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Why Jesus?

Part 2: "As a Man"

Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church

(6/2) The big question today is… How human was he?

Last week we looked at the question "Is Jesus the only God?" And the answer was "yes". Jesus repeatedly says that He was God, and they put him to death for that very fact, and he proved it through his miracles, the greatest of which included his own resurrection.

This week we look at the other side of Jesus’ life and we ask "How human was Jesus?" Was he really someone who lived a life like ours, or was his life totally different?

Well the Bible says in 1 Timothy 2:5 says that there is "one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus."

So to mediate between us and God and to reconcile us to God, Jesus needed to be fully God and fully man. If he’s not fully God, he can’t connect us to God. And if he’s not fully man, he can’t represent mankind. And so Jesus was and is fully God, and fully man. Jesus was one person with two natures. He possessed both. Fully God, fully man… divine in the one person.

Martin Luther, the great reformer, said, "You should point to the whole man, Jesus Christ, and say ‘That is God.’ The man, Jesus Christ, is God."

And so we believe that is clearly the biblical teaching.

This is exactly what is said, for example, in John 1:14… that "The Word"… that is Jesus… "became flesh." That’s exactly what this means… He came as a man.

The apostle John wrote in 1 John 4:2, "This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God"

The question then becomes, "How could this happen? How could God enter into human history as a person to live a life so shockingly like ours?"

One of the key texts in the Bible that explains how this came about is in Philippians, Chapter 2. There, in verses 5 through 11, it explains how Jesus is God become a human being. It says it this way in verse 5…

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death —
even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:5-11).

Jesus Christ, "Who, being in very nature God…" made himself nothing… took the nature of a servant… was made in human likeness… and found in appearance as a man. He is the all powerful, all knowing, all present, unchanging God, but he set those qualities aside to live a human life… to identify with us... in humility.

Jesus came and lived a life just like we live our life, by the power of the Holy Spirit. He needed to learn. He needed to work. He needed to pray. He needed to read his Bible. He needed to worship. He needed to work on his relationships. He had the same kind of things to do in his life that we have to do in ours, yet He never ceased to be God.

I. Jesus had a great sense of humor.

Now this leads us to question... How human was Jesus? Was he really a man? And what kind of man was He?

You may not have known this but Jesus was funny. Now some of you have never heard this… but our Creator has a great sense of humor. And maybe you’ve been in the wrong church... you’ve been told that Jesus was very religious and serious… and I think that’s funny. Because Jesus had a sense of humor.

Some of you may have been disillusioned by the church… you may have rejected Jesus thinking that he’s boring… thinking that to die and go to heaven is like dying and going to the eternal dentist. So you’re like, "No, thank you. I’ll go to hell. I think the head-banging rockers are going to be there anyways, there’ll be a mosh pit, so I will go to hell, there’ll be lots of beer, and it will be fun." That’s the general impression isn’t it? Heaven is for boring people and hell is where all the action is, because Jesus is dull and boring, right? But that is a lie from the pit of Hell… that is a false impression of Jesus.

Now let me just say this. Do you really think that Jesus went camping with 12 guys for three years and never told a joke or never laughed at one? Have any of you guys ever been camping or fishing with your buddies… you know when there are no women around… and you can have the "pull my finger" marathon? You know what I’m talking about?

Now I am not saying that Jesus played pull my finger... I’m just saying it’s possible.

How do you hang out with 12 guys, mainly blue-collar, working class guys, for three years and not tell a joke or laugh at one? Can you image one of the guys telling a joke and Jesus is like, "Knock it off... We’re holy... This is serious business… I won’t tolerate that foolishness."

I can’t image the disciples hanging out with a guy like that. You know that guy never gets invited to any parties, right? Not like Jesus did. Jesus was always being invited to parties. And I believe Jesus had a perfect sense of humor and perfect timing for a punch line. As Ecclesiastes says "There is a time… to laugh" (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

And you know religious people often just don’t get this. They see Jesus as super serious. But you know, I wonder if this isn’t what Jesus hinting at when he said "unless you change and become like little children" (Matthew 18:3). You know maybe you and I need to lighten up a little bit. Maybe we need to come to the Bible and say, "There is a little bit of comedy in here," because there are parts of the Bible, especially in the ministry of Jesus, that if you don’t see the humor… if you don’t understand the comedy… it makes no sense at all.

