He had a proven ancestral line. He was born like any other baby. He grew. He came into adulthood. He had skills. He had family. He had half siblings. These things are only true if His humanity is real.
This is compelling. Why is recognizing the humanity of Christ so important to Christians? That's a question Pastor Don Green will answer today on The Truth Pulpit as he continues our series, The Most Blessed Birth, and presents part one of the message titled, The Reality of Christ's Humanity. Hello again, I'm Bill Wright, and Don, folks often downplay this aspect of our Lord, don't they? Well, Bill, I suppose that's true, but it's certainly unfortunate to the extent that it is, because the humanity of Christ is the guarantee that we have that He understands us and sympathizes with us in our weaknesses, because He is shared in like human flesh with us. The humanity of Christ is, among other things, a promise that Christ receives us sympathetically when we come to Him in our time of needs. Friends, I hope you'll stay with us and learn more as we study God's Word today on The Truth Pulpit.
Thanks, Don, and friend, let's join our teacher now in The Truth Pulpit. We consider the reality of Christ's humanity, and I invite you to 1 John chapter 1 beginning in verse 1, and it's important for us to remember, to keep in mind that the humanity of Christ was necessary for our salvation. 1 John chapter 1, the first four verses say this, what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands concerning the Word of life, and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us. What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us, and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
These things we write so that our joy may be made complete. Now John opens up this letter reminding and instructing and telling his readers and by extension telling us that he is writing about things with which he has direct personal experience. That through the physical senses by which we all acquire knowledge and information and make judgments about reality, he says I have with my physical senses, I and the group of the apostles that preceded me, of which I am the last remaining member, we, the apostolic circle, we saw Him. We heard Him with our own ears.
We touched Him with our own hands. And from the very beginning of the ministry of Christ, the public ministry of Christ, John says we were with Him. And that's just such an important reminder for us as we live in the midst of an age which is just increasingly hostile to Christian thought, to Christian people, to Christian ethics. It's just so important for us to remember that what we believe and what we proclaim are not old wives' tales, they're not fables, they're not cleverly designed stories designed to amuse or entertain people with.
No, what we believe, what we know, what we rest our hope on are firmly grounded realities that occurred in time and space. Jesus Christ really did come from heaven to live on earth, and that is verified by hundreds of contemporary witnesses who saw Him, who heard Him, and who even saw Him in His resurrected state. 1 Corinthians chapter 15 says there were over 500 witnesses at the time. These things were undeniable. These things were verified by many.
And John goes immediately to that point as he opens his letter. Now as he was writing, he was writing to defend his readers from a developing heresy known as Gnosticism. And what Gnostics believed, without getting too technical here, is very simple, and you can see why the reality of Christ's humanity would be so important to John as he wrote. Gnostics believed that the material world was bad. The things that were tangible, the human flesh, all of that was evil, it was something that was to be avoided, and it was the realm of the Spirit that was holy and good. And so they had this antithesis, they had this dichotomy that was grounded in bad theology. And the implication of that for them was that Jesus Christ could not have been a real human being based on their prior presupposition that the material realm was morally bad. That meant that Christ could not possibly, according to them, Christ could not possibly have been a man because that would mean that He had contact with evil humanity, and therefore He was not a real human being, they said. Well how do you account for what people saw during the lifetime of Jesus then?
Well what these teachers developed was a heresy that is known as Docetism, and this is as technical as I'm going to get here tonight so just stay with me. Docetism teaches that Jesus only seemed to have a body, it's from the Greek verb doceto, to seem, to appear. Docetism teaches that it only seemed like Jesus had a human body, but He really didn't because if He did, He would have had contact with evil and that wasn't the case and so this was just all a big charade, it was an illusion, it wasn't what it appeared to be. And Jesus therefore used this illusion of appearing like a human being because He was a spiritual messenger who had come to enlighten them. Now you say that sounds kind of goofy and you'd be right, it is kind of goofy, it has nothing to do with the truth, but there's a persuasion about that.
It is the nature of the fallen human heart to love esoteric things, at least for some people, and to be drawn away into mystical spiritual realms where there's a secret knowledge to be had and all of that and so Gnosticism appealed to that love for secret knowledge that it just seems to be endemic to the fallen human condition. What John is doing here is he is taking a spirit-inspired cannon to blow that whole realm of thought apart and he's giving a forceful defense of the real humanity of Christ and he says, look, this was no illusion, this was not a figment of our imaginations. I, as part of the apostolic circle, we saw Him with our own eyes, we heard Him, we touched Him with our hands. Christ was no phantom, He was no figment of our imagination.
