Lesson 10 – Humanity of Christ


Does God Know What It Is to Suffer?”

Peace be to you.

Emphasized to great extent the Divinity of Christ:

We have emphasized to a great extent the divinity of Christ and rightly so, but it also happens that we forget the humanity of Christ. And it is of that which we will speak.

-There are two verses and scripture one from Isaiah and the other from the Epistle of the Hebrews, which seem to be contradictory.

  • Isaiah says that our Blessed Lord was reckoned with the transgressors,(1) or sinners.
  • In the Epistle of the Hebrews, that he was separated from sinners.(2)
  • One with them and at the same time not with them. He was with them, reckoned with sinners, in as much as in His human nature He took upon Himself all of the penalties of sin.
  • He was separated simply because he was God, and also because even in his human nature he was like to us in all things, save sin.

Meaning of this Human Nature that Christ assumed.:

Now we will penetrate rather deeply into the meaning of the human nature that Christ assumed.

  • Remember it had no human personality.
  • In a certain sense therefore the human nature of our Blessed Lord was unlimited. It was almost as if, for example, we had a playground in which there were no fences or walls. Then all children could come into this playground.
  • Now the human nature of Christ, simply because it was not capped, was not limited or confined by a human personality, could embrace within itself all the human natures of the world.
  • In other words, that human nature of Christ represented to a great extent the human nature of every single person that has ever lived.

Genealogy / Who is in it?:

You read in the genealogy in the gospel of Matthew and in the genealogy of Luke you will find saints but you will also find sinners.

  • There was a bar sinister [the status of being born to parents who were not married] in his escutcheon. You find Gentile women like Ruth,
  • Find a public sinner like Rahab, these were typical of the humanity that Christ assumed into Himself when he became incarnate, but also every single human being that would ever be born until the end of time was incorporated into this humanity.
  • Hence there’s not a Buddhist, there is not a Confucianist, there is not a communist, there is not a sinner, there is not a saint that is not in some way in this human nature of Christ.
  • You’re in it, your neighbor next door is in it, every persecutor of the church is in it.
  • When therefore we are puzzled about how other people are saved we need only realize that here is, implicitly, all salvation, all men in Christ. They may not recognize their incorporation with Christ. Within a certain sense, every person in the world is implicitly a Christian. Implicitly is in that human nature.

Repercussions of the sin of Adam:

Let’s go back and think of all the repercussions of the sin of Adam.

  • There isn’t an Arab, there isn’t an American, there isn’t a European, there isn’t an Asiatic in the world who does not feel within himself something of the complexes, the contradictions, the covariates, the civil wars, the rebellions inside of his human nature which he has inherited from Adam.
  • We all struggle against temptation and why?
  • Simply because our human nature was disordered in the beginning. Let me tell you there’s a terrific monotony about human nature. You must not think that you are the only one in the world who has a tortured soul.
  • Now if this sin of Adam had so many repercussions in every human being that has ever lived, shall we deny that the incarnation of our Blessed Lord has had a greater repercussion?
  • Can it be that the sin of one man shall have greater effect in disordering human nature than the Incarnation of the Son of God has in ordering all humanity?

That is why I say that everybody in the world is implicitly Christian. They may not make themselves explicitly Christian but that is not the fault of Christ. He took their humanity upon himself.

  • Example:
  • Great Plague:

-Just suppose that there was a great plague which affected a wide area of the world. Then some doctor in his laboratory found a remedy for this plague and made it available to everyone.

  • There would be some who would seek the remedy, there would be others who would not.
  • They might say how do I know he has the remedy? “Why should I bother? I will cure myself.’
  • Are they not all potentially saved? It’s certainly not the fault of the scientist that they are not cured. It is the fault of people themselves.
  • And so it is with the person of Christ. He brought salvation to all men. All! And it is up to us to find that Salvation in Him.

The Image beneath”:

That is one of the reasons why our Blessed Lord was so hopeful about humanity.

  • He always saw men the way He originally designed.
  • He saw through the surface, the grime and the dirt, the real man underneath.
  • He never identified a person with sin.
  • He saw sin as something aided and foreign. Something that did not belong to a man.
  • Something that mastered him, but from which he could be freed in order to be his real self.
  • Just as every mother sees beneath the dirt on the face of her child, her own image and likeness.
  • So God always saw the Divine Image and Likeness beneath us.
  • He looked on us very much the same way that a bride looks on a bridegroom the day of the marriage, and as the bridegroom looks on a bride. Each and every one of them are at their best. Later on in life they may fall away from this ideal or perhaps they will forget the ideal.


One day a woman came to me and told me that she could never love her husband again. And I told her to try and think back of how much she loved him the day of the marriage, when they stood side by side at the altar. For that is the way he really was. What the woman had to do was to see beneath the distorted image the real person to whom she committed her life.

