Saturday, May 18, 2019 -
Reading through the gospels, I’ve contemplated a lot on Christ’s humanity. Not much is provided about Jesus’ growing up years, but He had thirty years of preparation for His ministry. Luke 2:40 says, “And the Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.” Note, Luke does not say as he did of John, that he became “strong in spirit,” but just that He became strong.
We also know that Jesus was not born with all wisdom and knowledge, because it says He was “increasing in wisdom.”
Indeed, when Jesus began His ministry and returned to Nazareth, where He grew up, the people were astonished at His wisdom, and the fact it was the same man as the boy they know to be Mary and Joseph’s son (Matthew 13:54-55). And also, they were astonished at His miraculous powers. They said, “Where did this man get all these things? (Matthew 13:56). “And they took offense at Him,” both Matthew and Mark’s account says. It is why Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, and in his own household” (Matthew 13:57). And so we can deduce that Jesus must have been known as just an ordinary child and young man. The Mark account (6:3) has the people asking, “Is this the carpenter?” and so we can assume that Jesus was trained in and practiced carpentry.
And through all of this, we can deduce that Jesus’ vast knowledge of the Scriptures was learned, to the point that as a 12-year old boy he amazed the teachers in the temple at Jerusalem with His listening, questions, understanding – and the answers He was providing (Luke 2:46-47).
When His parents found Him, His mother scolded Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for you.” But a few verses later it says, “He continued in subjection to them, and His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and structure, and in favor with God and men.”
And then, we read how intensely Jesus was tempted of Satan in the wilderness, and how Jesus Himself fasted, and constantly went off by Himself to be able to pray, at least on one incident for an entire night. To me, Jesus’ prayer life was perhaps the most demonstrable part of His humanity, at least to the point where He had to suffer and die for our sin. Jesus, who is Himself God incarnate, spoke to the Father on a regular basis.
And of course, there were the many human characteristics we see in Jesus, particularly His compassion and love for the common and downtrodden men and women – those completely rejected and ostracized from society. People you and I would not even be caught talking to. Jesus wept over Lazarus’ death. He wept over Jerusalem. Constantly, Scripture says that Jesus healed all. He didn’t select some to heal and some not to heal.
Jesus was humble. When the people were hungry, Jesus fed them. He was even concerned that their bellies were empty!
Jesus had to be born as a human, fully human in every way, or His suffering and death would not have had the significance that it had. And that torture that He endured for us was the most compassionate and loving thing He could have done for anyone. It was with such apprehension Jesus approached the cross, that He sweat drops of blood and pleaded with God that there be some way He could take the burden from Him. For when it came to His suffering, He felt the pain and agony as you or I would have felt it. But for Him, it was worse than anything we could have endured, for He carried the weight of the sin of the entire world – past, present, and future.