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Was Jesus Human or Divine?


Was Jesus totally human or totally divine?

Steve Answers:

This is actually a simple question and can be answered in one word: totally!

Let’s talk about Jesus’ totally human portion first. The genealogy of Jesus (see Matthew 1:1-16) goes through a chain of humans, all the way from Abraham and David (which sounds good), but also through Tamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba (which doesn’t sound so good).

Luke 2:1-7 says Jesus was born as a baby in an earthy, primitive setting and describes the reality of taxes, Mary and Joseph’s trip to Bethlehem, and their lowly accommodations because "there was no room for them in the inn" (verse 7).

The story continues in Luke with shepherds (lowly humans) being the ones who visited this baby. As a continuation of His human development, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple for the very human firstborn male Jewish rite of circumcision.

Except for Jesus’ trip to Jerusalem when He was 12, the rest of His childhood and adolescence is summed up in Luke 2:52: "And Jesus matured, growing up in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people."*

We can find many more details about Jesus’ three years of ministry during His young adulthood. We read of Jesus getting tired, even exhausted, being hungry, angry, sorrowful, and eventually beaten and killed by other humans. In fact, He hung on a cross between two other humans.

So was Jesus human? Totally!

The second portion of your question asks if Jesus was totally divine. Notice that Jesus’ genealogy recorded in Luke 3:23-38 traces His ancestry back to God!

Although Jesus was indeed born in a stable, Wise Men from the East came and worshiped Him. Evidently King Herod didn’t mistake Jesus as a mere human since he slaughtered so many baby boys in an unsuccessful attempt to eliminate Jesus (see Matthew 2).

And when Jesus went through the Jewish ritual of circumcision, both Anna and Simeon saw Him as divine (see Luke 2:25-38).

Whether it was turning water into wine, healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, or restoring blind people’s sight, Jesus’ actions were certainly more divine than human.

When the religious leaders said to Jesus straight out, "If you are the Christ, tell us plainly," Jesus’ answer tells us a lot: "I did tell you, but you do not believe" (see John 10:22-39).

Jesus then referred to His many miracles and asked the religious leaders which miracle caused their desire to stone Him. They replied, "We are not stoning you for any of these, . . . but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God" (verse 33). And after Jesus basically told them again that He was God, they tried to seize Jesus, "but he escaped their grasp" (verse 39).

How tragic–the religious leaders got the very answer they sought. But they rejected the divine because they thought He was only human.

However, the pagan Roman centurion on duty during the Crucifixion noted that Jesus was the Son of God (see Matthew 27:54).

So the answer really is that Jesus was totally human and totally divine.

I know that makes Him 200 percent, but when you’re God, totally means more than only human. When you’re Jesus, totally means more than only divine, too.

In Hebrews 4:14-16 we read, "Now that we know what we have–Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God–let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all–all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help."* 

*Texts credited to Message are from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

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