19th April 2011

Behold, The Man

“Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!’”
John 19:5 (KJV)

The first book of Moses, commonly called Genesis, does not reveal to us precisely how the created earth itself was made to bring forth every living creature ‘after its kind’ (Genesis 1:24). There does appears to be an intimacy in the way in which the Creator himself, from that same earth, produced the collection of chemicals he called Adam, and with which he crowned the creation.

Behold, this man, made alive by the very breath of God, and spirit-endowed, who freely chose to reach out into that surrounding Paradise prepared for him by a loving creator. He did not reach out for the word of life that came to him on that same eternal breath, but for sin that has death as its fruit.  Behold, this man, from whose body of sinful flesh an enslaved race issued, bequeathing a sinful nature, and the grave for an inheritance.

It is in this very context that the mission of Jesus of Nazareth needs to be understood.  Without the Christ, mankind has no hope and no future.  The first man, Adam, could make no provision for our redemption.  In him we have all sinned, due to the nature we have inherited from him, and we all must die in him as a consequence, according to the apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 15:22).  But, thank God, the story of man doesn’t end there.  Paul goes onto say that just as in Adam all die, “…even so in Christ shall all be made alive”.

In this same epistle, Paul uses two descriptive phrases to refer to Jesus, God’s perfect man.  He calls him “the second man” (1 Corinthians 15:47), showing that the first man, Adam, gathered from the dust of the ground, was representative of the whole of humanity, sharing the one fallen nature. The second man, Jesus, came to earth from heaven (John 6:38), and represents a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).  He also calls Jesus “the last Adam”, showing that Jesus stands as the head of a new  race, imparting life to the new man, and revealing that there will be no new departure from this state of perfection.

When the Roman Governor, Pilate, brought out the man, Jesus, to display him before an angry mob and declared, “behold, the man”, little did he know that “the man” he was referring to was the new man—God’s  perfect man. He was the last Adam, who was about to take away, in the body of his flesh, the sins of the whole world and to forever set men free from the tyranny of sin and from the chains of death.

Dear Father, our great God and Saviour, help us to grow in the grace and knowledge of your Son, Jesus, whose perfect life was of infinitely more value than the sum of all our lives; yet who came to lay it down that, through the power of his resurrection, having triumphed over sin and death for us, we might receive from him life eternal

Study by Richard Dempsey 

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