If someone were to ask me a series of true-false questions about Jesus I feel like I would get most of them correct.
True-Mary was Jesus' mother
True-Jesus was born in a stable
True-Jesus came to earth as a man, yet was still God
But if I had to describe something in detail about the nature of Jesus as a man, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to describe it in depth. That is until last night. Now, don't let me mislead you here, I'm not trying to win a bible trivia contest. I just wanted to admit that something HUGE clicked for me last night during week 8 of our Hebrews bible study.
I've always assumed (incorrectly) that Jesus had a man's body but was operating with God's brain. How else then could he live a perfectly blameless life, right? I don't know any human being who has ever been able to live a sin free life; there always seems to be something entangling us. The one person that this does not apply to is Jesus; he was wholly man (even his brain and thought process) and yet he remained sin-free his entire life. Now, let me back this up with a little evidence just so that we're scripturally on the same page.
Jesus was conceived in Mary's womb just as any other child would have been (Luke 1:26-35). Jesus had siblings and was son to a carpenter (Luke 2:4-12); he was was made fun of like a regular Jewish child (Matthew 13:55-56). He was circumcised and sacrifices were offered to God on his behalf (Luke 2:21-24). He wasn't born all knowing about scripture, but He grew in wisdom and stature, having to learn just like other children (Luke 2:51-52).
That Luke 2 reference is what really took my breath away last night. Jesus didn't just know everything. He was learning alongside other Jewish children. Now let's take this a step further. If it wasn't hard enough for Jesus (God of the universe) to simply be a human in every aspect, he also had to take on sin even though he was sinless. Wrap your human mind around that. Would you want to/be able to bear the weight of the world's sin? Once for all time. Completely.
I know that it is a stretch to imagine taking on the sin of the world so let's break that down a bit more. Look at Luke 22:39-44 or Matthew 26:36-44. Jesus knows what lays ahead of him and he is praying about it all night to God; he even tells his disciples "my soul is crushed with grief to the point of death." Let's apply that to us, yep, you and me. Have you ever been witness to sin or participated in it, and somewhere in the middle you were overcome with grief and disappointment because you realized the severity of what was going on. And I'm not even talking about something like murder. I distinctly remember a time in my sophomore year of college when I was out-and-out avoiding God on purpose. Refusing to pray and refusing to read the bible for months. The weight of putting God off was like getting hit with a load of bricks head on. We each have experiences with sin but realizing how heavy that sin can be around our neck can be staggering. Now imagine this. Jesus-wholly man. Never sinned. Perfect in every aspect. He took on the sin of the world, once for all time and for every person that will ever exist. Ah, now I get what he means when his soul was being crushed to the point of death. I imagine his earthly body having a hard time breathing. I imagine feeling like I was being torn apart.
Can you imagine any other human being doing this? I can't. While he was praying in the garden, he asked God for another "cup" but ended with a request for God's will to be completed in his life, not his own. In addition to not being able to fathom the weight of the world's sin on a perfect and blameless man, I also can't imagine myself asking God in this situation for his will to be completed over mine.
Do you get it now? Jesus-human being in every aspect, including his brain and thought process. He lived a perfect life, tempted in every way we are, yet remained sinless. This wholly human being took on sin. For us. You, me, my neighbors. It still takes my breath away just thinking about it. A man died for me. Jesus died for me.