And this is precisely what Our Lord does when coming to this earth.

And this is precisely what Our Lord does when coming to this earth.

  • Even when men raged and stormed beneath his cross, He saw them as homeless and unhappy children of the Father in Heaven.
  • For them He grieved, and for them He died.
  • This is the vision our Lord had of humanity.


  • But now we want to bring this home in a more intimate way. And here we’re going to take a term called transference, and try to make clear what the humanity of our Blessed Lord did in relationship to our sins and our suffering.

3 Kinds of Transference:

There are three kinds of transference in the life of Christ:

  • there is physical transference,
  • there is psychic transference,
  • and there is moral transference.

If our Blessed Lord did not come to this earth to undergo of every single kind of agony and torture and pain that we ourselves suffer, then we could say, “Does God know what it is to suffer? Did He ever go without food? Was He ever betrayed? Was He ever blind?”

Let me tell you the best way to describe Our Blessed Lord’s Humanity is that He is a God who took His own medicine.

  • He made man free. Man abused that freedom and brought upon himself all of the ills that he is heir to.
  • And God came down and took upon Himself a human nature – in order that he might feel every kind of torture of the human soul and every twisting pain of the human body.
  • That is what I mean by transference.

Physical Transference:

First of all, physical transference:

  • We read about this in the Gospel, namely that “Our Blessed Lord took upon himself our sickness and our illnesses.”(3)
  • I was always very much disturbed about this particular passage because there seems to be no record that our Lord was ever sick.
  • He must have had a very perfect human nature.
  • After all He was conceived by the Divine Spirit of Love,
  • and also born of a woman who was Immaculately Conceived.
  • Therefore, His physical organism must have been a perfect specimen of man.
  • This seems also to be indicated by the mere fact that I suppose every woman wants to be the mother of a great son,
  • and one day when our Lord was preaching, some woman shouted out in the crowd, “…Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the breast that nursed thee…”(4) She would have loved to have been the mother of that man.
  • Then too, when we find the soldiers and the enemies crowning Him with thorns, beating, scourging, buffeting Him, spitting in His face, ridiculing Him, what did all this mean but an attempt to drag this Lovely Human nature of Christ down to their level.
  • They could not bear the Majesty and His Being as they would rob a man of his reputation, so all so they would rob Him of the nobility of His character.
  • So our Lord must have had a Perfect Human Nature.

But this passage,

What does sacred scripture mean by that?

I think that for about two years I’ve been pondering over in my mind that passage.

  • The answer came in reading the work of a famous Swiss psychiatrist. He tells the story of two doctors both of whom had healing hands.
  • One of the doctor stated that, whenever he healed anyone, something of the sickness of that other person passed onto himself.
  • The other doctors stated that he often cured patients of angina and he had to give up healing because he suffered so many attacks of angina.
  • Is not this the key?

Now let us go into some of the cures of our Lord.

  • We often read in the Gospel that when He cured the deaf and the dumb and the blind that He sighed.
  • We read that when He rose Lazarus from the dead.(5) He groaned.
  • I believe that in that moment Our Blessed Lord took upon Himself the ills and the sicknesses of others.
  • When he cured the blind man,(6) I think that He felt inside of Himself not just the blindness of that one man, but all the blindness of men that have ever lived.
  • For there is not a blind man in the world, in that deep cavern of senses where there is no light, who could ever say, “Did Christ know what it was to be blind?” Yes, He did! And the dumb, the mongoloids, did He feel that? Yes, He did!

He the Word, the Eternal Word, felt their dumbness.

He the Word, the Eternal Word, felt their dumbness.

  • Not just of that one dumb person, but of every single dumb person.
  • And when He rose the dead and brought them back to newness of life, I think He felt the agony of death.
  • He went into that fear that we know He actually did in the Garden at Gethsemane.(7)
  • St. Paul tells us that He died for all men.(8)
  • In other words, the death that each and every one of us would have to undergo. Christ Himself felt, knows what death is, knows what your fear of death is.
  • This is the Christ that comes to you. That is why we say He is the only one who can ever understand your illness and your sickness, and why?
  • Simply because He has that sickness, that illness, inside of Himself.

He bore it for you and with you in order that you may have strength and patience as He did.

