As Mark describes the last week of Jesus’ life before his death, I’m struck by Jesus’ human-ness. He had a huge range of experiences and emotions: huge crowds, trick questions, little children, hard teaching and his looming death. He received the praise of crowds as he entered Jerusalem on a donkey, but he must have been thinking ahead to the ordeal that lay before him.
The next day he was hungry. After checking out a fig tree that had no fruit, he curses it! (Could we say that Jesus was hangry?!) There are various interpretations of the meaning behind his response, but today I’m just focusing on his humanity - he was hungry!
In another instance, he goes to the temple in Jerusalem and he is angry, overturning tables and driving out those who were taking advantage of worshippers.
For his followers, the humanity of Jesus was easy to accept. They walked and lived with him every day. It was more difficult to comprehend and accept that he was God. In the early centuries of the Church, however, this reality was flipped – they accepted Jesus’ deity but questioned whether he was fully human. The amazing truth is that he is fully God and fully human! What difference does that make for you and me? I believe we can accept and embrace our humanity because Jesus entered fully into that state. Rather than try to dismiss or “overcome” our human-ness (the emotions we experience, our limitations and weaknesses), we can let it tether us to the incarnate Christ who was fully human.
The early church had a prayer: “O Felix Culpa.” “O Happy Fault that merited so great a Redeemer!” Rather than seeing our weakness and our sinful tendencies as an obstacle between God and us, let’s look at them as a reminder of God’s mercy and grace. Let our troubles and afflictions be what turns our hearts and souls toward God. The Psalms are such beautiful expressions of our humanity. God himself becomes our strength and, “he remembers that we are dust.” Our creator knows that we are human!
Since we have a high priest who shared in our humanity, fully human in every way, we can now approach the throne of grace with confidence. So the next time you are frustrated or discouraged by your human-ness, let it be the very thing to turn you toward our merciful high priest, Jesus.
Foothills member, currently surfing for Jesus in Sydney, Australia! (Silly autocorrect – that was supposed to read “serving Jesus ...”)