March 30th – Behold, The Man



I have always objected to calling Jesus of Nazareth a superstar. He was not like us, only better, and brighter – a religious genius of sorts. He was nothing like the stuff of which our super heroes are made. Our heroes are either secret agents, like OO7, who are above the law, ‘licensed to kill’, grab sex on demand, (i.e. sex without consequences); or we idolise great sports personalities, or mythical embodiments of our secret yearnings, like Hollywood’s idea of Robin Hood; or entertainers who draw vast crowds and win the acclaim and adulation of men and women who seem to worship them, or their idea of them.
Jesus of Nazareth in scripture is not like anything we humans fantasise about. We do not warm to men who cry in public, who are sensitive to the needs of the socially deprived, who speak of inner pain and love, who shrink from violent death, who stand against the things we all respect and challenge all our values. We do not joyfully welcome anyone who appears defenceless in the face of brute strength. Nor do we warm to those who make great claims for themselves, like equality with God (who do they think they are?). We expect our leaders to lead, and not wash their followers feet. Indeed, it takes a Jesus to have invented this Jesus. He’s so outrageous. No wonder Pilate declared to the crowd, when he saw him, “Behold the man”. A real man.
All our assessments of Jesus are too shallow. They stop before going into the nature which alone can bear our sins, and break them, and offer to a Holy God a perfect human life, surrendered in utter dereliction and self-less love. Only Jesus puts people right with God.
He is not my hero – he’s my Lord. He is not a star amongst men – he is only the Saviour of men. He is not a man elevated to the status of a god – He is God buried alive among us, and rising victorious over our sinfulness.
Then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is: ‘The stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone’ Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. Acts 4: 10-12
A Prayer: Repenting of my sin, I come to you Lord Jesus, in total reliance on you, for you alone have the gift of Eternal Life to give to sinners.
Now read Acts 4: 1-20.

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Thought 4 The Day

Christianity is not about how to escape from the difficulties of life, but about how to face them. (Brian Edwards)

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