Remember, speaking in the sense in which John is communicating here and using the first person to do that, John's saying, remember that we were with Him for a period of three years. If this had been a figment of our imagination, it would have become obvious, but there were 12 of us appointed disciples who were with Him for 36 months and we walked with Him and we saw Him and we had every opportunity to observe Him personally and up close. We did and He was real, the idea that He was some phantom and that this was only an illusion is totally false and I'm here as an apostle, John says, to set the matter straight and that's what he does as he goes through the book of 1 John. Now what we want to do is to take a look at some of the gospel passages that would verify the assertion that John makes about the reality of Christ's humanity. And what this does is it gives us the fuller context of what we celebrate as we remember the birth of Christ, that His humanity as He was a babe in His mother's arm led to a real human life that developed that became an adult life and that His death on the cross for men was real and that it was a genuine human life that was offered on the cross for our salvation. And one of the things that I find really fascinating about this whole topic as you look at the humanity of Christ is to recognize that the proof of it is forceful in the incidental unassuming way in which human things are spoken about when it relates to Christ.
And so we see these things as we'll unfold them here as we go along. What's the first aspect of the human life of Christ that we could say? Number one, He had a human lifespan. What I mean by that is that He was born, He lived, and He died. And that's what we're talking about here. And how do we see this human lifespan? Well first of all we won't turn to these passages, not all the passages here this evening. But think about this.
And I think this is amazing. In Matthew chapter one and in Luke chapter three, you find records of the human ancestry of Christ. Luke tracing through the line of Mary going back to Adam himself. Matthew showing the royal lineage and ending with the supposed legal father of Jesus, not his human father, but ending in the line of Joseph. Matthew gives the legal line through Joseph.
Luke gives the physical connection through Mary. And all of this indicating that just like you and I have parents and grandparents and great-grandparents and going all the way back, however far you want to trace it, it was the same for Jesus. His identity with our humanity was like that. His mother had a recorded genealogy that could be traced. His legal father Joseph had the same thing through a different line. And this tells us that His humanity was real. He had a demonstrable ancestral line just like you and I do. Now secondly, not only did He have an ancestral line, there was the whole matter of His birth.
His birth. Look at Luke chapter two as we look at a familiar passage here, and we're not going to spend any time on any one particular point, just looking at an overview. Luke chapter two, I just want to point out one thing about the familiar birth narrative to you. In Luke chapter two, we'll pick it up in verse three, everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was with child. And of course, she was carrying our Lord Jesus at the time. There was a real pregnancy that was fulfilled, a supernatural one, a virgin conception to be sure, but she carried Him to full term like any other human mother does and carries her baby. She was with child. And then in verse six, you see while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and she wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the end. All I want you to see, we're keeping things really simple on the surface here, is that Mary gave birth to a real baby in the normal manner of the day. She gave birth to a real baby in the normal manner of the day.
What does that tell us for our theme? Is that Christ's humanity was real. This wasn't a figment. You know, think about it this way. This idea that Christ was an illusion, a phantom or something like that. Try telling that to Mary after she delivered Him. Those of you that have born a few children, one or two or three or however many, try telling Mary that that was a phantom that she delivered.
It's not going to happen. His birth was real. It's a sign of the reality of His humanity. Now, going along, and Scripture doesn't give us a full biography of Christ. It doesn't give us a year-by-year account of His life. That's not the purpose of the Gospels to do that as though they were a historical biography in the sense that we're used to reading today.
But it gives us enough to help us realize that, enough highlights, enough points to realize that there was a development in the life of Christ. And so we see His ancestral line, we see His birth, and then we see that He had normal human growth and development. Normal human growth and development. He developed physically. He developed intellectually. In His human nature, He grew physically. He grew taller. He grew stronger. His mind developed, and He increased in wisdom and the grace of God was upon Him. So we see Him growing from infant into adolescence.
Look at verse 42. When He became 12, they went up there according to the custom of the feast, and as they were returning after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but His parents were unaware of it. He was 12 years old.
He was traveling with His parents. This is not a phantom that's doing that. This is not a ghost.
This is not an apparition. This is a real human boy growing according to human development, and Scripture records that and shows us this development as we go along. And so you just see this picture of His growth. You get enough snapshots of these incidents during His youth to help you realize that He was growing like any other human baby did, and He grew in reality. Somewhere along the line, He learned carpentry from His father Joseph.
Not His biological father, but His legal father Joseph. Look at Mark chapter 6. Go back to the Gospel of Mark. Matthew, Mark, Luke. Go back to Mark in chapter 6, and now we are in the midst of His teaching ministry, and in Mark chapter 6 verse 1, we read this.
Jesus went out from there and came into His hometown, and His disciples followed Him. When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue, and the many listeners were astonished saying, where did this man get these things? And what is this wisdom given to Him and such miracles as these performed by His hand?
Notice the struggle that they were having. They said, who is this man? Where did He get this ability? He's a man.
How can He do miracles like this? And they go on and their perplexity deepens as they remember the history of His prior life. In verse 3 it says, is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?
