Thursday, April 5, 2012

"Here is the man" (John 19:5)

  The apostle John records for us these words in John 19:5. "So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, "Here is the man!" Those four words speak so much, "Here is the man", Jesus is led forth having been beaten and flogged, now wearing a crown of thorns and in mockery a purple robe placed on him by the Roman soldiers, bruised and bloodied he stood before them. The one who had healed the sick, fed the hungry, spoke of God's Kingdom now stands in full view incurring the wrath of darkness. I doubt Pilate really understood the full meaning of his own statement "here is the man", Pilate never realized those words would be written down in the most widely distributed book in history. Here indeed is "the man", look closely at him.
  When God created humanity we were made in God's image and likeness, all people today still bear that likeness. I believe that entails many different things and am still realizing many more. However at the heart of being made in God's image entails a manner of living, an ideal condition of life that reflects God's nature. We mar and hide that image when we live in evil and ways that are against God's created order. Yet Jesus is humanity in its perfection, Jesus shows to us what living and bearing the image of God means fully. Jesus fully partook of humanity, "Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things" (Hebrews 2:14). Jesus lived in perfect communion with the Father, we read of him some time being an entire night in prayer other times he simply began speaking with the Father among people as you or I would speak to a friend. The most common phrase Jesus used of himself was the "Son of Man", a phrase that did have "messianic" overtones to his hearers, but very basically it meant he was  the representative of humanity he is the embodiment of humanity as it was meant to be. Jesus experienced life as we do, he wept, rejoiced, moved with compassion, amazed at unbelief, felt anger, grieved, loved people, felt hunger, and needed rest. He was just like us. Pilate wasn't taking all this in when he said "here is the man".
  Jesus is the ideal for humanity, yet he is also "Immanuel"which means "God with us", He is the embodiment of God and shows us God. "No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made Him known" (John 1:18). We see him raise the dead, heal the sick and drive out demons. He forgives sin, calls all to follow Him, and feeds the multitude, Here is God in humanity. Yet what is most striking is that when Pilate utters those words "here is the man" he is pointing to God in the flesh who has just incurred a flogging, been beaten by those he loves, He, earth's true King, wears a purple robe because of mockery. The crown he is wearing is one of piercing thorns, as the old hymn goes. "Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown?" God wearing the veil of humanity steps into our place. This is what it looks like when God comes into the world, He dies for us.
  Yes, Pilate had this one right indeed, "Here is the man!"

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