For a number of weeks we have been looking at the humanity of Jesus Christ. First we saw that it was necessary that the Christ come as a human and then in the last article we saw that, although Jesus was divine, he had a human body. This week I want to look at how Jesus had a human soul/spirit and how his soul experienced human emotions.
Firstly it should be understood that Jesus had a human soul. I once spoke to someone at another church who said he was surprised when reading Spurgeon to hear that Jesus had a human soul. He had always understood that Jesus had a human body, but never thought about Jesus having a human soul. Yet Jesus speaks about his own soul when considering his death: ‘Now is my soul troubled’ (John 12:27; KJV) and ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death’ (Matthew 26:38).
Moreover, it is important to note that Jesus experienced emotions in his soul. The two verses quoted above show that his soul was distressed at the thought of pain and suffering. But these are not the only places. When Jesus hears that Lazarus his friend is dead he is upset: ‘When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept.’ (John 11:32-35). As humans we know what it is to be anxious in our souls. Jesus was no different. In his humanity Jesus knew the emotional pain of a friend’s death and cried. He also knew the anguish that comes when you consider your own death.
Also, Jesus knew the emotion of amazement. He demonstrates this when he meets someone with great faith: ‘When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith’ (Matthew 8:10).
Thus, Jesus’ humanity clearly included a human soul and human emotions. Never minimise Jesus’ humanity to something that is not quite our humanity. The fact that Jesus had a human soul and experienced human emotions demonstrates that he was fully qualified to represent our human obedience and human death at the cross for sin.