At the incarnation, the Son of God became a real man. His body, soul and spirit were all as real as ours are. He spoke about His body which He gave for us, Luke 22. 19, His soul being troubled, John 12. 27, and His spirit which He commended to God when He died, Luke 23. 46. Inwardly, in His mind and soul, He was able to think and to feel all the emotions which we experience. Outwardly, and physically, He looked like other men who lived at that time, so that when people saw Him they saw a man who looked like themselves.
Although a real man like any other man, He was not in any way sinful like every other man. In fact, He was a perfect man; perfect in every way, with no faults or defects – something that no one else has ever been or can be. When we say He was perfect, it also means that He was perfectly and completely human, not partly human. And not partly human and partly divine, but completely human and completely divine, indivisibly and simultaneously in one unique person. We cannot understand all this completely, but we do accept the truth of it, for that is what God has revealed to us in His word.
Because we are made of ‘flesh and blood’, He ‘took part of the same’, Heb. 2. 14. He did not take on the nature or form of an angel but took on a human body, v. 16. ‘He was made in the likeness of men’ and was ‘found in fashion as a man’, Phil. 2. 7, 8. He became one of us so that He could save us. He was in every way a man, but with one very important difference which we must always emphasize – He was totally without sin, Heb. 4. 15.
Think of some examples of how real was His humanity.
Mary His mother carried Him in her womb and brought Him into the world naturally and normally as a real human baby, Luke 2. 7. She wrapped Him in baby clothes and laid Him in a manger-bed; she nursed Him at her breast and cared for Him, 11. 27.
We read about Him when He was eight days old, 2. 21, when He was twelve years old, v. 42, and when he was thirty years old, 3. 23. We are not told very much at all about His childhood and His early life, but we know that He was an obedient child at home, 2. 51, and that He increased in wisdom and stature. He developed mentally and physically like other boys do, v. 52. He had other brothers and sisters in His human family, Matt. 13. 55, 56; John 7. 3-5.
He was known as ‘the carpenter’s son’, Matt. 13. 55, for Joseph was a carpenter. He was also called ‘the carpenter, the son of Mary’, Mark 6. 3. This might mean that Joseph had died and, as the oldest son in the family, our Lord Jesus took over his job to provide for the others, as a real man is meant to do. He was known and spoken of as Jesus of [or from] Nazareth, because that was His home town, Luke 4. 16, 34.
We read about Him being hungry, thirsty, and tired after walking many miles, John 4. 6, 7, and sleeping during a voyage over the Sea of Galilee, Matt. 8. 24. He was sad and shed tears, John 11. 35, grieved and sorry, angry and disappointed, Mark 3. 5. He also rejoiced, Luke 10. 21, and marvelled, sometimes at faith, other times at unbelief, 7. 9; Mark 6. 6. He experienced hatred, rejection, betrayal and capture by enemies, John 15. 18-25. He felt pain and anguish, Luke 22. 44. It affected His body, soul, and spirit.
Many times He was alone, John 8. 1, but other times He depended on others for obtaining food, 4. 8, providing a boat for Him to use, Luke 5. 3, a donkey to ride on, Matt. 21. 2, a home to feel welcome and safe, Luke 10. 38; John 12. 1, 2. He always had complete control of all that happened but He experienced the threats and hazards of unpopularity, Luke 13. 31, of fleeing from danger, John 10. 39, 40, and of avoiding capture, Luke 4. 29, 30. He also completely submitted Himself to the will of God His Father, John 6. 38; Luke 22. 42. As a man He humbled Himself and became obedient to God all through His life, on to its end on the cross, Phil. 2. 8.
He had the ability to save Himself from death, Matt. 26. 53, and no power could defeat Him, John 19. 11, but He experienced the bitterness of death in its full reality. He noticed the sorrow of those near and dear to Him, vv. 26, 27. His death came about by crucifixion, by blood loss, by severe and acute damage to His body inwardly and outwardly. He felt unspeakable pain, anguish and thirst, v. 28. He took His last breath and His spirit left His body, Luke 23. 46. When Pilate’s soldiers came to check what had happened, they found that He was ‘dead already’, John 19. 33. Blood and water flowed from a spear wound in His side afterwards. His dead body was taken down from the cross and buried in a new tomb, v. 41.
The One who appeared to His disciples after His resurrection was in a body which was recognized by Mary and then by the other disciples, as we read Luke chapter 24 and John chapters 20 and 21. He showed to them His hands and His feet and His side, John 20. 20, 27. He spoke to them, walked with them, and ate with them. They could recognize His voice, 20. 16; 21. 6, 7. He was a real man in a resurrection body which His disciples could see and touch, Luke 24. 39. It was not a body of flesh and blood but nevertheless a real body, a body of ‘flesh and bones’ with the new supernatural ability to appear and disappear at will, not subject to physical barriers.
His manhood did not cease when He went back to heaven. We often call Him ‘The Man in the glory’. He was seen and recognized by Stephen and by John when they saw Him in heaven, Acts 7. 56; Rev. 1. 12-18. Now, as the mediator between God and man, He is ‘the man, Christ Jesus’,
1 Tim. 2. 5. Hebrews chapter 2 verses 9 and 10 tell us that the one who suffered death is the man who is ‘crowned with glory and honour’.
The scriptures make it clear that this real man was a perfect man. This idea is strange to us, because we are not perfect and we are used to imperfect men and women all around us. In fact, no one is perfect, except the Lord Jesus Christ. We are all sinful, but He was sinless. This is very important, for if He had not been sinless, He could not have been our Saviour. Only a sinless man could bear sin’s penalty and bring us forgiveness, 2 Cor. 5. 21.
We read that He ‘did no sin’, 1 Pet. 2. 22; He ‘knew no sin’, 2 Cor. 5. 21; and that ‘in Him is no sin’, 1 John 3. 5. He was ‘holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners’, Heb. 7. 26. He is ‘the Holy One of God’, Mark 1. 24, ‘that holy One’ who was born of Mary, Luke 1. 35.
He lived beside sinful men and women on earth, and became their friend and helper, Luke 15. 1, 2. But He was never contaminated by their sin. Many times His enemies tried to accuse Him of doing wrong but they never could, John 8. 46. At His trial before Pilate, these enemies could find no valid accusation, except from false witnesses who could not agree upon what they were saying. Pilate had to give his verdict and three times he said, ‘I find no fault in him’, John 18. 38; 19. 4, 6. The thief on the cross beside Him said, ‘This man has done nothing amiss’, Luke 23. 41. The soldier in charge of the crucifixion said, ‘Certainly this was a righteous man’, v. 47.
Every testimony from God in heaven, Matt. 3. 17; 17. 5, from demons in hell, Mark 1. 24, and from everyone on earth who met Him is that He is perfectly sinless, pure and holy. The devil himself tried to tempt our Lord to sin, but every temptation failed, Luke 4. 1-13. During His lifetime, He ‘was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin’, Heb. 4. 15.
His life and service were perfectly balanced. Many people have good strong points in their character, but they will likely also have weak points. Our Lord Jesus had no weak points – everything about Him was good and perfect. He did not sin and He could not sin. He is the ‘blessed man’, Ps. 1. 1, and the ‘perfect man’, Ps. 37. 37.