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" Behold the Man! "

Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, "Behold the Man!" (Jn19:5)

Our weekly studies in 1John with the e-mailing list not long ago considered the fact that Jesus Christ, "Deity" (5:5) became actual "flesh and blood"(Heb2:14); as John speaks of the "witness" of the fact that He "came by water and blood." (1Jn5:6) One criterion for determining the "spirits, whether they are of God"(1Jn4:1) is their confession "that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.." (vs2)

As I meditated on these things, I realized that I never had a problem with Jesus' "Deity." He is the "Son of God."(Acts8:37) But, when I would think of His "humanity" it was always difficult to conceive of Him not being some sort of "mixture" of God/man. Many people struggle with His "temptation" assuming that it was "impossible" for Him to sin because of His Deity. But the fact is, Jesus was FULLY a "HUMAN" Man. This understanding sheds a new light on many passages of Scripture, to see Jesus, fully, as "man."

Pilate, who "examined" Jesus, labeled Him on the cross as "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."(Jn19:19) And when questioned, said, "what I have written, I have written."(vs22) This same ruler, who realized that Jesus was "not of this world" (Jn18:36-38) introduces Him to the mobs, "Behold the Man!" (19:15) The "Man" was crucified that day. The Romans would not have crucified "a god."

A question which then arises is, "When was Jesus, the man, fully aware of His Deity?" We know that from conception (Lk1:35) He was the "Son of God." That in the womb He was "God."(Ps22:10) We know there was a time during which He was too young to know "to refuse the evil and choose the good.." (Is7:16) But we also know that by age 12 He knew, as He said to Mary and Joseph, "..did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"(Lk2:49)

At some point God the Father says to Jesus, "You are My Son, today I have begotten You."(Ps2:7) At His baptism both Mark and Luke record God's voice, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased." (Mk1:11,Lk3:22) As Jesus and His disciples are in the upper room, just before His crucifixion, some interesting words... "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God..."(Jn13:3) The manner of these words intimates that Jesus "knew" He was God's Son...but that at some point in time He didn't; or, possibly, "wasn't sure," or might have had doubts. The word "knowing" here carries the idea of "perceive, ascertain, discern, discover." In other words, the "MAN" Jesus needed to be convinced that He was, truly, God's Son. He "came to" this understand- ing at some point in time.

In case the reader would think we are bordering on heresy, consider the sequence of events. At the baptism God affirms to Jesus, "You are My Son." Then, immediately He is driven into the wilderness where satan taunts Him with, "If you are [really] the Son of God..."(Lk4:3) If there had been no question in the mind of Jesus the "man", nor the possibility of having doubts regarding the matter, what kind of temptation would that be? It could not be said that "He was tempted in all points as we are."(Heb4:15) As a "man" He had the capacity to sin, but did not! While we might speculate on all this now without fully being able to comprehend it, perhaps we will understand some day when we "see Him just as He is."(1Jn3:2) After all, the psalmist says, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. (Ps139:6)

But we should understand that the blood He shed was "human" blood. It was His PHYSICAL "stripes" by which we are healed.(Is53:5) And it was His "soul" which was an "offering for sin."(vs10) The "labor of His soul" brought about "justification" as He bore our sin.(vs11) It was His "soul" which He gave in death.(vs12) And "soul" is that part which differentiates a "human." When God created man He "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living [soul]."(Gen2:7 -kjv) By distinction, "God is spirit."(Jn4:24)

As a "man" He also possessed human "emotion." At the death of Lazarus "Jesus wept."(Jn11:35) He learned "obedience" even though, as a "human" He cried out to God with "vehement cries and tears" (Heb5:7) upon the occasion prior to His crucifixion, as in "great agony" He sweat "drops of blood." (Lk22:44) This word "vehement" is a word meaning "strong and violent." Jesus' "humanity" DID NOT WANT TO BE CRUCIFIED!!! But He submitted Himself in obedience to the Father (Heb5:8) as He said, "not My will but Yours be done."(Lk22:42)

And so we see the "man" Jesus cry out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and the words of My groaning?" (Ps22:1) In this chapter we have an account of Jesus' "human" suffering on the cross, and the conscious processes by which He "resolved" the "dilemma" He was in. And by understanding what Jesus went through, we can receive instruction for ourselves as we face various situations put to us in life, as Jesus provides the "aid" to us as we are [tested]. (Heb2:18)

