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Jesus' suffering as a man

I always remember to thank Him for His suffering and dying on the cross and for the brutal beatings He took in the hours prior to the crucifixion. Have you ever considered that in reality He suffered His whole life in many ways as a man?

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In 2nd Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV), it states “ For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Can you imagine with me for a minute that without question, yes He was God, very God without question but that He was also man, very man. He was flesh and blood born of a woman.  He was not born wearing a divine superman cape. In order for Him to qualify as being the spotless lamb, He had to be all man but at the same time He had to endure all temptation His entire life and not ever sin one time. He accomplished this through prayer and living a Godly life; using the very same means available to all believers as they pursue holiness.

Our human minds, and even our Christianized human minds seem to process this success by rationalizing to ourselves that He had some sort of extra “umph” inside Him that kept Him pure. To understand God the Father’s plan to send a “second Adam” we need to read 1st Corinthians 15:45, which states “ And so it is written ‘The first man Adam became a living being. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” (NKJV)

We see records of Christ being tired, thirsty, and hungry. What He did He had to do as a man or He could not undo what Adam had done. He had to be a man just as Adam was a man.

Not much is mentioned of his childhood. Most theologians agree that there is an age of accountability; they feel that up unto a certain age, an age which only God knows, an age which is possibly even different for everyone, children are not held accountable for their actions. This means small children are not held accountable for sin, first of all, because of their age and secondly, they do not yet fully understand the difference between right and wrong.

We know that Jesus had step brothers and sisters. Most likely it was a pretty typical household with common conflicts and challenges. I’m sure their were temptations to shirk household chores, possibly steal from the cookie jar, not going to bed when expected, or have a wrestling match that started out for fun but turned into a fist fight with one of His other brothers. We just don’t know, however, because He was still a boy.  Most people understand that they would not be counted as sins because of God’s grace that’s placed on all childhood.

We know once at 12 years old He amazed the elders at the temple with His knowledge. We can conclude from this incident that even as a very human boy He must have had and extraordinary desire to study and know the scriptures. Although He was a very human boy He must have had also a very strong desire to follow the admonition of scriptures such as Psalm 1:1-4 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way or sinners nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law does he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf shall not wither and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind shall drive away.” (KJV)

These Bible verses and so many others would have compelled Him to obedience and to resistance of all temptation to sin. As He grew into his manhood we must understand that He had to face the same type of temptation that any young man would, otherwise His sacrificial position as the second Adam would not be any good. Fighting temptation to sin by dying to self, fasting often, using and quoting the Word of God against things such as lust, or lying, or cheating or stealing had to be enough as a young man. These methods succeeded because He applied them up until He was ready for His next level of ministry under the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew chapter three tells us that Jesus was baptized in the river Jordon by John the Baptist. Then the Holy Spirit, which came, down in the form of a dove and rested on Him. Simultaneously God spoke audibly from Heaven, saying, “This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”  3:17b (KJV). The Bible goes on to tell us that the Holy Spirit immediately led Jesus into the desert where He was directly tempted by Satan. Once again Jesus was successful in overcoming these temptations and remaining sin free.

Starting at the wedding at Cana and for the rest of Jesus’ earthly ministry, for a period of about 3 ½ years, He went about performing countless miracles. These were the “many infallible proofs” referred to in Acts 1:3 (KJV), along with His own resurrection which showed that He was indeed the Son of God. However everything Jesus did, He did as a man. He had to do them as a man, utilizing the same power of prayer, God's Word, and the Holy Spirit that you and I have available to us today. He had to succeed as the second Adam as a man where the first man, Adam, had failed.

The next time you are thanking him for His suffering on the cross, also thank Him for suffering throughout His whole life! Suffering in His flesh to become the spotless Lamb who was worthy to suffer for the sins of the whole world!

Rev Nolan J Harkness is the President and CEO of Nolan Harkness Evangelistic Ministries Inc. since 1985. He spent most of his adult life working in youth ministry. He also felt the calling of Evangelist/Revivalist and traveled as the door was open holding evangelistic meetings in churches throughout the Northeast. His website is

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