Let‚??s consider some reasons why Jesus Christ had to be a true man. In Scripture, there are many reasons. (I am indebted to Wayne Grudem for the following categories, found in his Systematic Theology.)
1. For representative obedience. In the first Letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes how the resurrection of Christ is the only basis for our hope in this life. (See point 6 below for more on the resurrection.) In the process, he calls Christ the ‚??last Adam‚?Ě and the ‚??second Man.‚?Ě His point is that because Adam‚??s disobedience, which plunged our race into sin, was committed by a man, the corresponding ‚??act of righteousness‚?Ě (Romans 5:18) had to be the action of a man. There is a sense in which Christ re-enacted the original testing of man, and passed the test (unlike the first Adam). This means that mankind is actually rescued by a member of our own human race.
2. To be a substitute sacrifice. Closely related to the first point is the fact we needed a Substitute to suffer for our sins, in our place. God foreshadowed this fact in many ways to the Jewish nation by the system of animal sacrifices. However, as the author of the Letter to the Hebrews says, ‚??it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins‚?Ě (Heb 10:4). In fact it was a member of our own human race that spilled his own blood as a sacrifice for us. ‚??Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people‚?Ě (Heb 2:17).
3. To be the one Mediator between God and Man. While we may believe, in our ignorance, that approaching the immortal God directly is the best way, the Scriptures are much more careful. In fact, the Old Testament has many stories of people afraid to even speak to God, much less hear his voice, because they were so sinful and un-Godlike. The Father, in his wisdom, solved this problem by sending his Son as a true man, who could be understood as both a man and as revealing God. Like any mediator, Christ is our representative towards God, and He is also God‚??s representative towards us. ‚??For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus‚?Ě (1 Tim 2:5).
4. To fulfill God‚??s original purpose for Man to rule over creation. When God created Adam and Eve, He gave them a command: ‚??Fill the earth and subdue it: have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth‚?Ě (Gen 1:28). Sadly, this command has never been fulfilled completely, because Adam and Eve sinned and lost much of their authority over the earth, which was now cursed by God (Gen 3:17-19). But we are promised that Christ will one day assume full rulership of this world. As God, He already rules and reigns, but as man, He will one day fulfill the commandment God gave to Adam. ‚??And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb [Jesus Christ] shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him‚?Ě (Rev 22:3).
5. To be our example and pattern in life. This needs no explanation. By walking on earth as a man, Jesus Christ showed us how all men should walk. We all understand that if we want a picture of what a perfect life would be, we look at the life of Jesus. How much less would we understand about a perfect life before God, if it had not been showed to us as an example by One who was a true member of our race?
6. To be the pattern for our redeemed bodies. As we said before, the resurrection of our bodies is the true hope for every Christian. A disembodied life in heaven is not promised in Scripture; instead, we are taught to believe that our human bodies have great value before God, and will be raised and will live eternally. Once again, we have Jesus Christ as our great example. He did not appear to his disciples after the crucifixion as a disembodied spirit, a vision, or some other mystical appearance. Instead, He proved that He was resurrected in a real body by showing them the wounds of the crucifixion (John 20:27), by asking them to touch him, and by eating fish in front of them (Luke 24:39-43).
7. To sympathize as high priest. Jesus represents his people before the Father as high priest, always interceding for them (Heb 7:26). By becoming a human being, Jesus for all eternity knows how it was to be tempted as a human. ‚??For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted‚?Ě (Heb 2:18). ‚??For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need‚?Ě (Heb 4:15,16).
I hope that this quick summary will inspire you to study your Bible, and see if these things are so. If you are a Christian, then praise God for his wisdom in saving you through a man, and redeeming and recovering His creation story which He has never abandoned. There is a great and eternal hope for you, living in a permanent, resurrected human body like your Lord!
If you are not a Christian, then consider: God has worked in your life, putting the Gospel before you. In your community, and by this article, ‚??Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified‚?Ě (Galatians 3:1). The Father has set forth the Son as the way that He will ‚??save His people from their sins‚?Ě (Matthew 1:21). Will you answer his call? This life is not about your ‚??spirituality,‚?Ě and the next one is not about strumming harps in the clouds. It is about your physical human, life, now and forever. A savior who is God and Man is the only kind of Savior you are offered.
And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:40)