II. Jesus experienced a full range of emotions.

I’ll give you a couple of examples. Jesus says, "It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:24). And all the religious folks with their education… their big books… and no sense of humor are sitting there going, "Hmm. How do you get a camel through the eye of a needle?"

You don’t… it’s a Hebrew joke. That’s a funny, right? It’s just like you don’t get a Dodge Caravan in your pocket. I mean that’s the point. It’s a joke. Like the whole plank in the eye trick. Jesus says, "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye" (Matthew 7:3-5). How do you get a two-by-four in your eye? You don’t unless you’ve had an industrial accident, right? You don’t… It’s a joke.

And so Jesus tells some jokes, right? I mean we’re supposed to laugh… we’re supposed to grin… we’re supposed to chuckle… but sometimes we just get way too serious. You know some of us have this sort of Spock type of Jesus… this very logical… this one eyebrow lifted Jesus. And the comedy goes right by them. But you know Jesus also makes fun of people… the religious people. And I love this. He makes fun of some guys for tithing out of their spice rack. "Oh yeah, you guys gave me ten percent of your "mint, dill, and cumin" and you’re jerks (Matthew 23:23). I’ve got enough mint. I’d like to have a few less jerks."

And then He says, "You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel" (Matthew 23:24). Anybody smiling?

So He looks at the Pharisees and he calls them "snakes", which they didn’t think was in the least bit funny (Matthew 23:33). But… everybody else did, because nobody ever made fun of the Pharisees. (The disciples are bent over laughing so hard at this point) The Pharisees they were the religious ones… they were the serious ones… they were the fundamentalists without the fun. And so what do you do with serious, devout, intense, religious people? You poke fun at them like Jesus did. That’s biblical. You try to make them smile. Jesus had a great sense of humor.

When I started reading the Bible I discovered a God who lived a full, and vibrant, and emotional life. I saw our God in a new light. I got a fresh perspective of Jesus. And I am hoping that you’ll see some things about the funny, passionate, emotional Jesus that may challenge you in your belief.

For example in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus starts off in Chapter 1 saying, "Repent." You know those guys at the mall or down at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore with the big sandwich boards yelling at people? Jesus was one of those guys shouting "Repent" (Mark 1:15). Then he moves on and he tells these other guys, "Quit your jobs and follow me." He tells a demon to "shut up" (Mark 1:25). Then he turns and heals a leper and says, "You shut up too" (Mark 1:44)

So, we begin to see a different side of Jesus… we read that he’s "angry and deeply distressed" (Mark 3:5). And then His Mom comes over and his buddies say "Hey Jesus, your mom is here" (Mark 3:31-35). He says, "You know what? I’m busy right now." And so he ignores his mom and like James Dobson and the Hebrew "Focus on the Family" are flipping out. They’re like, "Oh my... Jesus isn’t being nice to his mom"

Or how about in Mark Chapter 5, this is really bad… in Chapter 5… he kills 2,000 pigs (Mark 5:13). Can you imagine the animal rights activists? You know PETA? Imagine the headlines, "Jesus kills 2,000 pigs."

And then He moves on and in Chapter 6. He offends the people of his hometown (Mark 6:3). The disciples "thought he was a ghost" (Mark 6:49). He doesn’t go to any sensitivity training but instead in Chapter 7 he goes on a rant saying, "You guys are a bunch of hypocrites" (Mark 7:6-15).

I love Chapter 8. He feeds 4,000 men (Mark 8:9), spits in a blind guy’s eyes (Mark 8:23), and calls Peter "Satan" (Mark 8:33). You know that’s different right there. That’s a different Jesus than I was expecting. He spits. Poor guy didn’t even see it coming… Some of you… you’ll get that in the car on the way home.

Here’s a funny one. Jesus tells the disciples, "Go into town and get that guy’s donkey" (Mark 11:2). The guy comes out. "What are you doing to my donkey?" they tell him, "Jesus needs it." Think about that. After lunch, you go out to your car and there’s 12 guys in sandals and beards, standing around your car. One guys got a coat hanger in your window. And so you’re like, "What are you doing?" And they’re like, "Oh, the Lord needs it. You’ll have to get a ride home."

