Jesus: Is Jesus fully human?

Jesus: Is Jesus fully human?

The Bible affirms the humanity of Jesus Christ in a variety of ways. Jesus had a human name—Jesus (meaning “Yahweh saves”) Christ (meaning “anointed one”)—and a human genealogy.1 He was born of a woman,2 had brothers and sisters,3 and was racially Jewish.4 Jesus grew physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially,5 learned,6 experienced fatigue,7 slept,8 grew hungry9 and thirsty,10 worked as a craftsman,11 had male and female friends he loved,12 gave encouraging compliments,13 loved children,14 celebrated holidays,15 went to parties,16 loved his mom,17 prayed,18 worshiped,19 and obeyed God the Father.20

Furthermore, not only did Jesus have a physical body,21 but he also suffered and died “in the flesh.”22 In addition to his body, Jesus also had a human spirit.23 Jesus was emotional as well, for the Bible notes that Jesus experienced grief,24 had compassion,25 was stressed,26 was astonished,27 was happy28 and told jokes,29 and even wept.30

Taken together, these are clearly the ways we speak of human beings and reveal that Jesus was, as Jesus and other Scriptures state, a man.31 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 belief in the full humanity of Jesus Christ was the dominant position of the early Christian church. Athanasius expressed the church’s opinion well:

Peter writes in his letter, “Christ therefore suffered in the flesh for our sakes” [1 Pet. 4:1]. So when it is said that he hungered and thirsted and toiled and was ignorant and slept and cried out and made requests and fled and was born and turned away from the cup—in general, did  all the things which belonged to the flesh—let . . . all things of this sort be asserted as “for our sakes in the flesh,” for this is precisely the reason the apostle himself said, “Christ therefore suffered” not in the Godhead but “for our sakes in the flesh,” in order that the passions might be recognized to be natural properties not of the Logos but of the flesh.32

Take a few moments in prayer today to thank Jesus for humbling himself and coming into human history as our savior.

1Matt. 1:1–17; Luke 3:23–38.
2Matt. 1:18–25; Luke 2:7; Gal. 4:4.
3Matt. 13:55.
4John 4:9.
5Luke 2:42, 52; 3:23.
6Matt. 4:12; Mark 11:13–14; Luke 2:40, 52.
7Matt. 8:24; Mark 4:38; Luke 8:23–24; John 4:7.
8Mark 4:36–41.
9Matt. 4:2; Mark 11:12; Luke 4:2.
10John 4:7; 19:18.
11Mark 6:3.
12John 11:3–5.
13Mark 12:41–44.
14Matt. 19:13–15.
15Luke 2:41.
16Matt. 11:19.
17John 19:26–27.
18Matt. 14:23; Mark 1:35; 14:32–42; John 17.
19Luke 4:16.
20John 5:30; 6:38; 8:28–29, 54; 10:17–18.
21Rom. 8:3; Phil. 2:7–8; Heb. 2:14; 1 John 4:2–3.
22Rom. 8:3; Eph. 2:15–16; Col. 1:21–22; Heb. 2:14; 10:19–20; 1 Pet. 2:24.
23John 12:27; 13:21; 19:30.
24Matt. 23:37; Luke 19:41.
25Matt. 9:36; Mark 1:41; Luke 7:13.
26John 13:21.
27Mark 6:6; Luke 7:9.
28Luke 10:21–24; John 15:11; 17:13; Heb. 12:2, 22.
29Matt. 7:6; 23:24; Mark 4:21.
30John 11:34–35.
31John 8:40; Acts 17:31; 1 Tim. 2:5.
32Athanasius, “Orations Against the Arians,” bk. 3, in Richard A. Norris, trans. and ed., The Christological Controversy (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980), 92–93, emphasis in original.