I mean no blasphemy by the title of this post, but I was reminded of this illustration a while ago and I think it is helpful to think about. I make no claims for this being my own original thought. I stole it from a professor from Western.
Growing up I was fully aware that Jesus was God, that was easy to accept. But Jesus, to me, was never human. The idea of the bracelets that ask the question ‘what would Jesus do?’ were pointless to me because Jesus was God and I could never do what he would do. As Ben Witherington puts it, when he grew up it was easy to understand that Jesus was sinless because he had a God-button that would get him out of any scrape.
What we have done in much evangelical thinking is turned Jesus into Superman. Think about Superman, he is an alien from the planet krypton. He is not, though he seems to be, really Clark Kent, a mild mannered reporter. Clark Kent does not exist. He is not real. He is only an act. This is how I was raised, intentionally or not, to think about Jesus. But Jesus, is God. And he is also human. Thus the better example, Jesus is like the Hulk.
Think about the Hulk. The Hulk really is Dr. Robert Bruce Banner. He really is Banner, but by a freak accident he acquired another reality, he also is a green mass of muscle and anger we call ‘The Hulk.’ He is both these things, albeit never really simultaneously. This makes Jesus much more like Banner, who is a real human being, but sometimes his Hulk busts out. Likewise with Jesus. He really is human, he hungers, hungers, he hurts, he is tempted, he has, dare I say, all the bodily and human functions that we do. However, at times, like the Transfiguration, his divinity busts out.
Like any good analogy, this one is not perfect. But it does do a good job of communicating what we mean when we say that Jesus is fully human in any meaningful way. I think this may be a helpful illustration (especially for youth) in explaining something of the reality of Jesus as fully God and fully human. If you don’t like the analogy, don’t use it, but if you do, thank Dr. Breshears at Western.