He also suffered psyche transference:

  • Then there was not only physical transference, He also suffered psychic transference.
  • By psychic transference I mean that He took upon Himself all the loneliness of people, their mental ills, the tragic effects of their psychoses and neuroses. He felt all of the darkness of the atheist.
  • He knew what it was to be a skeptic and a doubter.
  • He knew what went on in the heart of any man who raises a clenched fist, of all those who hate so much that their mouths are craters of hate and volcanoes of blasphemy.
  • After all, if our Blessed Lord was to redeem the atheist and the communist He had to know what it felt like to be an atheist, did He not? And how it felt to be a communist?
  • He had to feel their God-forsakenness as His own.
  • That is why, on the cross, as darkness crept into His soul, He confessed to His Father in His human nature His utter abandonment.
  • So He uttered that mysterious shriek, My God, My God, why, ….why hast Thou abandoned Me?”(9)
  • Here he traversed the darkest valleys and deserts of mystery with all human brothers.
  • We might almost say that this is a moment when God was almost an atheist.
  • ‘Twas a moment when He almost went into Hell, but with this difference, that in that terrible torment of loneliness, He cried to God.
  • And so, from that moment on when anyone says he is forsaken by God or he denies God, he must realize that he has a brother who endured the bitterness of separation to the very last extremity of Golgotha.
  • And if He showed the way, then we can find the way out, too.
  • This was the loneliness of Christ in the Garden and the loneliness on the Cross. Like a sponge the silence of our Lord soaked up all the evil, and because He soaked it up, evil lost all of its strength.
  • After all, when an atheist complains about the ugliness and evil of the world, does he not know in his inmost heart this is not the way the world was intended to be?
  • He is affirming the very existence of God by the intensity of his complaint. Without God, there would be no one to complain to, and in his complaint, he has Christ to whom he can go.

Moral Transference, moral transference of sin:

  • Finally, there was moral transference, moral transference of sin.
  • Sacred scripture says that out Lord was made sin.(10)
  • By that is meant He took upon Himself all of the sins of the world, as if they were His own.
  • Every blasphemy was put upon His lips as if He Himself had spoken the blasphemy.
  • Every theft was in His hand as if He, Himself, had committed the theft. His flesh hanging from Him was in token of all the rebellion of the flesh of the world.
  • He knew what sin was.

Example: of Moral Transference:

Perhaps I can make this clear to you by telling you that some years ago a girl wrote to me from a large city in this country telling me the at the age of eighteen she went to her first dance. She went in company with her cousin. Her house was some distance from the gate. Her cousin dropped her at the gate, and in that distance between the gate and the front porch, she was attacked by a stranger.

In due time, she found herself with child. The only ones who would believe her were her mother and the pastor. Neighbor women said, “Oh, isn’t it terrible, the poor woman has one bad daughter?” Some girls in the choir would not allow her to sing because she was wicked.

She told me of all of this torture that she endured, and she said, “What’s the answer?” I wrote back to her and I said,

My dear girl, all of this suffering has come upon you simply because you bore the sin of one man. I therefore assume that, if you ever bore the sins of ten men, you probably would have suffered ten times more. And if you ever took upon yourself the sins of a hundred men, your sufferings would have been a hundred times worse. And if you ever took upon yourself the sins of all the world you might have had a bloody sweat.

That’s where your sin was, and mine, in that Bloody Sweat on Calvary,(11) in this human nature that so loved us that we call it the Sacred Heart!”

God love you.


  1. Is 53:12
  2. Heb 7:26
  3. Mt 8:17
  4. Lk 11:27
  5. Jn 11:38
  6. Mk 8:22-26
  7. Mt 26:36-46
  8. Rm 5:15
  9. Mt 27:46
  10. Is 53:12
  11. Lk 22:44


433. “The name OF the Saviour God was invoked only once in the year by the high priest in atonement for the sins OF Israel, after he had sprinkled the mercy seat in the Holy OF Holies with the sacrificial blood. The mercy seat was the place OF God’s presence.[Cf. Ex 25:22 ; Lev 16:2,15-16; Num 7:89 ; Sir 50:20 ; Heb 9:5,7 .] When St. Paul speaks OF Jesus whom ‘God put forward as an expiation by his blood’, he means that in CHRIST‘s HUMANITY ‘God was in CHRIST reconciling the world to himself.’[Rom 3:25 ; 2 Cor 5:19 .]

To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/creed1.html#SON

465. “The first heresies denied not so much CHRIST‘s divinity as his true HUMANITY (Gnostic Docetism). From apostolic times the Christian faith has insisted on the true incarnation OF God’s Son ‘come in the flesh’.[Cf. 1Jn 4:2-3 ; 2Jn 7 .] But already in the third century, the Church in a council at Antioch had to affirm against Paul OF Samosata that Jesus CHRIST is Son OF God by nature and not by adoption. The first ecumenical council OF Nicaea in 325 confessed in its Creed that the Son OF God is ‘begotten, not made, OF the same substance (homoousios) as the Father’, and condemned Arius, who had affirmed that the Son OF God ‘came to be from things that were not’ and that he was ‘from another substance’ than that OF the Father.[Council OF Nicaea I (325): DS 130, 126.]

