted. He understands what it is like to fight against generational patterns of abuses. He deeply identified with sinful flesh. Even though He never sinned, He had to fight temptation with the same intensity of struggle AS IF He had been a man under bondage. “As if” sure seems a lot like “likeness”, doesn’t it? This is what I think it means to be “in the likeness of sinful flesh”. You have all of the attributes, weakness, struggles, temptations, and mortal conditions of the sinful flesh without the act of sinning. Jesus was not born in iniquity, but like a fine line he had a body that had an inheritance of “understanding sin” without actually sinning. Impossible? He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God. How can someone who never sinned at the same time “be sin” on our behalf? The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. With God, nothing is impossible; e.g. virgin birth.
Oh the sheer beauty of Christ’s humanity! Listen to these words from the Bible and rejoice! 1) Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil. 2) HE IS STILL IN THE FORM OF MAN! For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus 3) Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (I’ll be right back, I got to set my laptop down and shout and dance for joy!)
So, Did Jesus Ever Become Nauseated?
In Rev. 3: 16 Jesus himself said the following, “But because you are lukewarm, and neither cold or hot, I will begin to vomit you out of my mouth!” Sounds like the voice of someone who has had some first-hand experience with nasty tasting stuff, doesn’t it? Jesus was a man who did not put himself above the human condition. He even voluntarily identified with sinners and subjected Himself to the baptism of repentance at the hands of John the Baptist…even though He had nothing to repent from. Jesus identifies with us in all of our suffering. In His 30 plus years of living, we can look at the bookends of His life going from a birth in an animal trough to being executed like a lowly criminal, and it occurs to me that the time in between was not spent living “above it all”. I tend to believe that in a land of no refrigeration he had times where he may have consumed something that might not have agreed with His digestive system (If you recall in Luke 11:38, Jesus didn’t always perform the customary hand-washing ceremony before eating a meal either). You may be asking, wouldn’t He have known that it was spoiled beforehand? I’ll address that in the next post.
I just thought of one more thing. Before every game, I would get the “butterflies” and would throw-up. If Jesus was at the point of sweating blood before going to the cross, I guarantee that He had already thrown everything up. Jesus got queasy. I know that some will read this and they need a verse to back up everything before they can believe it. For them I only have one crude thing to say: Do you believe Jesus ever had to “go to the bathroom”? Where’s your verse?
What Does Christ Want Me To Know From This?
Jesus knows what you are going through. He is the Lamb of God free from spot or blemish, but as far as I have been able to read, the Lamb didn’t have to be free from turmoil. He may not have had leprosy or cancer, but He sure KNEW a life of deep pain. Isaiah 53:3 states clearly, “He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”. Look at the Greek word for grief here: http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/hebrew/nas/choliy.html I believe that Jesus knows what it is like to feel sick; Jesus knows what it is like to be so ravaged that you are near death; Jesus knew in the wilderness what it’s like to feel so helpless that you need a team of nurses to care for you. Jesus knows what it feels like to lose so much blood that you wonder if you can carry on. I believe Jesus knows the pain of severe nausea and can empathize with great compassion for those going through nausea, like chemo treatments. That’s our Jesus. If you are reading this and you’re in a hospital or in a sick condition, or you know someone who is, I want you to see that Jesus doesn’t just sort of know…Jesus REALLY knows. Approach Him with this kind of confidence and receive help in your time of need.
Maybe you are someone who is struggling with an addiction, a bondage of sorts. Perhaps you are struggling with a sin that plagues you and has run through your family line for generations. Up until now, you kind of, sort of thought that Jesus may have understood your struggle from an observer’s point of view, or a creator’s point of view. You may have thought, “He knows my struggle, but He doesn’t really KNOW my struggle”. Today, you understand for the first time that Jesus fought a war to keep from sin. Today, you had your window defrosted and you were able to see that the wilderness experience/temptation was a severe, severe test. You could see that His whole life was a test…And He WON! Although Jesus never sinned, Jesus was “in the struggle of life”. Sweating drops of blood proves that you are in a struggle. He won, and His grace is available for both the sick, the tempted, and any other need in this life.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
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