Many times we feel God is so "far away" from "helping" us. At that moment Jesus was bearing the sin of the world. When there is sin, God "will not hear."(Is59:2) God says, "so they called out and I would not listen." (Zec7:13)

However, in Jesus' case, while He "bore our sin in His body"(1Pt2:24) He "committed no sin." (vs.22) Often the messengers of satan hinder God's message from reaching us in a timely manner. (Dan10:13) So, while Jesus realizes He has "three days" ahead of Him, right "now" He is in agony at the separation from God. He is all alone on the cross. The whole world is taunting Him, and poking fun, "Hey! You were going to save the world! C'mon down off the cross and save Yourself! Then we'll believe! Ha! Ha! Ha!" As "many bulls have surrounded Me..for dogs have surrounded Me; the assembly of the wicked has enclosed Me." (vs12,16)

His "self-esteem" is at an all-time low, too. "But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men.." (vs6) "He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him."(Is53:3)

"He was oppressed and He was afflicted." (Is53:7) "I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint..My strength is dried up..My tongue clings to My jaws..I can count all My bones..they look and stare at Me."(Ps22:14-17)

But while He is enduring all this abuse, what is the "MAN" Jesus doing about it? "But You are holy, Who inhabit the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in You..."(vs3-4) While He is near the point of physical death, and the crowds are taunting Him with "He trusted in the Lord..."(vs8) He is, truly, "trusting" in God the Father. Humanly speaking, everything seems hopeless. But like the "three" said to Nebuchadnezzar, "our God..is able to deliver us..but if not, let it be known.."(Dan3:17-18) ..and they went into the fiery furnace, trusting in God.

He reminisces. "But You are He who took Me out of the womb."(vs9) He remembers how the Father has sustained Him from birth. Remembered the Father's faithfulness in the past. God repeatedly told Israel to "remember" what He had done for them. (Deu5:15, 8:2,etc) When we are in the middle of a seemingly hopeless situation, we can remember back to other situations where God helped us; and draw strength.

So, while He trusted and reminisced; He now called out for "help." "But You, O LORD, do not be far from Me."(vs19) When Jonah was disobedient, and finds himself inside the big fish, his final cry is, "Salvation is of the Lord." (Jon2:9)

But Jesus knows He is yet to die. Does this stop Him? Resign Himself to just enduring, and "getting it over with" so He can continue on with His existence? No. "I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the congregation I will praise You."(vs22) When we are "in the pits" is not the time to hibernate and wait for a "better day." Some of the "best" ministry is when a person is in the "horrible pit and miry clay." If we "wait patiently for the LORD" He will "set my feet upon a rock" as He puts "a new song in my mouth, Praise to our God."(Ps40:1-3)

In all this, the glory does not come to Jesus (so-to-speak) as He says "You who fear the LORD, praise Him!"(vs23) While glory and authority has been given to Jesus by the Father (Heb1), ultimately Jesus gives it all back again. (1Cor15:28) "..that God may be all in all." And while suffering so terribly, the "glory to the Father" is what is on His mind.

The night before, Jesus had cried out, "If it be possible to remove this cup.." (~Mk14:36,Lk22:42) But now that He is committed to the mission He is fulfilling, He further commits Himself, "I will pay My vows before those who fear Him."(vs25) In other words, He was here for a specific purpose. He was not backing down. The "MAN" Jesus is fulfilling His promise, and carrying through, even though at the moment the process is excruciating.

His "promise?" To do what pleases the Father. (Jn8:28-29) That "they might have life."(Jn10:10) To "lay down" His own life.(Jn10:18) To provide the "acceptable year of the Lord"(Is61:2,Lk4:19) To be the spotless Lamb in Whom the Father was "well pleased."(1Pt1:19,2Pt1:17,Mt3:17)

The outcome? That "all the ends of the world..[would]..turn [repent -Lk24:47] to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before [Him]."(vs27) "So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun."(Is59:19)

And many other glorious things. But foremost, His faithfulness provides the means for us to obtain the "righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ."(Rom3:22) As He makes us "the righteousness of God in Him." (2Cor5:21) As God says, "..and their righteousness is from Me," says the Lord.(Is54:17b)

This which the "Man" Jesus did, is the heart and substance of the Gospel message which "will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation, they will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has done this."(vs31)

Amen!

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