Jesus is permanently human
Yesterday in a Bible study I first heard the concept spelt out that Jesus clothed Himself with humanity and will forever never change that. Jesus went to heaven with the very same body that was raised out of the tomb with one important difference, it was now incorruptible (I Cor. 15:42-49).
When God made man, He made him in His own image. Since God doesn’t have a body it can’t mean a physical resemblance but a sharing of God’s capacity to relate to Him and to one another and to appreciate the difference between right and wrong.
When Jesus came to the earth He set aside His disembodied divine state: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Phil. 2:6-10 NIV).
Jesus was, and always will be divine but once He took on humanity, He will never discard it. Once He took on the fellow feelings with humanity, He retained them so that He can forever relate to us: “For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb. 2:17-18).
I find it very comforting to know that I have Jesus in heaven who comes alongside me when I sin. He understands. When we feel righteous indignation, so does He. When we feel suffering, so does He.
When I consider Jesus speaking on my behalf in heaven, mediating for me to God, I think I am beginning to understand what Job anticipated: ”Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend” (Job 16:19-21).
We have an advocate in heaven, our friend (I John 2:1), and in that knowledge we can relax. We can let Jesus wash us with His humanity – compassion when we fail and unity in rage against all that grieves us.