This is the first half of a sermon I'm preparing for Feb. 12th. I've been given the assignment to minister about Was Jesus Human or Divine? Of couse, the answer is both. This sermon is to take 20 to 30 minutes, so it's a bit longer than my previous efforts. Here is the fist half of it.
Have you ever stopped to consider how miraculous it was that Jesus’ three year ministry has led to the growth of Christianity so that it is the World’s largest religion and has survived 2,000 years of turmoil, war, suffering, and strife?
I don’t know about you, but before I fully committed to live my life for Christ, I still had some difficult questions about Him.
1. Who was Jesus?
2. Did he really work miracles?
3. Did he really die on a cross for me?
4. Why did the apostles and the early Christian church grow so rapidly despite terrible suffering, persecution, and brutality at the hands of the Romans?
5. What was Jesus’ true message for humanity then and now?
Upon reflecting on these questions, I realized it all really came down to this one:
Was Jesus God, or simply really good man and prophet? Was he just a righteous teacher or was he God manifested on Earth?
Let’s begin our study with this: Was Jesus human?
The book of Matthew in Chapter 1, verses 1 to 17 begins with a genealogy of Christ going back to King David, and from David back to the Old Father Abraham.
Why do you suppose the writer of the Book of Matthew began his book this way?
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible states that this “book is an account, not of the divine, but human generation of Christ; and not merely of his birth, which lies in a very little compass; nor of his genealogy, which is contained in this chapter; but also of his whole life and actions.”
So this genealogy proved Christ’s human ancestry and his right to claim the Son of David, the long predicted Messiah, King of the Jews.
Next we have the story of Mary and Joseph. How Christ was born in a manger, it was really an underground barn where animals were kept. He was born just like you and I. Mary experienced the pain of childbirth. Joseph, the anxious young husband of Mary, I’m sure was pacing the floor, upset that his son would be born in such a hovel. Jesus was born, had to be diapered, fed, kept safe and warm, just like all children. Some stories and legends state he never cried, but I call bunk. Babies cry to express their needs, and if Jesus was a true human baby, he cried. Mary nursed him, and Joseph kept them safe.
We don’t really know much about his young life except that he grew up in a home as the eldest of several children and learned how to work, possibly as a carpenter, like Joseph. The family lived “on the wrong side of the tracks,” in the poor neighborhood known as Nazareth. In fact in John 2: 46, we learn that the apostle Philip was first telling Nathanial about Jesus. Nathanial responds with “Can anything good come out of Nazereth?” Oh boy, never judge a book by it’s cover, and never judge someone by where they are from, the color of their skin, or what side of the tracks they are from, because you never know what God has in store for them and for you!
This tells us something about his home doesn’t it. Now we know Jesus experienced the loss of a parent. Somewhere between the age of 12 and 30, Joseph died. This had a great effect upon Jesus as throughout his ministry he often referred to taking care of the widows and orphans.
How else was Jesus like all of us?
We know that he grew up from a child to a man. Luke 2:40 states, “The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was on him.”
Jesus studied and grew in knowledge as Luke 2:52 states, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.”
Jesus experienced Hunger. In Matthew 4:2 we learn that Jesus “fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.”
Jesus was often tired, bone weary, and had to sleep just as we all must do. Matthew 8:24 states, “A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves, but he was asleep.” John 4:6 states that Jesus came to Jacob’s well and “Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well.”
Jesus was troubled and even betrayed by a trusted friend, John 13: 21 states “Now Jesus was deeply troubled, and he exclaimed, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me!" And we later learn about how Judas did betray him.
Jesus experienced sadness, cried and mourned over the loss of friends and family. Jesus learned of his friend Lazarus’ death. John 11:33-35 states “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.” Jesus Wept. That verse is the shortest verse in the Bible; but it is exceedingly important and tender. It shows the Lord Jesus as a saddened friend, and proves his character as a man.
Jesus experienced anger. When he came to the temple in Jerusalem, he was angered at the merchants who had come into the place to sell their wares and to make money off the religion of the day. Mark 11: 15-16 states “On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.”
And like all of us are fated to die, he too experienced suffering, felt abandoned by God, and died horribly on a cross. Luke 22:44 tells the story of Jesus, knowing he was facing death and seeking to pray to God states, “He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.” If you have ever faced death, tragedy, perhaps you have fallen to your knees and cried out to God. I know I have. Can anything be more human? He was beaten, a crown of thorns placed on his brow, and nails driven through his wrists and ankles, then suspended on a cross, where every breath was an agony, and death came slowly and painfully, in the worst of slow human torture ever devised by the Romans. Most died of their lungs filling with fluid and choking to death seeking one more breath. As Christ died on that Cross, Christian’s believe he took all our sins upon himself as the pure sacrifice so we might be truly forgiven and have eternal life in Heaven. God turned away from Jesus that day. See God cannot look upon sin. It is an anathema to Him. In Matthew 27: 45-46 we learn of the worst hour of his life, “Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried, 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani!' That is to say, My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?"
So…Jesus was born, grew up, studied, lost a parent, experienced hunger, tiredness, worry, betrayal, sadness, mourning, anger, suffering, abandonment, and death. Jesus often referred to himself as the “son of man.” So, was he human? Definitely. Totally. He was fully human! He experienced the same feelings and loss we all have, as well as joy and laughter. Oh yes, that too. Throughout his ministry we learn of him attending weddings, dinners, celebrations, and enjoying the company of his friends and disciples. Yes, he was fully human!
Now the next big question is was he God?