I’ve heard that Jesus had the full human experience, that he knows everything we’ve been through because he’s been through it. How can this be true if he knew for a fact from the beginning that God exists, that heaven exists, what happens when we die, if our pets go to heaven, what is and isn’t a sin, how sin separates us from God, etc? Isn’t the doubt, confusion, hope and learning experience a large part of the human experience?
@Fritters Good question Jesus was tempted in the same way we are and He suffered in this life just as we suffer, but He did not experience the exact same temptations or suffering. For example, Jesus’ temptations were very targeted at His identity (see Matthew 4 below). But the basic temptation was the same—the devil tempted Jesus to doubt God’s word of blessing over Him as “My beloved Son” after John’s baptism (if you are the Son of God), to doubt God’s care for Him (the bread) and to take a shortcut to gaining a kingdom by bowing to the devil rather than God.
And guess what? Those are the same temptations we face! We are tempted to doubt God’s care for us, our identity as His children, and to take the shortcuts of this world (riches, fame, pleasure) rather than seeking the reward God promises us if we, like Christ, choose the narrow path and obey no matter the cost.
Jesus also learned from His earthly father how to be a carpenter, studied, etc. So I think we can begin to understand how Jesus relates to our temptations and suffering as we understand the details of His suffering and temptation were different, but the suffering and temptation He faced were similar in nature to ours.
Matthew 4:1-11 - Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
I find Jesus humanity shown no clearer than in the shortest verse of the Bible, “Jesus wept.” The context of this verse is very important. The Father told Jesus to delay going to see Lazarus before he died preventing Jesus from healing him. If Jesus was all knowing, then there would be no reason for Jesus to weep over His friends death. It is brought to light the immense complexity of Jesus inner life in how He subjugated His will to the Father. Jesus doesn’t say to the woman who told Him Lazarus is dead that all is well because He will bring Lazarus to life. Jesus lived by the guidance of the Holy Spirit perfectly. Jesus couldn’t tell the future any more than what the Spirit revealed to Him. Illustration of this is found in Matthew 15:21-28 where Jesus goes north, talks to one woman who He as a Jew had no business associating with, and then goes back south. He went there specifically for her as the Spirit willed. People often think less of Jesus humanity because He always did what was perfect, but they often neglect just how complex the situations were that Jesus had to solve and He did it by listening to the Spirit.
We’re never told WHY he wept, though. We don’t know if He knew Lazarus would be dead or not. While I like your response, the earlier response seems to make more sense to me. It’s hard to know exactly how much Jesus knew and what He didn’t. He may have been given as little input from the Holy Spirit as we sometimes feel or He may have known everything that was going to happen. I’m leaning toward the belief He didn’t have the complete human experience, though.
It seems simple when I start with the understanding that being GOD changes all the limitations and redefines any reality. When I see GOD as existing within the same confines that I do as a human, then His experience has to be different. Not because it is but because I can not see it beyond my own limitations. My understanding explodes and expands in great dimensions when I remember there are no limits to the one that is limitless. GOD can be anything and everything because GOD is all.
Excellent answer @SeanO. To suggest that Jesus was less human because the temptations He faced were not identical to ours fails to recognize that no two humans in the history of the world have ever faced the exact same “soup mix” of trials.
But I would even take Christ’s humanity a step further. Not only did Jesus perfectly experience what it was to be human - He’s actually the only completely “human” Being Who has ever lived!
Humans are beings created in the image of God for the purpose of reflecting His glory in this world. Sin mars that image, spoils the reflection, dulls the glory, and defeats the purpose. In other words, sin dehumanizes us. And the more that sin controls one’s life, the more “inhumane” that person becomes. Jesus is the only true “Son of Man” because His sinless character never compromised His perfect humanity. By contrast, the antichrist will be called the Beast because his sinless character will erase every vestige of his humanity.
But one of the reasons Jesus joined the human race was to restore our lost humanity. Philippians 2:6-8 shows how He voluntarily laid aside all His advantages of deity - His omniscience and omnipotence - and did life as one of us. All the miracles He performed and messages He preached were done, not in His power as the Son of God, but as the Son of Man working through the power of the Holy Spirit - the same Spirit born in the heart of everyone who trusts His gospel. That’s why Jesus could say in John 14:12 that those who believed in Him could do the same works He did, and even greater.
But the greatest work of the Holy Spirit isn’t what He does through us - it’s what He does to us. II Corinthians 3:18 says that the Spirit of the Lord is changing us into the image of the Lord. In fact, Romans 8:28-29 says that those who love the Lord are predestined to be conformed to the image of the Son. And since He’s the only perfect Man Who ever lived, then as we’re conformed to His likeness, we’re restored to our lost humanity.
So it was never Jesus Whose human experience was less - it was ours.
@jlyons Yes, we are to be “Christ ones” - people who reflect the perfect humanity of Jesus to a shattered and broken world by the power of God’s Spirit.