The Humanity of Jesus:
We’re currently in the series, Life by The Sea, where we’re exploring the stories of Jesus’ life and understanding that he was a real person, who went to real places, with real stories.
Last week we went through the passage of scripture where the Centurion approaches Jesus and asks for healing over his servant (Luke 7:1-10 or Matthew 8:5-13). When Jesus offers to come to his house, he tells him he’s not worthy, but to say the word and he believes that his servant will be healed. This is a remarkable story for many reasons, and I encourage you to listen to the message (listen here), but what it got me thinking about was Jesus’ reaction to the Centurion.
Rather than insist or tell him that he needed to see the servant, Jesus was moved by the man’s incredible faith. It reminded me of the time when Solomon asks for wisdom above riches, and God is so moved that he gives him both. The Centurion believed so fully in the sovereignty of Jesus (not even the God he was supposed to follow), and Jesus was faithful in the healing.
In thinking about the message last weekend, it got me thinking about some of the moments in the Bible where we see the humanity, and rawness of Jesus as man. We all know that He was fully man and fully God, and we see so clearly the moments when he’s working miracles or changing lives, but I think the small moments where we see the humanity of Jesus are so special, and can help us feel more connected to our savior as a real person.
First, one of the most well-known verses in the bible, famous for its length, John 11:35. “Jesus wept.” This scripture gets a lot of talk because of how short it is, and countless jokes have been made in Sunday school from kids saying they’ve memorized it. But when you look at the context, and work to better understand the details of the situation, this is one of the most pure, genuine moments of Jesus’ humanity in the word. Simply put, we’re seeing Jesus weep over his friend, and that simple human emotion is moving.
Jesus weeps three times in scripture, and these are so important because it's so much more than us as humans crying, it's a reminder that Jesus sees and knows what we walk through here on this earth, and He has empathy. Not only does He see and know, but He’s lived it and felt it.
When I relate this situation to my life, now, I think of the times I desperately need to vent to a friend. It’s been a tough day, I’m struggling emotionally, etc. If that friend brushes me off for lack of understanding, it's frustrating and isolating. But when that friend has walked through a similar situation, when they understand how you feel, it’s healing and therapeutic. In this moment in the bible, it is such a beautiful reminder that no problem is too small to bring to Jesus. We can lay our very human emotions at his feet because He knows.
The last, and probably most profound moment of Jesus’s humanity is the moment in the garden where He asks God if there is any other way for salvation. Here’s what the scripture says:
Luke 22:39: “And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
This moment from scripture is one that we’ve probably heard dozens of times, often within an Easter message, and it can be easy to overlook. But when we read on and see that Jesus is so distressed, and in such emotional agony that He begins to sweat blood, that earlier line can be read so much differently. When I think of Jesus on the Mount of Olives, I don’t see a somber, quiet conversation with God, I see emotional turmoil, agony, pleading, fear, and ultimately unbelievable strength.
When I see the human in Jesus in this moment, and feel those feelings with Him, not only does this moment become more real, it becomes immensely more powerful, and more humbling. Jesus wanted a relationship with us, He wanted salvation for us, that is clear, but the simple ask for it to be done any other way makes me infinitely more grateful for a savior who would bear that cross for me. The humanity of Jesus in this moment is what saved my life!
My prayer for you today, and as we continue this series, is to understand that Jesus was real, and His human moments are special and so beautiful. When we remember everywhere He went, everything He did, and all the things He felt, our relationship with Him has no choice but to grow and deepen.
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