Jesus' Estimate of Human Nature
Our human nature, ideally, is revealed in the man Jesus as He lived. Remembering the statement in the letter to the Hebrews to the effect that He “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (4:15), we may presume that the author had in mind, among other things, the wilderness temptation, which can become a commentary on the nature of humans.
In that temptation, physical life was recognized: “Command that these stones be made bread” (Matt 4:3). The reality of personal relationship to God and the possibility of moral choice were recognized: “Cast thyself down, for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee” (Matt 4:6). But beyond these, man’s vocation or the purpose of God in the world is implied: “All [the kingdoms of the world] will I give thee if thou will fall down and worship me” (Matt 4:9) . . . .
Jesus’ answer to all these is His estimate of the worth of persons and our place in the economy of God’s creation. The true sustenance of human life is the Word of God; the true object of human life is the worship of God. The true unity of our being is stated in the words of Jesus: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore the eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light” (Matt 6:22). In other words, only a single-hearted person, or one with a single motive, can realize the purpose for which he or she was made.
Adapted from A Theology of Love, chapter VII, "New Testament Man," 1972, Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City.
Holiness Today, May/June 2022