Maybe it doesn't trouble you that Jesus told a little fib. Maybe you're thinking, hey, the Bible tells us that He was human; this just proves it. In fact, maybe you think that this helps you relate to Jesus a little more. That He doesn't seem so strange once you realize that He's just like you.
But that kind of thinking presents even bigger theological problems than we looked at yesterday. (Yesterday, we looked at problems created by just accepting the "fact" that sometimes, our God of truth "has" to lie to us.)
There is, of course, the difficulty of saying that Jesus was "just human" like the rest of us because if that is the case - if Jesus is "just human" - then His death doesn't matter any more than any of the rest of our deaths. His life doesn't matter any more than any of the rest of our lives. If Jesus is just human - and not also God - then the Cross is null. It didn't mean anything. We are men and women still condemned.
At the same time, if we say, sure, Jesus was God, but He lived as a human...that doesn't work, either. If the God-nature of Jesus didn't change the nature of Jesus in the flesh, then it still doesn't matter. It still doesn't make Him fundamentally different than any of the rest of us. If His God-nature doesn't impact His flesh-living, He is not the Son of God. For He could no more live without His God-nature than we could without the traits we inherited from our fleshly father.
So we must say that Jesus was not "just human;" and if He was not "just human," then it needs to trouble us that we so quickly dismiss what we are supposed to know of His God-nature when He looks so...fleshly.
The other theological difficulty that we create with this line of thinking is actually one of our favorites today - it's the notion that Jesus just looks an awful lot like us. He looks so much like us, in fact, that we're pretty certain we understand what it means that He came in the flesh to be with us. Of course He did! We have the same heart.
For years, a number of pastors have been preaching something to this effect, trying to get the general population to understand who Jesus is by connecting Him with all of the things that we ourselves love about this life. Would Jesus go bowling with you? Of course Jesus would go bowling with you! Just like you, Jesus loves bowling!
Slowly, but surely, we have developed a God created in our image, and we have told ourselves that this helps us relate to Him. And maybe it does. But if we are loving a God made in our image, we are not really loving the God who made us in His.
See, the whole goal of the Christian faith is that we would become more like Jesus, not that Jesus would become more like us. We have misinterpreted the incarnation to mean something that God never intended it to me. Jesus was meant to show us our glorified selves, our intended humanity, the way that we were meant to live before sin entered in at the Fall. Jesus lived a life untouched by the whisper of the serpent, at least in His heart (His body, of course, fell victim to it for a time), to show us what God created us to be. And if we live a faith that keeps telling us that Jesus is just like us...we no longer have motivation or even desire to become more like Him. We think we don't have to do better because hey, Jesus wasn't much better either.
Just look at Him - even He told a lie. ....right?
So you can see the problems that it sets up for us if we try to dismiss this story by just saying that Jesus was human like the rest of us and that this is just the nature of human beings - we fib sometimes. That's not satisfying theologically, and it's not satisfying to our souls.
Thus, we ask again, what are we supposed to do with this story?