Most often people don’t like diving too deeply into the nature of Jesus Christ. Any time you talk about his humanity in too humanly of terms, well-meaning Christians start to think that you are a heretic. They don’t like it when you try to take off his halo! However, to truly appreciate Jesus’ human nature, we must leave our lofty opinions at the door and remember that Jesus came as one of us.
The truth of the matter is that Jesus’ perfect humanity did not primarily dwell on his deity. Jesus simply lived the perfect, spirit-filled life that the Father desired. His temptations were real and genuine, and yet, he resisted them by the power of the Spirit.
Dr. Bruce Ware has helped direct my focus to Scripture about the perfect humanity of Christ. Let me, as he did, make it perfectly clear that I believe that Jesus was and is 100% God and 100% Man. As an orthodox Christian, I completely agree with the Creed of Chalcedon. I am not trying to poke holes in the deity of Christ, but rather direct our attention to the amazingly perfect humanity of Christ.
Was Jesus’ the perfect human because he was God? I believe we do a disservice to his true nature if that is our final answer to that question.
Here are some deep questions Dr. Ware gave my church and which I would like to articulate with you, dear reader.
1. Why would Jesus, the God-man, need to have the Spirit of God upon him?
2. What can the Spirit of God add to the deity of Jesus?
3. How can Jesus be upheld as a model for living since he was the God-man and we are not?
Peter the Apostle gives his answers as following:
1. Why did Jesus need the Spirit?
In Acts 2:22, Peter writes, “Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through him in your midst.”
Peter is not in any way discounting the deity of Christ, but he particularly emphasizes the humanity in this passage. Peter says that Jesus worked his miracles in his human nature with Spirit empowerment!
Until now, if someone asked me how Jesus performed miracles, I would say “Because he is God.” I wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, because you can be sure that his miracles pointed to his identity as the Messiah.
However, Peter writes again in Acts 10:38, “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
How did Jesus heal and work miracles? Through the power of the Spirit. He needed the power of the Spirit because no human can do anything good apart from God.
Are you with me so far? Let’s examine the next question.
2. Can the Spirit of God add anything to the deity of Christ?
The answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT! Jesus is 100% God and 100% man. He cannot become any more powerful, blessed, or holy in his divine nature. Jesus is also the visible form of the invisible God. (Jn. 14:9).
The working of the Spirit was evident in his humanity. His human nature was perfect, but also perfectly human. In his own strength, Christ would not have been able to have a blessed ministry. The Spirit was required for fruit, softened hearts, miracles, and Jesus’ teaching. The Holy Spirit did not add to his deity but filled his humanity with the power of God.
The last question falls on a more practical note, but still ties in with Jesus’ Humanity.
3. How can we be like Christ if he was the God-Man?
You might be thinking that it is impossible for the Christian to be like Christ since he was divine. We will certainly never achieve perfection in this life! However, as the bearer of the New Covenant “this is my body and blood” (I Cor.) he was ushering in the period of the Spirit’s indwelling. He set an example by his life of spirit empowerment.
Not only can we not live without the Spirit, we must walk in the Spirit and pray for the Spirit to work in our ministry at all times.
Luke 2 shows us the beautiful, Spirit-filled humanity of Christ very plainly. In verse 40, we see that Jesus grew and was filled with wisdom. How can God become more wise? He does not. Jesus needed to meditate on God’s Word just like every other human believer. In fact, his meditation and knowledge of the Scriptures was so deep that when Jesus stayed in the temple (v. 46) he confounded the teachers! What child was this who knew Scriptures just as well as the rabbis? The answer would not be “God” but would be “a perfect man who knew that God’s Word was to be treasured and obeyed above all else!”
My brothers and sisters in Christ, if Christ knew that the key to his ministry was knowing God’s Word and living in the power of the Spirit, we have our example for Christian living. Though sinful, we have access to the throne of grace and the power of the Spirit. Jesus is the bearer of the New Covenant and shows us that it is very possible to live in the Spirit.
Remember, Jesus told his disciples that they would do far greater things when he left. Why? Because the power through the Spirit of God can do abundantly above all that we ask or think (Eph. 3:20). Let’s thank God for his incredible gift to us- the presence of God inside our unworthy souls. Let us walk in the Spirit and fulfill the life that God desires us to live, Thank Jesus for actually living the perfect life in your place!