“Blasphemy!” you say. Or, “I’m pretty sure that’s wrong” (if you tend to be more polite). How could I possibly say such a thing?
It’s simple. Because Jesus Christ was a human being.
Jesus was sinless. Jesus is divine. True and true. Jesus was also fully human. Of course, His total divinity and total humanity coexisting is a mystery I’ll never fully grasp.
Unfortunately, sometimes I lose sight of the splendor of Christ’s humanity when I think of Him as “perfect.” In fact, one of the main reasons God became a man is so we can relate to Him better. I don’t know any perfect humans; so if Jesus were perfect how could I relate to him?
Just to be clear, when I use the word “perfect” I’m speaking outside of just the moral realm. For example, I can imagine physical perfection, mental perfection, emotional perfection, and social perfection. But none of those forms of perfection are ascribed to Christ in the Christian tradition. Yes, while walking among us Jesus never sinned. So He was morally perfect (or perfectly obedient). But I think our use of the word “perfect” today implies a lot more about Jesus than necessary.
For starters, we don’t know for sure what Jesus looked like (it’s not like He took a selfie). I can’t think of one Gospel passage that describes Christ’s handsomeness, beauty, or physical perfection. It’s entirely possible that Jesus had nasty hair, crooked teeth, a bulbous nose, and a unibrow. He could have had bad breath, hammer toes, bad posture, and maybe a bit of a potbelly.
Maybe Jesus was irritable in the morning, and gassy in the evenings. Perhaps he had a tendency to laugh at funny things that popped into his mind when He was supposed to maintain a serious demeanor in the Temple. Maybe He was the guy among his friends who tended to overuse inside jokes and ruin them. Maybe he really liked pounding the goatskin bongos but was terrible at it because He had no rhythm and nobody had the heart to tell him.
What kind of I.Q. does a morally perfect person have? Would Jesus have been able to performed advanced calculus? Or was He better at languages. He did each in the temple at age twelve, so we know He was wise. But maybe He was bad at tests and would’ve gotten a low SAT score, or regularly confused the words “there” and “their.”
Of course, I’m only imagining here…
But none of my imaginings make Jesus sinful, or less than God. To me they make Jesus more endearing and relatable. Jesus wasn’t a floating spirit who just looked human. He had a body and a brain; and I’m sure neither one were perfect (in His humanity). Even better, His imperfection suggests a God who is so humble that He would exist in less-than-perfect human form in order to reach out to His beloved children.
God didn’t just float down to earth to teach us a few things. He became a man. 100% human. A genuine dude.
He was tempted like us, He suffered like us, and ultimately He died for us. So when I flounder about my daily business in a less-than-perfect way (like when I sneeze and booger lands on my lip), I can trust that God understands because He’s been there.
That sounds like a God I can relate to. That sounds like a God I can love.