If Jesus did not sin, he must have been divine. He can’t have been human like us?
Ed: THE BIBLE SHOWS US what is righteousness, and what is sin (for example Romans 7:7). As we read the Bible it becomes clear that God’s standard of righteousness is unattainably high—we cannot be righteous by our own efforts, we’re all sinners and in need of God’s mercy (Romans 11:32). This is the starting point for our relationship with God.
Sin comes so naturally to us that it’s difficult to even begin to imagine how Jesus lived his whole life without committing any sinful act, word or even thought. I know that I can’t manage half a morning.
It’s tempting to suppose that he must have been somehow fundamentally different from us. But the Bible insists that he had the same nature as ours:
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted (Hebrews 2:14–18).
He was a mortal human like us. But he was very well equipped to succeed. It’s reasonable to assume that he inherited an excellence of mind and character from God, his Father. Maybe it had to do with what we now understand as his genes. When you consider the way he behaved and spoke, it’s clear that he had a magnetic personality and a brilliant intellect.
His formative years were spent in the very best environment—he was brought up in the godly household of Joseph and Mary, and there are also indications that he was in the habit of speaking to angels (for example Isaiah 50:4).
We should not underestimate the power of God’s Word. Very obviously, Jesus’ mind was steeped in his Bible—his conversation was peppered with Bible quotes and references, and even at the age of 12 he displayed astonishing understanding (Luke 2:46–47). As the Psalmist said, ‘I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you’ (Psalm 119:11).
Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, and so was able to offer himself as a perfect sacrifice. He had qualities—we might call them advantages—which enabled him to accomplish this. But he was most definitely a man, with the ability to sin and die just like you and me. His temptation to sin, and therefore his victory over it, would have had no meaning if it was not a real temptation with the ability to fail.