Q22: Why must the Redeemer be truly human?

A: That in human nature he might on our behalf perfectly obey the whole law and suffer the punishment for human sin; and also, that he might sympathize with our weakness. (Crossway 2017)

 Scripture Reference 
Hebrews 2:17 “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” (ESV)

The Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this truth mean in my relationship with God?

Jesus becoming human, the Word made flesh, is one of the single greatest acts of love and mercy in all of history. Why? Because without this, without Jesus being truly human, salvation and the forgiveness of sins would not be possible. The Redeemer must be human, as the question states, because this is the only way for salvation to come to our lives. This allowed Jesus to live perfectly in place of our imperfection. It allowed Jesus to suffer the punishment for our sin instead of our suffering for what we did. It allowed him to be the perfect sacrifice when we could never be. And this allowed the penalty and punishment of sin to fall upon him and not on those who deserved it.

His humanity met all the requirements needed for salvation to be achieved and given to all those who believe. Because of his humanity, we are made new through faith in him. We are forgiven. We are granted eternal life. We are brought back into a relationship with God. Because of his humanity we can know God in a more personal and intimate way. We find Jesus as a High Priest, one going before God on our behalf, who is able to understand our lives and gives us both his example and strength to live in his ways. All of this is the result of Jesus being truly human. It is a picture of his love for us expressed in his willingness to step from heaven to earth so we can one day step into heaven with him.

  • John1:1,14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”(ESV)
  • Galatians 2:21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” (ESV)
  • Hebrews 2:17-18 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (ESV)

The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this truth mean in my relationship with humanity?

One of the things we see through the humanity of Jesus is a living picture of God’s original design for men and women, what it means to be human. As Thabiti Anyabwile writes in the New City Catechism commentary, “What we see in Jesus is true humanity.” (Crossway, pg. 102) Jesus shows us what it means to live the life we were designed to live, and one major part of this is how we are to love others. When Jesus was asked what was most important, he said to love God and to love others. Jesus loved God and others perfectly. What does this mean for us? We can look to his example and seek to follow his ways.

  • Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (ESV) 

Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?

We can put this truth into action by looking to Jesus as both the only way for salvation and the example of what it means to live the abundant life he promises us. We can ask ourselves: who or what am I trusting in to be saved? If the answer to that question is anything other than Jesus, we are looking in the wrong place. Jesus is the only way to be saved from sin and brought into eternal life. We can also ask ourselves, does my life reflect the life of Jesus in how I live and love others? Jesus is the picture of what real, abundant life looks like. His humanity paints a picture we can emulate. The way he loved others is the way we should love others. Take some time this week to reflect on these two questions. Ask God to reveal the true answers. Listen to what the Spirit says to you and then ask him to help you follow the way of Jesus!

  • John 13:34 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (ESV)
  • John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”(ESV)
  • Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”