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Understanding the Humanity of Jesus with N.T. Wright and Pete Enns

Understanding the Humanity of Jesus
Conversation with: N.T. Wright and Pete Enns

In this video, BioLogos senior fellow Pete Enns asks N.T. Wright to respond to questions that have come to BioLogos via Twitter, email, and its blog. The first question for Wright is, "What do you think is the biggest misunderstanding that western 21st century evangelicals have about Jesus and how does it stunt their understanding and witness?"

To discuss this video, see the post "Understanding the Humanity of Jesus" on Science & the Sacred.

Video Transcription

Dr. Peter Enns, The BioLogos Foundation: Hi, I'm Dr. Peter Enns. I'm Senior Fellow in Biblical Studies of The BioLogos Foundation. And we're here today with the Rev. Dr. Tom Wright, and we have a chance to ask some questions, some of which we've gotten via Twitter and e-mails, and also about a lot of topics, such as his recent book, "After You Believe", and science and faith issues.

So, welcome Tom.

Rev. Dr. N.T. Wright, Author: Thank you. Good to see you again.

Enns: Well, here's the first question we have for you. What do you think is the biggest misunderstanding that western 21st century Evangelical Christians have about Jesus, and how does this misunderstanding stunt our faith and our witness?

Wright: It's hard to quantify different levels of misunderstanding. But one thing I meet constantly, and have done for many years, is the idea that because Jesus was divine, which sort of comes with the turf of who we are believe this stuff about Jesus being divine. Therefore, he couldn't have had any questions in his mind. He couldn't have struggled with vocation. He couldn't actually have meant it when he said maybe there's another way in Gethsemane.

I think one of the key things to remember, is that in the great formulations of faith in the early church, the humanity of Jesus is every bit as important as his divinity.

That's not just a clever balancing act. That's actually a very profound insight on the part of the earliest Christians. That whatever you mean by divinity, you have to make sure it doesn't, as it were, trump his humanity. Because, of course, the divinity of Jesus is not some abstract divinity, it's a divinity of Israel's God, who is the God who brings in his kingdom and does so with compassion and love, and all that.

The humanity of Jesus is the humanity of Israel's representative and Israel as a people who goes through all this suffering and all this tribulation. And somehow God vindicates them, so when these two come rushing together in Jesus, what I see in so much evangelical thinking still is a kind of nervousness about admitting any of that might really be the case. And that prohibits one from actually engaging with what the gospels are all about.