“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14).

Have you ever heard the story of “The Man and The Birds?” The author is unknown, but the story gained recognition when Paul Harvey read it every Christmas on his radio show in the mid-1960s. The story describes a man who just couldn’t put his faith in Jesus because the idea of God incarnate in human flesh was too unbelievable. It didn’t make any sense to him, and he couldn’t pretend it did. One Christmas he declined to attend the Christmas service with his wife, saying he would feel like a hypocrite.

While the man was home alone, a flock of birds lost their way in a snowstorm. One by one, they frantically tried to get inside his house by knocking themselves against his window. He had the idea if he could direct them into the warm barn, they would be safe. To that end, he tried every method he could to get their attention, but to no avail, as they were afraid of him and would fly away no matter what he did.  Finally, frustrated, he thought, “If I could only become a bird like them, I could communicate in their language, and they wouldn’t be afraid of me.”

At that moment, the church bells began ringing. The greater meaning of what he’d said suddenly became clear. Jesus became a man to explain who God is and show us the way to Him. He not only shows us the way to safety, He is our salvation.

“No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:18).

I suppose it’s more difficult to believe that Jesus was fully man than it is to accept He is fully God. We read about the miracles He performed, we know He had knowledge that only God could have, and we have faith in the fact of His resurrection from the dead. Believing He is truly God isn’t a problem, but we struggle to connect with the idea that our Savior also became fully man – clothed in human flesh, with all our limitations.

Scripture is replete with many verses that affirm Jesus’ humanity. By exploring some of them, we will discover why it’s so important to our faith to accept this truth: Jesus was the unique God-man, fully human and fully divine.

1. Jesus Became Flesh in Order to Defeat Death

“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives” (Hebrews 2:14-15).

God is Spirit (John 4:24) and cannot die. Yet, according to God’s law, the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Since all men sin (Romans 3:23), all men are destined to die. In fact, before salvation, all men are already spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1), and the moment we are born, the countdown to our physical death begins. Death is the enemy that humans can’t defeat, no matter how advanced our medical knowledge becomes.

Jesus came in the flesh to die in our place; He had to have a human body subject to physical death in order to pay our sin debt. He was resurrected in a physical body, and still has a glorified, physical body today. After His resurrection, He confirmed this when He told His disciples, “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39).

2. Jesus Became Flesh to Identify with Our Human Frailties

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).

“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God;’ for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone” (James 1:13).

Jesus understands what we think and feel because He was human just as we are. He was born as a baby and grew up as a child just like we did (Luke 2:7,40,52). He experienced hunger and thirst and grew tired from walking (John 4). He felt things deeply; He experienced times that were troubling to His soul and spirit (Matthew 26:38, John 11:33-35). He wept (John 11:35). He had a will that was separate, yet perfectly obedient in alignment to the Father’s will (John 6:38, Matthew 26:39). Because He was fully human, He can identify with and have compassion for all the things that make us human.

While Jesus did not have a sin nature, being fully divine, He did walk in our sinful world and He experienced temptation because He was fully human. Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, touching every felt need and human weakness known to men – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Jesus understands what it means to be tempted, but He also shows us how to overcome it. He knows us intimately and personally and invites us to draw near to Him without reservation.

3. Jesus Became Flesh to Fulfill the Demands of God’s Laws for Humanity

“For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3).

“Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified” (Galatians 2:16).

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:17-18).

Humans with a sinful nature could never keep the Law; our flesh is too weak, yet God demands the Law to be fulfilled. Jesus became flesh to fulfill the Law in our place. Jesus kept the Law perfectly; He was without sin. He died an innocent man, not guilty of any crime or trespass, and therefore, was the perfect, sinless sacrifice, whose blood was acceptable to God. When we place our faith in Him, He takes our “law-breaking record” on Himself, and places His perfect, sinless record on our account, making us righteous before God.

“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14).

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

4. Jesus Became Flesh to Fulfill Prophecy

“Concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh” (Romans 1:3).

“’Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The Lord our righteousness’” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

The Old Testament prophecies spoke of a Messiah to come – a ruler who would descend from King David’s lineage and rule forever. Jesus had to come as a human baby, from the tribe of Judah to fulfill those prophecies. It’s been estimated there are more than 300 Messianic prophecies in Scripture that Jesus fulfilled when He became flesh and dwelt among men.

5. Jesus Became Flesh to Offer His Body as a Sacrifice

“For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, ‘Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, but a body You have prepared for Me; in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure. ‘Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (In the scroll of the book it is written of Me) to do Your will, O God.’ After saying above, ‘Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure in them’ (which are offered according to the Law), then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will.’ He takes away the first in order to establish the second. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:4-10).

“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh” (John 6:51).

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

If the blood of goats and bulls could take away sin, there would have been no need for Jesus to come as a man. But animal sacrifices were never intended to bring salvation; they were simply a picture, a means of obedience that allowed God to overlook sin until the perfect sacrifice of His Son was complete. Jesus had to have a human body; His perfect blood had to be shed to atone for the sins of the world.

6. Jesus Became Flesh to Show Us the Way to Live

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5-7).

When Jesus came as a man, He gave us a perfect example to follow. Scripture tells us much about the words He used, His attitudes toward life, the world, sin, and His love and compassion for all people. He demonstrated how to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. He showed us how to live sacrificially, not seeking our own interests, but regarding others as more important than ourselves. His human life was the perfect pattern of how to live life as creations made in the image of God.

Is It Important to Believe That Jesus Was Fully God, and Fully Man?

It’s the difference between faith and apostasy.

“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (1 John 4:2).

“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist” (2 John 1:7).

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Ascent/PKS Media Inc.

Author Sheila Alewine is a pastor’s wife, mother, and grandmother of five. She and her husband lead Around The Corner Ministries, which serves to equip Christ-followers to share the gospel where they live, work and play. She has written several devotionals including Just Pray: God’s Not Done With You YetGrace & Glory: 50 Days in the Purpose & Plan of God, and her newest one, Open The Gift, as well as Going Around The Corner, a Bible study for small groups who desire to reach their communities for Christ. Their ministry also offers disciple-making resources like One-To-One Disciple-Making in partnership with Multiplication Ministries. Sheila has a passion for God’s Word and shares what God is teaching her on her blog, The Way of The Word. Connect with her on her blogFacebook, and Instagram.