He had to become as human as His sisters and brothers so that when the time came, He could become a merciful and faithful high priest of God, called to reconcile a sinful people. Since He has also been tested by suffering, He can help us when we are tested. [Hebrews 2:17-18 VOICE]
Was it possible for God to understand humanity without becoming human. Could the One who created all things understand temptation if such a One had never experienced it? Was it necessary for the Son of God to become the son of man? These questions point the essence of the incarnation. Why was Jesus born? Why was it necessary for God to be born human and experience life as a human?
I am not sure that anyone can categorically answer this question. On one hand God is presented as One who CAN do anything. Following that logic, it seems appropriate to think that he could experience life as a human without becoming one. On the other hand, I think it is appropriate to say that God had to become one of us so that we could relate to God. To understand who He is. How He reacts. In a very real sense Jesus came to show us how to react when we are tested and find ourselves suffering unjustly.
So the issue, in my view, is not so much about God gaining a knowledge of humanity he did not have but more of us gaining a knowledge of God that we did not have. The incarnation, life, teachings and ministry of Christ teach us so many things about God. Like what real humility looks like when we are treated unfairly. How being silent when we suffer is more powerful than talking. And how the power of prayer can make us each merciful and faithful priests. In this sense He had to become human.
In our suffering Lord help us to be faithful priests and merciful reconcilers.
... this devotion is part of a series about the book of Hebrews.