Son of Man, made like us
I took anatomy and physiology in high school, and loved every minute. The human body is fascinating. My love of learning drew me first to medicine and then to nursing, and I built on that love for the last nine years caring for the bodies of critically ill infants. It is amazing to me how ventilators and medications, surgeries and lab draws can mean the hope of an intact family and the withdrawal of those same things means devastating grief. In my work, I have shifts in which I see the delivery of a baby into the world, and a few hours later, watch another infant taking their final breaths in their mother’s arms. Times when medicine offers miracles, and medicine falls short. Our bodies are remarkable, and they also, at times, fail us.
This is what I find absolutely, unequivocally, stunningly amazing about Jesus.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. -Colossians 1:15-20
Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. -Philippians 2:6-8
This Man, who was before time began. He who threw galaxies into motion. He who spoke light into existence. He who created the process of life unto life. He who knit the intricacies of our bodies together. He who knows the number of hairs on my head and stars in the sky.
He consented to starting as a blastocyst and succumbed to the growth process in Mary’s womb.
He came into life as we all do—through the birth canal and screaming.
He was nourished at Mary’s breasts.
He knew the frustrations of understanding more than capable of communicating as a toddler.
He understood the slow process of learning through your childhood years.
He knew poverty and what growing up in a “good for nothing” town and under the care of a father with a less than favorable occupation.
He learned at the feet of Rabbis in His town’s synagogue and heard of God’s faithfulness through Mary and Joseph.
He wrestled with siblings.
He entered into puberty—filled to the brim with desires and hormones He Himself created.
He became a young man considering the life God set before Him, worked with His father, and prepared for ministry.
He ate, He drank, He urinated and stooled. He endured illness and discomfort. He felt pangs of hunger and thirst.
He was rejected by people who grew up with Him.
He was reviled and spoken ill of.
He was betrayed and abandoned by His dearest friends.
He made Himself obedient to death.
He allowed His body to be broken.
This, my friends, is remarkably good news. Jesus made us in His image, and then He imaged us.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. -Hebrews 4:15-16
We worship a God who understands our experience. He hasn’t sat from on high and dictated we suffer here. He entered into our suffering. He stepped into the fight, and did so faultless.
Son of Man O Son of man, son of man, descended from heaven
The Godhead fully pleased here to dwell
The heart of God, revealed to us—flesh and bone made holy
A life surrendered to do the Father’s will
To eat with us, drink with us, and share in life’s sorrow
To break the walls we have built up between
O Son of man, son of man, hope of the whole world
The sun to rise up with healing in its wings
Humble as a shepherd
Who seeks the lost to save
And yet instead like Judas we betray
Better not to have been born at all
Than to treat you this way
Yet you come, in mercy run, to love us anyway
O Son of man, son of man, have mercy on this sinner
And purge the dross that is lingering still
Revive in me, purity holy and surrendered—
Resolved to join you in accomplishing the Father’s will
For lightning shines from east to west, and so shall be your coming
We’ll reign with you in this kingdom without end
O Son of man, son of man, breathe life into these dry bones
And raise this valley up to a mighty host.
We see evidence of failure all around us. Our bodies fail. Our marriages fail. Our friendships fail. Our communities and nations and humanity itself fails. We are broken and see brokenness everywhere we turn. But there is a healing to come in the human hands of Jesus. Healing because Jesus made Himself like us. We can draw near to the throne of grace with confidence—even in our deepest failures—knowing that we have an advocate who understands the nuance of our weakness. He has compassion for us in our sin because He remembers temptation's cruel sting. He humiliated Himself by becoming like us. And then He allowed His very body to be broken so that we would have life. He breathes life into us, and we can live because He did too!