One of the questions I used to ask students in a Jesus class was “Do you think Jesus made mistakes learning Hebrew or mathematics or Israelite history?” This question, so I learned, was a good way to get students to think about the humanity of Jesus. It was also a good way to get some riled up. It was also a good way to get students to think about how the deity of Christ and the humanity of Christ interface. These discussions led me to a firm conclusion: most Christians who affirm the deity of Christ have no idea how to think about Jesus as a human. For this reason I like what Dan Russ has done in his new book Flesh-and-Blood Jesus.
Is there a rise in interest in the humanity of Jesus? What are the pros and cons of this rise? Do you think most Christians embrace the full humanitiy of Jesus?
Here you will find a sustained, gentle, accessible, and reflective attempt to explore not only that Jesus was human but what Jesus’ humanity can teach us about living as humans. Most don’t want to think about this topic, but Russ convinces me that it can be done — that it can be done without doing too much speculation and can be done in a way that does not become sentimental.
His topics: Jesus as a “manger wetter” (one I had not heard of), finding our place in this world, living with mother’s guilt, the problem of authority, the failures of Jesus (without sinning — just in case you are tempted to toss down your hat and stomp on it), Jesus’ need for friends, the dysfunctions of Jesus’ family, Jesus and sex, good and angry, doubt and fear, how to die, scarred for life, and learning to eat between meals.
I’d recommend this book for local church Bible studies, for small groups, and for lay folks who want to begin to explore the humanity of Jesus.