"Everyone who belongs to the Truth hears my voice…" (John 18:37)

Did Jesus’ divinity impact the way He experienced pain, hunger, heat or cold?

JesusPrayLargeQ. Did Jesus’ divinity impact the way He experienced things in the physical world, such as pain, hunger, heat or cold?

A. Whenever I hear a question like this, I automatically have a sense that the questioner is possibly supposing Jesus to have had “special privileges” about how He experienced regular human occurrences because of His divine nature. Is the question actually asking, “DID Jesus experience physical discomfort SINCE He is divine?” Or, “Did being divine influence the manner in which Jesus experienced these things?” The difference may be subtle but a dangerous heresy lies in between them!

In the early centuries of the Church there was a raging debate about how to describe the way Jesus existed. Was He God, or like a god? Was He a man, or like a superhuman man? Was He both 50/50? Different priests and teachers of the day each espoused any of the above. The Church eventually discerned dogmatically that the orthodox truth was NONE of the above. Jesus was understood to be 100% God AND 100% human. This was defined as Jesus being a divine Person with two full and equal natures: a human nature and a divine nature.

Therefore, to imagine that, because He was divine, Jesus did not have to experience any human discomforts would be a rejection of His humanity. At the same time, to imagine that Jesus dealt with human discomforts in the same way as any other human would be a rejection of His divinity. He definitely knew what it meant to be cold, tired and hungry. The Father didn’t shield Him from that because He was God. But because He was God, Jesus would not have complained about it or felt sorry for Himself like we would because, being always and perfectly united to His Father even while on earth, He would have been able to discern God’s will in the experience.

The actual answer to the question as posted is, ‘yes’, Jesus’ divinity did influence His human experience – not by eliminating it, but by making Him respond to those experiences perfectly.

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