Over the last few weeks we have seen that it was necessary for Jesus to become human for several reasons: to be our representative obedience, to be a substitute sacrifice, to be an example for us and also to be able to fully sympathise with us in our weaknesses. For the next few weeks I want to now look at the evidence in the Bible that tells us Jesus was fully human, and not only partly human. This is important to affirm because if Jesus wasn’t fully human then he would not be able to fully accomplish those things that required a human Christ to accomplish.
Firstly we see evidence that Jesus had a completely human body. Just like us humans, when he had gone without food he felt hunger: ‘After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry’ (Matthew 4:2). Just like us, when he lacked fluid he grew thirsty: ‘Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished”’ (John 19:28-30). Just like us humans, when Jesus got tired he sat down: ‘Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well’ (John 4:6). Just like us humans, Jesus needed help carrying heavy objects when tired: ‘As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus’ (Luke 23:26). Just like us his body could be hurt, feel pain and bleed. This culminated in the crucifixion where his body gave out and stopped breathing like ours would: ‘Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last’ (Luke 23:46).
I was in a Bible Study once where another member made fun of the Biblical statement that Jesus was hungry after fasting 40 days – the member said ‘Of course he was hungry, there is no need to state the obvious.’ But whenever we see Jesus doing miraculous things there is always the temptation to think that somehow Jesus wasn’t quite human. Maybe he wasn’t hungry after forty days without food. Maybe his body did not get tired the same way ours did, that he was somehow indestructible. But the Bible never says that while Jesus was God, it was at the expense of his humanity. Instead the Bible is careful to record events happening to a 100% human, not some sort of 50:50 human-God. Therefore we must believe that Jesus had a human body just like ours and is fully qualified to be our representative obedience and our representative human death.