A few weeks ago we did a wonderful study of just how personally and passionately Jesus loves us. At our picnic we studied about the deepest, strongest desires of Jesus' heart for our lives and for our relationship with Him. This study we will delve into a much less discussed topic—at least in the way and the depth in which we will see today: the "humanity" of Jesus. We know He took on human form. We know He suffered and died for us as a Human. But in our personal view of Him, and even in how we read about Him in Scriptures, we miss the reality of just how human He became; of just how much He truly relates to/understands us; of just how incredible our God must be to have allowed Himself to experience so many things just so we could truly have the comfort and the truth of this passage: Hebrews 4:14-16.
This is one of the most precious and important Scriptures in the entire Bible. This verse explains why we can approach the throne in "boldness" because we can have the assurance that our God Himself became weak and has shared all of our temptations, pains, struggles, failures, sorrows, loses, shames, fears and joys. Ever notice how easy and comforting it is to talk to someone who has experienced a like event? Injury, tragedy, vocation, rare experience? (Support groups) We have a Redeemer Who can deeply connect with us as we pray about our every excitement and struggle. We know this theologically but most do not fully grasp the depth of that fact. Today we will see just how and why He relates to our every experience in life. At times, our discussion today may seem almost blasphemous to some because we have always been so focused on His Divinity that we have overlooked or ignored these truths of His Humanity and it is to our great detriment. Because those who knew Him best when He walked the earth had the greatest Intimacy with Him much to the credit of their shared experiences with Him; much to the credit that they had seen Him like no one else had in His Humanity which gave them great appreciation and assurance of His understanding. Let's start from the beginning and simply "drink in" all of the aspects of Jesus' Life which we usually overlook or simply do not know about so that we might understand Our God, King, Redeemer, Judge and Beloved—a bit more intimately. Don’t listen to these experiences and say, “But that’s different, He was God!” Jesus faced it all with a heart and mind just like ours. See these things as though it were you.
Everything in Scriptures leads us to understand that Jesus' Birth, Infancy, Toddler Years and Childhood were completely Human and Normal in every way: Luke 2:7. Nothing in Scriptures even hints towards His Birth being any different from others. We sometimes get this idea of a beautiful painless delivery and a quiet, happy, Babe [“The Little Lord Jesus, No crying He makes!”] We see Him as One Who Smiled all of the time and raised His hand when He needed a bottle. Jesus filled diapers; Jesus was irritable and cried; Jesus spit up on His parents; Jesus got sick, sneezed, coughed and threw up; Jesus drove His parents crazy in His toddler years with 100% certainty. He did not grow up with perfect knowledge and judgment: Luke 2:40; Luke 2:52. He increased (grew) in strength, wisdom and favor. Jesus had to learn the Scriptures just as we do. He could not rely upon Omniscience as He walked this earth. Jesus grew in favor with God as He studied, prayed and learned to rely upon the Spirit. He learned to trust in God more and more as we do. He had to have the discipline and passion to grow closer and closer to the Father—it wasn’t all set in Hid DNA. Jesus had at least six brothers and sisters: Mark 6:3. Here four brothers are named and at least two sisters, maybe more. He grew up in such a normal, low to middle classed home that even His siblings did not know He was any different from anyone else (only His parents knew). Except that they probably heard, "Why can't you be more like your brother Jesus?" a bit more than the average kids can. Jesus had closeness, rivalry, jokes, bonds and shared secrets with family just like us. Jesus—no doubt in lack of knowledge and experiences—did things to be corrected and reprimanded over; not in sin, but childish ignorance. One Story even being recorded in Scriptures. [Were they ever angry with Jesus? Have you ever been?]: Luke 2:41-51. By 12yrs of age, Jesus knew His Calling. He showed complete zeal for the things of God, but in His immaturity He had gone about it in such a way that it caused much grief and hardship for His parents. He was a typical teenager; He had to grow in wisdom. He stepped into His Ministry with a mindset just as you or I would have had. Jesus also understood what it was like to be thought of as "Those people!" Jesus knew how it felt to be overlooked, looked down upon, judged, and hated for who He was His entire young and adult life. Stop and consider a normal boy growing up with the title of "Bastard" His whole life because His mother was thought to be a tramp—who by other historical accounts was believed to have had an affair with a Roman soldier. He came from a very lowly and unliked area where even His accent was made fun of by others. He never received a formal education, was considered less than others were Intellectually—even when His adult Ministry began. The Romans were racist against Him for being a Jew. And the Hebrews hated Him for His bastard background. Everyone thought Him to be a no account "hick" in His upbringing.
He completely understands when we feel inadequate, hated, and unworthy by those who think themselves superior. Yet He did not respond in criminal activity, returned hate, unforgiveness or with excuses of self-pity to justify bad behavior. Jesus continued to love; continued to show compassion for others; continued to forgive. [Your excuse is?]
