The Vicarious Humanity of Jesus and Fear

by caseybedell

Most of my life I have been gripped by the fear of man.

The fear of man makes you vulnerable to the opinions of others. It makes you defenseless in the presence of a watching world. It can lead to paralysis for some, or overworking and perfectionism for others.

The remedy is knowing the vicarious humanity of Jesus.  Gregory of Nazianzus defines this in his argument against the ancient Apollinarian heresy when he said, “That which is unassumed is unhealed.” Thus, if there is some aspect of our humanity that is not assumed by the Son in his incarnation, then that part of our nature cannot be healed.

The vicarious humanity of Jesus means that he furnishes the strength and comfort I need when I am most afraid.  From his heavenly session, he does not rule as a distant Lord, but rather, in our human nature by the Spirit, he rules as an apocalyptically invading presence.  Coming to my rescue when I need him.  He knows my frame is but dust.

A practical implication to the vicarious humanity of Jesus is that it teaches us the great spiritual practice of crying out.

“Save me, O Lord.”

Most of us are good at intellectualizing the gospel to the point where we only have a conversation with ourselves, so we don’t cry out.  The repeated mantra, “preach the gospel to yourself” has its limits.  Too often salvation is intellectualized to the point where we become functional semi-pelagians.  So we intellectualize our way through the wilderness of life and Christianity gets reduced to a philosophy or a method.

But salvation according to Scripture is our participating by the Spirit in the Son’s life with the Father.  In this communal-love, we share in Jesus’ cry and learn to cry “Abba, Father.”

When I read the Psalms, there is a lot of crying out from the King of Israel.  When I read the gospels I see men and women crying out to Jesus often.

If you are looking for an evidence of grace in someones life, ask them if they cry out to their divine brother Jesus.

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Ps. 34:4).

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