Okay right... it’s not stealing. He owns everything right?

And then he kills a fig tree (Mark 11:14). Can you imagine the environmentalists on this one? The protestors shouting and waving banners… "Jesus is a tree murderer! He killed a fig tree" (vs. 20).

And then he goes in and he goes to the temple, and the business leaders are so corrupt, he flips over their cash registers and he drives them out with a whip. Have you ever felt like doing that? You ever had that kind of customer service where you’re like, "Boy, I wish I was Jesus. I’d whip up on some people right now!" I was on the phone with Virgin Mobile the other day and the thought crossed my mind as it felt like I was on hold for 15 minutes.

And so my point is this… sometimes we become so familiar with the Jesus of the Thomas Kinkaid paintings, the meek and mild Jesus of the old Wesley hymns, and even the feminine looking Jesus in some pictures with the Peter Frampton hair, that sometimes we cease to be surprised by the man who’s actually in our Bible. Jesus Christ lived a real human life. He experienced a full range of emotions. And you and I don’t need to feel as if to be angry, to be disappointed, frustrated, or stressed is bad. All of those emotions can be known and experienced in a way that is perfect, without sin, and that is exemplified by our Lord Jesus, including sorrow, hardship, grief, morning, loss, pain and just plain old bummer days.

III. Jesus is able to sympathize with our weaknesses.

You see Jesus is not a God that stands back and says, "Good luck, because I’m not getting involved in that mess. You’ve made your bed… You’ve made the mess… You fix it." No… our God is completely opposite. In answer to "Why Jesus?" Our God comes into human history, He gets his hands dirty, He suffers and dies, He lives a full human life with the full range of human emotions. And Jesus does that because he desires to relate to us… to identify with us… and not only that… but he desperately loves us. And because of all that, when we’re struggling… when we’re hurting… when we’re failing… when we’re dying… Jesus Christ is the only one who can help us, because He is the only One who has ever been there and done that. No other religion offers a Savior who has experienced life and gone through to the other side.

Hebrews chapter 4, verses 14 through 16 says it this way: "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

I know that for some of you here today, that there are times when it feels like your faith is falling out of your hands. That it’s hard to hold onto the faith that you once professed. You’re tempted to sin and doubt God. Your life is hard. You’re flat broke. You’re in constant pain. Someone you love has died. Life has become difficult, harsh, and painful. And the faith that you once professed is slipping through your fingers.

And so the million dollar question is, "How can that be prevented?"

Well the Bible says, "We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness…" (Hebrews 4:15). So when you’re weak and burned out... When you’re busted, tired, frustrated, and you’re just sick of it. Jesus is the answer. Jesus can sympathize with us in our weakness. He is the answer to our weakness, our brokenness, and our disillusionment. Jesus is the answer because he can sympathize with us. He’s experienced all that we’ve experienced and more. He’s conquered life and death. He’s crossed to the other side. And he’s sitting on the sunny side right now.

So the Bible tells us, "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

You see Jesus is on his throne… in one hand he has grace… and in the other hand he has mercy. And this is what he says… "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). So if you’re here and you’re feeling tempted… if life has become difficult, harsh, and painful… if the faith that you once professed is slipping through your fingers. Run to Jesus… run… because he sympathizes… he understands… and he gives mercy and grace.

As we close, I invite you to Jesus… to approach the throne of grace with confidence. Go to Jesus and receive mercy and grace. Be saved by the mercy and grace of Jesus. He alone can give it because of his sinless life, his substitutionary death, and his literal resurrection. You see He lived the life that we couldn’t live. He died the death we should have died. He rose to give us forgiveness, to give grace, and to give us the mercy that we don’t deserve. There is no one like Jesus. No one. That’s why we love Jesus!

And so when we’re ready, we’re going to celebrate the Lord’s Supper together. We’re going to approach the throne of grace with confidence. We’re going to remember Jesus’ body and blood through which comes that grace and mercy that helps us in our time of need. Let’s run to him with confidence, because it is Christ alone who understands and can sympathize with us. Let’s close in prayer.

God bless you!

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