Easter: On Jesus’ Humanness
Have you ever wondered why it was important for Jesus to be human?
I’m not talking about why it was important for him to come and give up his life for us; the crucifixion. I’m talking about why it was important that he was a flesh and blood man.
This season of Lent and Easter always takes me to a place of considering Jesus’ humanity; the thing we have in common, our humanness. It feels easy to focus on the whole Jesus died for my sins and forget that he was human. He surely had morning breath, hunger pains and achy muscles at times.
As a human myself, I sometimes find more comfort in his humanness than in his Godness. What I mean is that when I’m feeling discouraged by my limitations, “bad” thoughts, or lack of being able to be perfect, I know that if Jesus really was human he too had times of wanting to tell the person off in line at the post office, having one too many beers at the end of a long work week, or taking an extra long nap on a Saturday afternoon instead of doing yard work. His humanness somehow expands my graciousness towards myself and makes mine less bad. It’s almost as if I can say, Maybe these things about me aren’t so bad, they are just simply human and maybe being human isn’t so horrible, maybe it just is.
As Christians, we are so often told that our humanness is what’s bad about us. It’s the reason we need God because we are so bad without him. We walk around everyday feeling discouraged about the very things that link us more closely to Jesus than anything else.
There isn’t much written in the Bible about Jesus’s human moments; the brain farts, inpatients, or visceral desires but the only way these types of moments aren’t true is if Jesus wasn’t really human. And if he wasn’thuman, our entire faith as Christians has been built on a farce.
So take a moment with me and consider what grace and patience you might be able to offer yourself if it were true that Jesus really was human. Could this reality change the way you talk to Jesus? Would this reality change the way you talk to yourself? Maybe your conversations could look less like, “I’m a horrible person and I’m sorry” to “Jesus help me understand my humanness in light of yours”, “help me love the beauty of being human”, “give me wisdom to know how your humanness can give to my human parts” etc.
Brennan Manning puts it another way in his book, The Wisdom of Tenderness,
When Jesus says, ‘Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me, get away with me and you’ll recover your life’ (Matthew 11:28, The Message Bible), the poignant image of his outstretched arms conveys longing, intense desire, and a profound understanding of the human condition.
Jesus knows that we will experience fatigue along the way and get bollixed, beat up, and burned out by church, relationships, parenting, ministry, career, appetites, addictions and our recurring neuroses.
The tenderness of Jesus frees us from embarrassment about ourselves. He lets us know that we can risk being known, that our emotions, sexuality, and fantasies are purified…the wisdom gleaned from tenderness is that…we can trust ourselves and thereby learn to trust others.”
So what does him humanness mean for you?
For me, I imagine Jesus’s humanness impacting what he says to me in this way,
“Candice, my child I made you human, as I was human and I understand what being human means. I did not always do it perfectly and it’s easy to love you as you continue to figure out ways to deepen your kindness towards yourself and others. You don’t have to hate, or beat down your humanness; your impatience, bad moods and insecurities. My expectations for you isn’t that you be perfect, but that you be kind, and just and loving towards yourself.”
Jesus’ humanness means he understands the “rough edges” of me, more than anyone else and that he still very much loves me just as I am.
What could Jesus’s humanness mean for you? What does he understand about you better because you share in the flesh and blood of it all? What words of grace do you think he wants to offer you because of this?
Let yourself receive the gift of Jesus’ human experience.