To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/creed2.html#TRUE

466. “The Nestorian heresy regarded CHRIST as a human person joined to the divine person OF God’s Son. Opposing this heresy, St. Cyril OF Alexandria and the third ecumenical council, at Ephesus in 431, confessed ‘that the Word, uniting to himself in his person the flesh animated by a rational soul, became man.’[Council OF Ephesus (431): DS 250.] CHRIST‘s HUMANITY has no other subject than the divine person OF the Son OF God, who assumed it and made it his own, from his conception. For this reason the Council OF Ephesus proclaimed in 431 that Mary truly became the Mother OF God by the human conception OF the Son OF God in her womb: ‘Mother OF God, not that the nature OF the Word or his divinity received the beginning OF its existence from the holy Virgin, but that, since the holy body, animated by a rational soul, which the Word OF God united to himself according to the hypostasis, was born from her, the Word is said to be born according to the flesh.’[Council OF Ephesus: DS 251.]

To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/creed2.html#TRUE

467. “The Monophysites affirmed that the human nature had ceased to exist as such in CHRIST when the divine person OF God’s Son assumed it. Faced with this heresy, the fourth ecumenical council, at Chalcedon in 451, confessed: Following the holy Fathers, we unanimously teach and confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus CHRIST: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in HUMANITY, the same truly God and truly man, composed OF rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father as to his divinity and consubstantial with us as to his HUMANITY; ‘like us in all things but sin’. He was begotten from the Father before all ages as to his divinity and in these last days, for us and for our salvation, was born as to his HUMANITY OF the virgin Mary, the Mother OF God.[Council OF Chalcedon (451): DS 301; cf. Heb 4:15.] We confess that one and the same CHRIST, Lord, and only-begotten Son, is to be acknowledged in two natures without confusion, change, division or separation. The distinction between the natures was never abolished by their union, but rather the character proper to each OF the two natures was preserved as they came together in one person (prosopon) and one hypostasis.[Council OF Chalcedon: DS 302.]

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470. “Because ‘human nature was assumed, not absorbed’,[GS 22 # 2.] in the mysterious union OF the Incarnation, the Church was led over the course OF centuries to confess the full reality OF CHRIST‘s human soul, with its operations OF intellect and will, and OF his human body. In parallel fashion, she had to recall on each occasion that CHRIST‘s human nature belongs, as his own, to the divine person OF the Son OF God, who assumed it. Everything that CHRIST is and does in this nature derives from ‘one OF the Trinity’. The Son OF God therefore communicates to his HUMANITY his own personal mode OF existence in the Trinity. In his soul as in his body, CHRIST thus expresses humanly the divine ways OF the Trinity:[Cf. Jn 14:9-10 .] The Son OF God. . . worked with human hands; he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved. Born OF the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one OF us, like to us in all things except sin.[GS 22 # 2.]

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476. “Since the Word became flesh in assuming a true HUMANITY, CHRIST‘s body was finite.[Cf. Council OF the Lateran (649): DS 504.] Therefore the human face OF Jesus can be portrayed; at the seventh ecumenical council (Nicaea II in 787) the Church recognized its representation in holy images to be legitimate.[Cf. Cal 3:1; cf. Council OF Nicaea II (787): DS 600-603.]

To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/creed2.html#HOW

504. “Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary’s womb because he is the New Adam, who inaugurates the new creation: ‘The first man was from the earth, a man OF dust; the second man is from heaven.’[1 Cor 15:45,47 .] From his conception, CHRIST‘s HUMANITY is filled with the Holy Spirit, for God ‘gives him the Spirit without measure.’[Jn 3:34 .] From ‘his fullness’ as the head OF redeemed HUMANITY ‘we have all received, grace upon grace.’[Jn 1:16 ; cf. Col 1:18 .]

To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/creed3.html#MARY

526. “To become a child in relation to God is the condition for entering the kingdom.[Cf. Mt 18:3-4 .] For this, we must humble ourselves and become little. Even more: to become ‘children OF God’ we must be ‘born from above’ or ‘born OF God’.[Jn 3 7 ; Jn 1:13 ; Jn 1:12 ; cf. Mt 23:12 .] Only when CHRIST is formed in us will the mystery OF Christmas be fulfilled in us.[Cf. Gal 4:19 .] Christmas is the mystery OF this ‘marvellous exchange’: O marvellous exchange! Man’s Creator has become man, born OF the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity OF CHRIST who humbled himself to share our HUMANITY.[LH, 1 January, Antiphon I OF Evening Prayer.]

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Jesus Praying
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