1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life — 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us.
One of the reasons John wrote his letter was to instruct the Christians who received and read his words. A significant part of his instruction came in the form of a response to false teaching about Jesus. This false teaching centered around the issue of the humanity of Jesus. The claim that Jesus was flesh and blood was being rejected, and John stepped in to set the record straight. And as an eyewitness of Jesus, he spoke with authority on the matter.
So John wrote his words in order to make it clear that Jesus was as much a human, just as much flesh and blood, as any human who ever lived. And in verses 1 and 2, we see him engage the senses to make his point. They “heard” Jesus. They “looked upon” Jesus. They “touched” Jesus. John was an eyewitness to a reality. That reality? Jesus was fully human.
The question for us is: Why is the humanity of Jesus important? Here are some reasons as to why the full humanity of Jesus is an indispensable fact for the Christian faith.
- Jesus is our representative in obedience. In order for us to have fellowship with God, all of God’s requirements of righteousness must be perfectly met. The reality is that none of us can perfectly meet all of those requirements. In the face of this reality, God sent his own Son who perfectly met every single requirement (Romans 8:1-4). And for everyone who belongs to Jesus, his perfect obedience is credited to all of them.
- Jesus is our substitute in death. Romans 3:23 states that “the wages of sin is death.” Because of sin, there is a price to be paid. The appropriate response from a holy God toward sin is wrath and condemnation. This is what all of humanity deserves. However, in an astounding move of grace, the Father sends his own Son to the cross. And on the cross the Son, Jesus, stands in our place and takes on himself our wrath and condemnation.
- Jesus is the mediator between man and God. A mediator is one who goes in between two parties in order to affect peace between them. Only someone who was fully human could do everything necessary to bring us into fellowship with God. Jesus, in his flesh and blood humanity, brings peace between man and God.
This is important because of this reality…If Jesus is not human then he is not the Savior. And the implications of this are terrible. If Jesus is not the Savior then we are responsible for perfect obedience to God’s requirements. We are shackled with the weight of having to live completely perfect lives, all the while knowing that we are incapable of living in such a way. If Jesus is not the Savior then we do not have peace God, but rather we are still in our sin which places us under His justified wrath and condemnation.
The issue of Jesus’s humanity is too important to miss or get wrong. John knew this, which is why he wrote with such intensity. He wanted to ensure that his readers knew the truth about Jesus. It was important then, and it is important now.
Jesus is the Savior. Jesus is our Savior. What a wonderful Savior he is!