What Makes Jesus Relatable?


As I shared in a recent post, it’s only been in recent years, that the reality of Jesus being fully man and the importance of that has come home to me. Why is it so important that Jesus was & is fully human too; and not only fully God? The short answer is that He becomes relatable!

Since then, I’ve begun to discover stories in the gospels where Jesus felt frustrated, felt abandoned and perhaps a sense of failure, felt unrecognised, lonely, felt abused and needed to separate, bored, the pain of having wayward children, vulnerable, physically stripped of his dignity, powerless, sorrow, grief, despised, rejected and so on

A lot of us were sort of taught (no one actually said this but you were taught) that Jesus was in this whole different category. This is where the de-humanisation of Jesus comes in.

What it’s like for me when I suffer, wasn’t really that way for Jesus. Yeah, I feel the pain of loneliness & grief and people are not around when I need them. But somehow, we think Jesus never felt like that because we’re not in touch with his humanity.

We can tend to de-humanise Jesus and make him this holy figure, that we can’t relate to. But Jesus was a real person – he needed to eat & sleep, he laughed & cried. The Bible talks about how he was tempted in every way that we are, but he was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). That means, whatever we’ve longed for, felt or desired, Jesus has been there – he’s felt those things too. So, when we talk with Jesus, one of the things we have in common, is our humanity. He suffered through all of those things we suffer.

There’s a beautiful verse in the Bible, where St. Paul says, “that I may know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his suffering…” (Philippians 3:10). ‘Fellowship’ means ‘what we share in common’ and the ‘fellowship of suffering’ is that when you’ve suffered, you and Jesus have something in common to talk about.

Why don’t you try it out?

Identify a place of suffering in your life (for e.g. you’ve experienced injustice, humiliation, marginalisation etc.)

Ask Jesus, “Jesus, when did you experience these feelings in your life? 

Listen to what He wants to tell you.

Then ask him to tell you more about how it affected him. For e.g. ‘Jesus, what was it like for you when this happened?’

Once you experience his fellowship with you in your suffering, it can be helpful to also ask him further questions like, ‘Jesus, what did you do when your heart hurt?’ or ‘Jesus, how did you handle it when __ happened to you?’

If you’ve been exposed to a version of Jesus that is distant and not relatable, I encourage you to watch ‘The Chosen’, a multi-season television series, which will help you get a fresh perspective on Jesus and those who first encountered him. It will help you see Jesus as so much more relatable. You can watch the series for free here: https://www.yidio.com/show/the-chosen

Explore More

What’s your understanding of the church?

The Bible uses various images to describe the church, to help us understand its many facets. When I came across this meme a few years back, it stayed with me, because it helped me better understand the church as a type of ‘spiritual gym’ which I am a part of, because it’s a space where I can receive God and other people’s help, to keep working on my many dysfunctions and become healthier over time. It also helps overcome false images of the church – like the understanding that it is an exclusive club for those who claim to be perfect or morally superior than others.

Growing in a Relationship of Mercy as couples

Through experiencing my wife’s love when I fail /least deserve it, has made me more grateful for our relationship, because it has taken away the fear of being punished /rejected for my failures. I also feel closer to her as a result. And it has helped me to become more merciful myself.

Witnesses of Jesus’ Resurrection

The theme of ‘witnesses’ – people who’ve experienced something – speaks to something that is really distinctive to the Christian faith. Christianity is not a philosophy – though it can incorporate philosophy; it’s not primarily a mysticism – though it can incorporate mysticism; it’s not a religion that comes welling up out of natural experience – though it can accommodate that. Christianity is about something that happened; and there were witnesses of it. Without that, Christianity falls apart.