We celebrate the news every year: God became human! The Gospel of John says:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
This is hard to understand. Theologians throughout the years have explored what this means. Jesus has two natures: human and divine. Each nature is complete. He is fully God and fully man. Each nature is distinct, and yet Jesus is only one person. (For a summary of these key teachings, see this article at Desiring God.)
The humanity of Jesus is not an obscure theological point. It changes everything. Here are a few reasons why the humanity of Jesus is important.
Because Jesus is human, he is able to understand what our lives our like. He experienced life. He knows what it’s like to be tired, stressed, happy, lonely, and more.
Before Jesus became human, people could say to God, “You don’t know what it’s like to be human!” When God became one of us, he not only knew, but he experienced it.
Jesus is able to understand our struggles. Hebrews says:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Whatever you’re going through, Jesus understands. He can even help us when we struggle. “Because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).
Jesus Serves As Our Example
Sometimes we need an example to follow. I know I’ve been helped by people who are a little farther along than I am. Right now I’m motivated by some older men who have a joy, peace, and maturity in Jesus that’s very compelling.
My examples are great, but they’re imperfect. Jesus provides the ultimate example of what it’s like to be human. Paul says we’re being changed into his likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18). John says that we “ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:6).
Sometimes we lose sight of what God wants us to become. Whenever we forget, we can look to Jesus. God is at work in our lives. He intends to make us more like Jesus: fully alive, enjoying a relationship with our Father, trusting him, and loving and serving others. It’s a beautiful picture, and it’s what God is creating within everyone who trusts in him.
Jesus Shows Us It’s Good to Be Human
I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve heard people complain about our humanity. Somehow we’ve developed the idea that we’re souls trapped in a body, and that the physical is bad. I’ve even heard some say that they expect to become angels later on. Nonsense!
It’s a very good thing to be human. God doesn’t intend for us to become less human. Instead, he wants to restore our humanity. We will spend eternity as humans in a physical body and a physical world. Not only that, but Jesus will remain fully human and fully God for eternity. It’s a great thing to be human!
Jesus Is Able to Save Us
If Jesus had not become human, he could never have died to pay the debt that humanity owed. Hebrews says:
Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:17)
The Bible teaches that, because of sin, our relationship with God was broken. God was rightly and justly angry with us. Propitiation means that Jesus made things right with God so that he is no longer angry with us. Jesus had to become one of us in order to do this.
Because Jesus became human, we can know that Jesus understands what we’re going through. We have an example to follow. We can know that our humanity is a good thing. No matter how badly we’ve sinned against God, we can know that God has done everything we need to make things right.
The humanity of Jesus matters!