Are not His sisters here with us? And they took offense at Him. The only point here being is that their struggle in understanding Him, their, at a human level, their struggle in believing what was happening was that they knew where He came from. They knew His family. And by every appearance, He looked like any other man. His humanity was full.
It was real. He had lived among them enough for them to say, I know His family situation. I know His occupation. I know who His Father is.
Everything that you and I would recognize about one another, knowing each other's something about employment, a little bit about where we came from, our hometowns, all of that was true of Jesus, simply indicating that these were aspects of the reality of His humanity. He had a proven ancestral line. He was born like any other baby, according to the manner of the day. He grew. He came into adulthood. He had skills. He had family. He had half siblings. These things are only true if His humanity is real.
This is compelling. And it's only the start of everything that we look at to know the reality of His human life. Now, what else can we say? Remember what we're laying out here is that He had a human lifespan, ancestry, birth, growth and development. Finally, we see that He had a human death in the manner of thousands like Him in the day.
What we find as we read the gospel accounts is that there was a finality to His human lifespan. Roman soldiers who were trained in this recognized His death, and when they pierced His side, what came out? Physical, bodily fluids flowed from His pierced sides. Phantoms and ghosts don't do that.
Fluid and blood doesn't come out of a ghost. It comes out of real humanity. And the piercing of His side in addition to fulfilling prophecy was an indication that His humanity was real. Now, the Roman soldiers weren't trying to prove that point in what they did.
They were just doing their job and making sure He was really dead and that there wasn't going to be any problems when He was supposed to be executed. But in their uncoerced way, God proved another way the reality and the genuineness of the humanity of Christ. And so, from ancestry to birth to growth through human life to occupation to family associations to recognition by His contemporaries as a man, even to His death, every aspect, you see these marks of the reality of His humanity. He had a genuine human lifespan that is recorded for us in Scripture. Now, so our Savior, our Lord Jesus, when we say that the Word became flesh, God became a man, God in human flesh, what we're saying is that this was a real, complete identification with our humanity. He had a real, complete, genuine human nature that was fully like ours except for the presence of sin. Everything else about His human existence was in perfect identity with ours.
Now, secondly, there's more that we can say about this. He had human needs. He had human needs during His time on earth.
Now, we're only going to touch on these issues ever so briefly, just again, just giving a sample, a taste of these things, and to recognize that the humanity of Christ is verified for us in Scripture by multiple perspectives, by many different ways that you look at it, at any way that you would want to look at it, you find the humanity of Christ affirmed in the clear teaching of Scripture. Now, as human beings, we have needs and Christ felt those needs Himself. First of all, and here you can turn to the Gospel of Matthew, if you would, Matthew chapter 4, the Spirit had led him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, and what happened there? Verse 2, after he had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, he then became hungry. He experienced hunger.
Verse 3, the tempter came and said to him, if you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread. He was tempted to disobey God by the devil. He experienced human hunger. He experienced temptation without falling into sin, but he experienced the sense of temptation, the appeal to sin against God was presented to him in his humanity. And turn to the Gospel of John chapter 4 and you'll see something else. He was tempted and he was tired.
He experienced human fatigue and experienced also human thirst, as we'll see here. John chapter 4 in verses 6 and 7, where he meets the woman from Samaria and discloses his messianic reality to her. In John chapter 4, verse 5, let's start there so we read the full sentence.
So he came to a city of Samaria called Sychar near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph, and Jacob's well was there. So Jesus, now remember I told you how incidental these testimonies to his humanity are? Here's just an incidental comment.
It almost seemed to be a throwaway statement, but it's not. Verse 6, so Jesus, being wearied from his journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. This one who at another time in his life had been hungry, had been tempted. Now we see him fatigued.
We see him tired. We see him feeling the effects of the journey of the day. And then in verse 7, we see that he's thirsty. And so we see that Christ is feeling the limitations, feeling the need of humanity just like you and I do.
So Jesus had a human life span and a real human birth. Already you realize this man was just like you and me minus the sin nature. Next time, Pastor Don Green will look at our Lord's emotions as he presents part 2 of the message titled, The Reality of Christ's Humanity. So join us then here on the Truth Pulpit.
But right now Don's back here in studio with some closing words. You know friend, I listen to a lot of Christian radio myself and I know how the game is played at this stage of the program. People have something to sell to you or they make a strong ask for your support.
Well that's not what I want to do today at all. I just want you to know that our perspective on this ministry is this. The Truth Pulpit exists for you, to minister God's word to you.
You do not exist in order to make this ministry possible. We trust the Lord for his provision and he's been very generous to us. So please know that we love you, that we want you to benefit from our program, and that we have no expectations of what you're going to do in response. We just want you to hear God's word, receive it, understand it, and obey it. And we trust that God will bless you and us as that process takes place. Thank you Don. And friend, we hope you'll visit thetruthpulpit.com soon. I'm Bill Wright. See you next time for more from the Truth Pulpit.
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