Vintage Jesus, Part 2: How Human Was Jesus?

This twelve-part series outlines the “Vintage Jesus” sermons of Pastor Mark Driscoll. See part 1 here.

“The Church has had as much difficulty in showing that Jesus Christ was man, against those who denied it, as in showing that he was God.”—Blaise Pascal

Click here to watch the sermon “How Human Was Jesus?”

Traditional Christian creeds hold in tension the two truths that Jesus was both fully God and fully man. We must not prefer either truth over the other but maintain both vigorously. This is the most controversial and confusing teaching in all of Christianity, and it has resulted in many church splits throughout history. The groups deemed heretical (at least in part) because of their misunderstanding of this doctrine are the Docetists, Gnostics, Monophysitists, Eutychians, Ebionites, Nestorians, modalists, monarchianists, Sabellianists, Unitarians, Arians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Adoptionists, Kenotics, and Apollonarians. 

In the last sermon we considered the divinity of Jesus. Here we are going to consider his humanity.

Driscoll says that he is continually amazed when he receives questions such as “Did Jesus cry as a baby?”, “Did Jesus go to the bathroom?”, “Did Jesus ever tell a joke?”, “Did Jesus ever experience sexual temptation?”, and so on. Yes, yes, yes, and yes! Jesus was human!

Like all humans, Jesus went through puberty, got hungry and thirsty, asked questions, got stressed out, and showed a range of emotions. He had a mom, a dad, and several siblings, whom he probably didn’t get along with all the time. He needed to fight temptation. He needed to work on his relationships. And no, he didn’t wear a halo.

4:50: What did Jesus look like?

  • Nazirite vs. Nazarene
  • Computer-generated facial reconstruction by scientists
Historical face of Jesus

Using forensic anthropology, British scientists, assisted by Israeli archeologists, recreated what they believe is the most accurate image of the face of Jesus. Made for the BBC program “Son of God” in 2001.

  • Probably had dark skin; short, dark hair; calluses; and was physically fit
  • Probably looked normal

7:56: How did he live?

  • Had to learn how to walk, talk, read, and write
  • Grew physically and spiritually
  • Had at least two brothers
  • Loved his mama
  • Worked as a manual laborer for most of his life
  • Had male and female friends

11:38: Is he God or is he man?

  • ART REFERENCE: In Byzantine art, baby Jesus is depicted as a mini adult—fully mature in his features and proportions, but childlike in size. This is to emphasize his divinity, his coming into the world with all the knowledge and wisdom of an adult. Driscoll: It’s freakish!
Baby Jesus as little man

Our Lady of Vladimir, 12th-century Russian icon, Tretyakov Gallery.

Baby Jesus as little man

Cimabue, Madonna with Child, 1284.

  • Formation of rival sects based on this question

20:34: Council of Chalcedon

  • Doctrine of hypostatic union formalized

23:19: How could God become a human being?

  • Philippians 2
  • “Christ added to himself that which he was not and did not lose what he was.”—St. Augustine
  • Not an identity change, but a role change
  • He laid aside the independent exercise of his divine attributes.
  • A wrestling analogy
  • Jesus is not a man who became God, but the opposite.

33:09: Jesus was funny. (Related post: Jesus the Satirist)

  • Perfect sense of humor and perfect timing
  • Did a can-opener on old-man Jacob in the Old Testament
  • Laughed and told jokes: camel through the eye of a needle, speck-plank, “Rocky”

39:05: Jesus makes fun of people.

  • “You bag of snakes!”
  • “Your mom shagged the devil.”

40:17: Jesus was passionate.

  • Not the “lobotomized Lord” of popular tradition—always patient, always tolerant, never got mean, never got angry, never hurt anyone’s feelings –> wrong!
  • Tells people to repent
  • Tells people to quit their jobs and follow him
  • Picks a fight with some Sunday school teachers
  • Kills 2,000 pigs
  • Tells a demon to shut up
  • Kills a tree
  • Spits on a blind guy
  • Calls Peter “Satan”
  • Whips small business leaders

48:05: Jesus had some bummer days.

  • Refugee in Egypt
  • Poor, couldn’t afford to pay his taxes
  • Object of rumors, name-calling
  • Victim of several assassination attempts
  • Betrayed by his friend
  • Falsely accused
  • Tortured and killed
  • “There is no religion that is like Christianity, because there is no person who is like Jesus. Everything that we want to avoid is what Jesus chose for himself.”

52:47: Invitation: Be astonished by the humanity of Jesus—the man of laughter, man of sorrows, man of passion, man of sobriety.

Read part 3.

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1 Response to Vintage Jesus, Part 2: How Human Was Jesus?

  1. Pingback: Vintage Jesus, Part 1: Is Jesus the Only God? | The Jesus Question

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