WHY IT MATTERS THAT JESUS WAS REALLY HUMAN by Silverio Gonzalez for Core Christianity

Amid the concern to defend that Jesus was God, we can lose sight that Jesus was human, that in Jesus God became a man. I understand the desire to protect Jesus’ divinity, to confess his Lordship, to ponder his glory, to recognize his victory, and to anticipate his final triumph over sin, death, and evil—this is all gospel truth. But we need to keep a fact in sight—Jesus was human, and this is as much gospel truth as the claim of his divinity.

In fact, it is much easier to understand that God is for us—that he cares, loves, and involves himself in our affairs for our good and our salvation—when we know the extent to which God went to save us: The Father sent the Son, Jesus Christ. God came down from heaven. He was born a human being. He lived like us. He worked like us. He hungered like us. He hurt like us. And to make the gospel story more graphic, he suffered the worst sort of death.

Beyond the pain of a long, slow crucifixion in which the victim’s lungs would slowly fill up, choking the life out of him as he would struggle to hold his body up just to grasp at a partial breath, Jesus suffered the wrath of God on the cross. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, suffered God-forsakenness—this dark side of the gospel story is gospel truth. How Jesus was both fully human and fully divine is a mystery, but that Jesus was truly human and truly divine is clearly taught in Scripture.

The atonement is directly connected to the incarnation: God taking on true humanity in the person of Jesus Christ is directly connected to his saving work on the cross. Here, I want to explain two ways Jesus’ humanity is gospel truth.

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