God became an embryo and entered the womb of Mary. He became one of us. The God of the universe was born into the poverty of a peasant and spent His first night in the feed trough of a cow. “The Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14). The God of the universe left the glory of Heaven and move into the neighbourhood. Our neighbourhood! Who could have imagined He would do such a thing?
He loves to be with the ones He loves, so much so that the One who made everything “made Himself nothing” (Philippians 2:7). Christ made Himself small. He made Himself dependent on lungs, a larynx, and legs. He experienced hunger and thirst. He went through all the normal stages of human development. He was taught to walk, stand, wash His face, and dress Himself. His muscles grew stronger. His hair grew longer. His voice cracked when He passed through puberty. He was genuinely human.
When he was “full of joy” (Luke 10:21), His joy was authentic. When He wept for Jerusalem (Luke 19:41), His tears were as real as yours or mine. When He asked, “How long must I put up with you?” (Matthew 17:17 NLT), His frustration was honest. When He cried out from the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46), He needed an answer.
He took “the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:7). He became like us so He could serve us! He entered the world not to demand our allegiance but to display His affection.
Jesus may have had pimples. He may have been tone deaf. Perhaps a girl down the street had a crush on Him or vice versa. It could be that His knees were bony. One thing’s for sure: He was, while completely divine, completely human.,
Why? Why did Jesus expose Himself to human difficulties? Growing weary in Samaria (John 4:6). Disturbed in Nazareth (Mark 6:6). Angry in the temple (John 2:15). Sleepy in the boat on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:38). Sad at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:35). Hungry in the wilderness (Matthew 4:2).
Why did He endure all these feelings? Because He knew you would feel them too. He knew you would be weary, disturbed, and angry.
He knew you’d be sleepy, grief stricken, and hungry. He knew you’d face pain. If not the pain of the body, the pain of the soul … pain too sharp for any drug. He knew you’d face thirst. If not a thirst for water, at least a thirst for truth, and the truth we glean from the image of a thirsty Christ is that He understands. And because He understands, we can go to Him.
He has been where you are and can relate to how you feel. And if His life on earth doesn’t convince you, His death on the cross should. He understand what you are going through. Our Lord does not patronize us or scoff at our needs. He responds “generously to all without finding fault” (James 1:5). How can He do this? Listen to the words of the writer of the book of Hebrews.
Hebrews 4:15-16 (CEV) “Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help.”
For thirty-three years He felt everything you and I have felt. He felt weak. He grew weary. He was afraid of failure. He was susceptible to wooing women. He got colds, burped, and had body odour. His feelings got hurt. His feet got tired. And His head ached.
To think of Jesus in such a light is … Well, it seems almost irreverent, doesn’t it? It’s not something we like to do; it’s uncomfortable. It is much easier to keep the humanity out of the incarnation (our Christmas celebration). Clean the manure from around the manger. Wipe the sweat out of His eyes. Pretend He never snored or blew His nose or hit His thumb with a hammer.
He’s easier to handle that way. Something about keeping Him divine also keeps Him distant, packaged, predictable.
But don’t do it. For heaven’s sake don’t. Let Him be as human as He intended to be. Let Him into the mire and the muck of our world, for only if we let Him in, can He pull us out.