♣ The Manliest Man

Carpenter 1

“Behold the man!” – John 19:5

MANY OF US no doubt wonder what it must have been like to witness Christ with our own eyes when He was present on earth. What was it really like to see Him, to observe Him walking, talking, praying, sleeping, eating, working, laughing, crying, performing wonders that staggers our intelligence and common sense – and yes, to watch Him in anguish as He died our eternal death? How would have that cross really appeared with all its barbarity, but beyond all that, His face expressing the agony of bearing the full weight of our guilt – of Him Who knew no sin becoming sin (2 Cor 5:21) – and not just the Father turning His face away from Him but opposing Him with all His wrath, the hell that you and I were only worthy of?

We all have our preconceived ideas of Who we think Christ might have been as we peruse through the New Testament, but what was He really like? Scriptures by themselves are insufficient to portray the Son of Man in a way that is worthy of how the angels see Him; we desperately need the Holy Spirit’s illumination and unless He works on our minds and hearts, we will never say, as with Job, “Now my eye sees You.”

“Jesus, gentle, meek and mild” many of us have heard and sung and tend to stick with that as the all-revelation of Who Christ is, but that is only part of Who He really is. Pre and Renaissance master works of art regrettably depict Christ as anything other than the Scriptures paint Him; often weak, spineless and sickly – images that have stigmatised the church throughout the last two millennia.

Was Christ really weak-framed as many artist’s have cruelly depicted Him? Were his hands and fingers delicate? Before industrial powered tools came about, carpentry back in the day was heavy manual labour and it is without doubt that Jesus of Nazareth must have been of strong stature to bear the daily responsibilities of family trade.

Was He weak-willed, an easy push-over, given over to the whims of the crowds? Was He politically-correct, a diplomat for fear of causing discord and disunity, to gain approval and votes for growing in popularity? As Leonard Ravenhill said, “If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.”

He didn’t run after the favour of man, although He had the favour of man – for the most part. He didn’t pursue those who turned back from following Him, imploring them to stick with Him; to His own inner circle of disciples He offered the door to turn back and go their own way if they so wished.

There was no panic, no disappointment, no sense of declining from going with the Father’s will; every breath He took He lived for pleasing the Father, agonising at times as it was. He may have stood back at the horrors of God’s unreserved judgement about to be poured on Him through the cross; insurmountable grief assailing Him, beyond any other man shall ever know, but through it He is The Man among all men, victorious over death and hell.

Christ is the perfect Man as God intended man to be. Spotless, faultless, blameless. Fully man yet fully God, one at the same time. Perfect in disposition and temper – whether mild or angry. Perfectly balanced in all ways. Yes, accustomed to the weakness of our bodies; of knowing weariness, thirst, tiredness and other physical limitations, but never once guilty of sin in the slightest form; tempted in all points, but perfectly conquering through every onslaught.

When we’ve known God to draw near, all of our false notions of who we think He is immediately goes out of the window and then we truly worship.

Here is the perfect Man – the manliest of them all – that lived perfectly, obeyed perfectly, suffered perfectly and died perfectly and lives evermore, before, amidst and after time.

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