“Christ wasn’t old or handicapped: how does He know what it’s like?”
Over the years giving hundreds of seminars, retreats, etc. throughout the U.S. and Canada, people have made the above statements, though, perhaps, using different words. One hearing-impaired woman resentfully declared, “Christ had no handicaps at all. How does he know what it’s like?” Some maturing people say, “I wish Christ had ‘gotten old’ so we could see how he handled problems that come with getting older.”
But, did you know — Christ was the most handicapped-disabled person who ever lived! That’s right. Because he assumed a human nature, all the qualities he had as God were muted or couldn’t be manifested at all. Talk about limitations. Sure, he worked some miracles, but he wasn’t able to reveal his Godly abilities and qualities fully. “He was like us in all things but sin.” (Heb. 4:15) That’s handicapped! That’s disabled!
Genesis says God created humans in his image and likeness. We’re a little less than the angels. When Christ offered to take a human nature, he took two steps down creation’s hierarchy of beings. He didn’t take the nature of an angel, but went below that level and chose to assume a human nature through which he’d bring the love of the Trinity to earth. He knew that by so doing, though limited, he’d rescue all humankind from destruction.
Imagine that you loved nature and wanted to do something to rescue it from the destruction of today’s pollution. However, in order to do so you needed to take two steps down in the order of creation. This means that you would bypass being an animal and would need to assume the nature of an insect. You may be a perfect insect, but imagine the innumerable handicaps-disabilities you would have simply by relinquishing full use of your human nature. Maybe you’d not get sick or old, but the fact remains — you’d be severely limited beyond imagination simply by your choice to assume the nature of an insect in order to fulfill your mission. Also, you’d have to die as an insect, terribly or not.
This seems like a far-fetched comparison, yet it may help us understand just how really handicapped-disabled Christ was when he assumed a human nature. Christ came to bring the love of the Trinity to earth, to bring us life in abundance and eventually to take us to share perfect humanity with him in eternity. This was his love-mission. He neither compromised his commitment to the Father and the Spirit, nor to us. This is why he accepted death — his determination never to give up his passion to make God’s love known. This inspired him through all human handicaps-disabilities to the final one of accepting death in his human nature — something he never could experience as Son of God. It was not an ordinary death either — as we know. His love for us fired him through all this.
Whether or not Christ ever got old as we know aging today, isn’t important. He was considered older by the standards of his day where the average age for men was about 40. Whether or not he lost some eyesight or hearing doesn’t matter. As man, these were already significantly impaired. Did he have arthritis, or similar ailments? He already had so many other aches and pains simply because he had a human nature, that this didn’t matter. He experienced bodily discomfort, tiredness, hunger, thirst, utter fatigue from his ministry (sleeping through a raging storm in an open boat), sleepless nights, headaches and heartbreaks from people not listening or responding to his love-message, rejections, denials, and eventually his murder. Don’t you think these were handicaps-disabilities? He would never have suffered any of these had he not become one of us.
As God’s Son these couldn’t happen. His limitations of body, mind and spirit made Christ the most handicapped-disabled person ever! Yet, he loved us through all of these to death … on a cross. Nowhere does Scripture state that Christ ever complained about the handicaps-disabilities of his human nature. His love was that great. In addition to not complaining, he prepared a place for us to celebrate with him forever in the perfection of our shared human nature. What passionate, compassionate love.
So. Was Christ handicapped or disabled? What do you think?