Have you ever thought about what it must have been like for Jesus to be on the earth? I had rarely thought about it except for what we’re told in Philippians 2:6-8: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. I can’t imagine how humbling it was for God to become Man . . . and serve mankind . . . and die for us.
I had never thought about how hurtful and sad it must have been for Him—holy and pure—to be the only perfect Person on the earth. What was it like to walk the streets of Nazareth and hear nasty language and see sin in the lives of everyone around Him? He was perfect Love, yet He was also Man. He observed how sin was imbedded in people’s hearts. It was evidenced in their actions and talk.
Knowing He would die to free them from sin must have been bittersweet. He would do it for love, but on the earth, He would suffer from the sin around Him.
- The people in Nazareth said He was illegitimate. (John 8:41)
- His brothers didn’t believe in Him—until after the resurrection. (John 7:5; Acts 1:14)
- Jesus experienced the loss of his earthly father Joseph and one of his dearest friends, Lazarus. He knew the sorrow of death.
- Religious leaders accused Him of blasphemy. (Matthew 26:65)
- Some reacted to His miracles by wanting to kill Him. (John 5:18, 7:1)
- Jesus was exposed to sickness, leprosy, and death.
- Judas, one of His disciples, betrayed Him for money.
- He was unfairly arrested and tried by a kangaroo court.
- His disciples failed Him, and at His arrest, they fled.
- The Jewish leaders insisted on crucifixion.
- Pilate and the Roman government crucified Him, knowing He was innocent.
- He died next to thieves.
- He conquered death, but even at His resurrection, the Jews paid the Roman guards to lie and say Jesus’ followers had stolen the body. (Matthew 28:11-15)
- On the road to Emaus, the risen Jesus heard how disappointed men were that He died. They were hopeless and felt forsaken.
- Thomas doubted the resurrection. He had to see Jesus in order to believe.
What was it like to walk on the streets of Israel and know the wicked hearts around Him? What was it like to be a man—and also be God? Did He suffer emotionally because of the sin sickness of mankind? I think so.
Consider these passages from the life of Christ:
- Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted (Isaiah 53:4).
- But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd (Matthew 9:36).
- And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick (Matthew 14:14).
- O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matthew 23:37)
- And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt (Matthew 26:37-39).
- And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts . . . (Mark 3:5a).
- And (Jesus) needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man (John 2:25).
- For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
What a sacrifice for Jesus!
Who . . . made himself of no reputation,
and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross.
even the death of the cross.