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Wednesday
Dec242008

Answers to Quiz on Jesus As a Human Being

Question 1

1. With respect to his humanity, Jesus was just like us except that

a. his humanity didn’t limit him in any way.
b. his blood had special divine properties which gave it power to save.
c. he did not have a sin nature with sinful desires.
d. all of the above.
e. a and c above.

The correct answer is c. Hebrews 2 tells us that Jesus was like us in every way except sin. As the second Adam, he was a human being in the same condition Adam was before the fall.

Regarding wrong answer a: In respect to his humanity, Jesus had limitations or human weaknesses. He grew tired and hungry, just to name two of the most obvious limitations. Luke tells us that he grew in wisdom—he learned things in the same way the rest of us do—so in his human nature, there were limits to what he knew. I’ll have more to say on this specific point in the answer to the next question.

Regarding wrong answer b: This particular wrong answer is in response to a specific doctrine I come across now and then, which is the teaching that Christ’s blood as a material substance had divine properties, and that’s why it could save. I’ll have more on this, too, in the answer to the next question.


Question 2

2. Jesus’s human nature is
a. mixed with his divine nature.
b. distinct from his divine nature.
c. separate from his divine nature.
d. none of the above.
e. b and c above.

The correct answer is b. This question is straight up from the Definition of Chalcedon (or the Chalcedon Creed), which states that Christ is both human and divine,

in two natures without confusing the two natures, without transmuting one nature into the other, without dividing them into two separate categories, without contrasting them according to area or function. The distinctiveness of each nature is not nullified by the union. Instead, the “properties” of each nature are conserved and both natures concur in one “person” and in one reality.

In other words, the human nature and divine nature of Jesus are distinct without being mixed or separate.

This helps explain a little more how answers a and b in Question 1 are wrong. The properties of each nature—divine and human—are conserved, so with respect to his humanity, Jesus had human limitations, yet with respect to his divinity, he was not limited; and his blood, as part of his human body, was just regular old human blood. It’s special power to save come not from anything unique about the substance of the blood, but because Christ, as the perfectly obedient human being, represented sinners in his death.

By the way, it’s on the side of Christ’s humanity rather than his diety that conservative evangelical Christians are most likely to run into error. We are much more likely to think of his humanity as a kind of “diefied humanity” than we are to think of his divinity as a humanized divinity. This is, however, a heresy that was dealt with a long time ago, but still keeps popping up in subtle forms from time to time. This is most likely a result of wanting make sure we protect Christ’s full divinity—and that’s a noble aim—but his full humanity is just as important to protect as his full divinity. We’ll see the extent to which Christ’s full humanity is necessary to Christianity in Question 5.

Question 3

3. In his humanity, Jesus was
a. in one location at a time.
b. able to experience suffering and death.
c. learning things as he grew and experienced.
d. all of the above.
e. b and c above.

The correct answer is d. These are all limitations that came from being fully human. As a human being, Jesus is in one place at one time. At one moment, he was not in Jerusalem and also in Nazareth. In his divinity, of course, he is omnipresent. As a human being, he was capable of suffering and dying, as history shows. We are also told that he grew in wisdom and learned obedience, so we know that he learned things as he grew and experienced.

Question 4

4. In his humanity, Jesus had
a. a human will.
b. a human mind.
c. human emotions.
d. all of the above.
e. none of the above.

The correct answer is d. If Jesus was like us in every way, then he had all of these elements of humanity. He had a human will that had human (albeit not sinful) desires. He wanted food when he was hungry and rest when he grew weary. As already mentioned, he also had a human mind that learned as he grew. He had human emotions, too, so that, for instance, he was troubled and sorrowful before his crucifixion. It is because he had all of these things that the author of Hebrews can tell us that Jesus was in every respect tempted like we are (Hebrews 4:15). It is the completeness of his humanity that makes his perfect obedience throughout his life so remarkable.

Question 5

5. That Jesus was fully human means that
a. his obedience can be counted as our obedience.
b. he can be a mediator between humanity and God.
c. he could be a propitiatory sacrifice for human beings.
d. all of the above.
e. b and c above.

The correct answer is d. Romans 5 tells us that as a human being, Christ’s obedience was parallel to Adam’s disobedience. Through Adam’s disobedience, many were made sinners, while through Christ’s obedience, many are made righteous. His humanity was also necessary for Christ to be the one mediator between God and humanity. He can represent us to God because he is one of us (Hebrew 4:14-16 and 1 Timothy 2:5). It was also necessary for Christ to be one of us in order to act as our priest and make a propitiatory sacrifice for us. Hebrews 2:17 tells us that

he had to be made like [us] 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)

Here are three reasons why the doctrine of the humanity of Jesus is important to you as you live your life right now.

  1. The whole of your salvation hinges on Jesus being fully human. No one could be saved without Christ being human in exactly the same way we are human. How can we not be awe-struck by what Christ gave up for our sakes?
  2. The confidence with which we can ask for help from God in the various difficulties that arise in our lives comes because Christ our mediator understands by way of his fully human experience what we are going through.
  3. We know that none of our temptations are impossible to withstand, since Christ withstood them as a human being just like us. He felt the entire force of each temptation, because he was victorious over each one by enduring it to its end. Knowing this should give us strength to hold fast, with God’s help, when we are tempted to give up and give in to temptation.

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Reader Comments (1)

Thanks so much for posting this. I grew up in a semi-cult thing so sometimes it is hard for me to sort through the garbage that I learned as a kid. this was informative and clear, thanks so much.

December 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteranna

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