Did Jesus hunger? Did Jesus thirst? It’s a sad day for evangelicals when Christians actually think such questions. It means without a doubt that the church is failing in presenting a robust understanding of Jesus as both human and God, a complete portrait of the second person of the Trinity.
If Jesus were human and actually did grow in knowledge like the evangelist Luke informs us (Luke 2:52), then it’s a given that Jesus had to have memorized Scripture. That he, like other Jewish boys, was taught the Hebrew Bible and expected to memorize large chunks of it that would make a modern American pull their hair out. Jesus actually had to learn. Jesus depended on his mother for milk and comfort and was needy. As Gordon Fee said, Jesus wore diapers.
I have been in the church all my life (many years I went reluctantly) but never once in my earlier days did it ever cross my mind that Jesus had to learn anything. He was God after all! The idea of God memorizing Scripture sounds ludicrous, as does the idea of God having to be taught how to walk and talk, or depending on a woman for milk and emotional nurture. But if we’re going to take Jesus’ humanity half-serious then we must be willing to look the human Jesus straight in the eye, as well as all of the implications of the full humanity of Jesus.
The Gospels say a lot more about the humanity of Jesus than we might give them credit. They fill us in on the fact that Jesus ate (or did he simply pretend he needed nourishment?); he slept (or was he pretending he needed sleep?); he grew in wisdom (or was he simply pulling his teacher’s leg when he raised his hand?). While pushing Jesus’ divinity out of the picture to only embrace his humanity is a sin that the liberal Christian tends to make, we evangelicals who consider ourselves orthodox must face our own sin of not taking his humanity seriously enough.