In Mark 6:3, we read "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?.." Remember that Jesus' Ministry on this earth was only for the last 3 1/2 years of His life. From the time He was old enough to stand beside His father until He began His Ministry, He was a Working man. Which meant that He and His father probably worked in wood, stone masonry, and even designing and building—whatever was needed by the small town. They were quite probably the "Mr. Fix-It" crew of the people. This may be why the disciples (Mark 13:1) brought the grand design of the Temple to Jesus’ notice. He worked a blue-collar, blood, sweat and tears job. Our Savior God worked hard, hot, manual labor His entire life. He had to learn the trade from His father—He made mistakes as He learned. He had to deal with deadlines and unhappy customers. He had splinters, calluses, dirty fingernails and huge forearms. He even understands all of our frustrations and weariness with our jobs, bad business deals, mean customers and simply not wanting to go in today. The King of the Universe—royalty, God—worked every day with His callused hands for over 20 years.
Have you ever had those times in your life with friends, parents or spouse where you were so frustrated that, "Even after all this time, they won't change?" "They don't get it, they aren’t trying to get it...” “I don’t know how much longer I can do this!" And you feel alone, frustrated and unheard? Jesus knows exactly how you feel: Matthew 17:17. Jesus understands exasperation and frustration when others continue to ignore or disregard you; when no matter what you say, they keep doing it their way. And He met it with forgiveness and continued love. Have you ever gone through a horrid experience, felt like your world had just caved in on you and yet those whom you love the most—whom you have tried to please most, and be there for most—seem to be clueless and uncaring about your need? Leaving you to face the very thing alone in your pain? Jesus completely understands. Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane—in His Humanity—is shaking, sweating, afraid and broken—pleads with His closest friends to stay up with Him and pray with Him: Matthew 26:37-39. And upon returning from the biggest moment of personal struggle and pain in His life—when all humanity hung in the balance—Jesus returns to find no one even showed enough concern to sit up and care for Him for an hour: Matthew 26:40. Have you ever had the terrible experience of feeling that your closest friends and even your own family just see you as a total failure? When Jesus began His Ministry and was pouring His life into His Calling, listen to the support He received from those closest to Him His whole life: John 7:2-5: Jesus' brothers did not say this in faith and encouragement, but in sarcasm and disbelief because they had begun to turn against Him thinking He was arrogant or crazy. When Jesus had become so popular that He could not even eat a meal in peace, listen to what His own family thought of Him: Mark 3:20-21, 31. Jesus gave up everything in His Life to follow the Father. He Spoke like no other, influenced countless people, healed the sick, performed miracles, gave His everything—and His own family was embarrassed by Him, tried to stop Him and take Him home. The biggest calling of His life—the moment He had lived for until now—and no one He cared for the most even supported or believed in Him. Ever been there? It is completely heartbreaking for those you hold most dear not to believe in or stand with you. Jesus understands this intimately. Of course, Jesus had to travel to witness and reach those in Jerusalem and surrounding areas. But there are additional reasons He could not have stayed in His own town and home during His Ministry because those closest to Him only discouraged Him: Mark 6:1-6. Jesus in His Humanity deeply understood feelings of rejection, disappointment and disapproval by the very family and close friends He held most dear. He had worked with, and for almost every person who rejected Him that day, but He kept going—in love.
This scene brings us to another major event to consider. Notice Jesus' earthly father was not among those who condemned Him? Because Joseph had already passed away sometime between when Jesus was 12yrs old at the Temple and the beginning of His Ministry. No doubt Joseph was a wonderful and loving father—the only father Jesus had known since birth—who had raised Him as his own, taught Him the family business and worked right beside Him all day for His whole young life. Stop and think: could Jesus have raised Joseph when he passed away? Of course He could have. So why didn't He? Why didn’t He stop His own pain? Because in all of His power and love for His dad, Jesus wanted to fulfill the will of God, and part of that will was experiencing the deep loss of His own father. Jesus knows the anger, pain and emptiness of losing one closest to you. He could have changed it, but did not. This precious, hard-working, totally giving Man—who grew up poor, was hated for His race, looked down on for his tarnished family name and poverty, disregarded for His lowly, uneducated status—was supported by no one He most cared about in life, ministered to countless people without earning one penny, actually having to live homeless. He experienced a few things that even you and I have never experienced—He went through a nightmare of terror and embarrassment few have to go through with our human mindset and emotions. A court hearing where He was found guilty and disgraced in front of His loved ones, having His clothes torn off in front of everyone and being tortured naked until he was almost dead; experiencing His worst physical nightmare as He was slowly killed in a way He'd seen others die since His youth. While everyone stood distant and unsupportive, He died completely rejected by those He'd given His life to loving. And all those times you have done something horrid and shameful and felt as if God would hate you forever—as if you were alone, dirty and unlovable—Jesus experienced exactly what that feels like with His human heart and head. But the difference is His rejection, shame and solitude was real. He died in complete despair, humiliation and real aloneness. As a human—even a sinful human—Jesus understands even more than many of us can ever comprehend.
He experienced human life with enough poverty, racism, abuse, temptation, rejection and lack of support from family and friends to make Him bitter, damaged, cold, unforgiving, and resentful for life. But He answered it all with real, deep rooted, selfless love. When we pray in fear, temptation…hopelessness, loneliness, anger, frustration, He hears with a deep-seated compassion of One who has shared our thoughts and feelings. Come to Him with boldness knowing He stands with you as Someone who’s been there and still is there—in a scarred human body today and forever. Our greatest Advocate and Defender is “One of us!” by choice. That’s my King!
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