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Jesus Christ of Nazareth died on a Roman cross about 2000 years ago an innocent Man. He was brought to trial for blaspheming God, that is, saying or doing something against God that was punishable by death. However, at His trial, it is recorded: The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put Him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward and declared, “This Fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’ “[1]

Jesus never said that. He said something like that as recorded by John: “Destroy this Temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”[2] When He said this, the Jews thought He was talking about the temple of Herod, but as John tells us, He was speaking of His Body. However, look at the wording of Jesus’ statement and the false witnesses’ statement, they look similar but they are totally different. In fact, the truth of Jesus’ statement is this, “You destroy this Temple and I will rebuild it…” He never said He was going to destroy the temple. And when the high priest said to Him, “I charge You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God,” Jesus only answered it as He knew it: “Yes, it is as you say.[3] Jesus never said, “I am the Christ, the Son of God…” but rather, “Yes, it is as you say.” What did the chief priest expect Him to answer? If Jesus said, “No,” could the chief priest prove Jesus was lying? You see, there was never any proof that Jesus was in fact not the Son of God and therefore the charge of blasphemy was false.

Who do you really need to verify that Jesus is the Son of God? …His followers? …His mother? …His brothers? …Some angels? Surely only God can verify that He is the Son of God. The most crucial witness they needed to verify the truth of His word, the inquisitors did not ask. They did not even invoke God to judge, for they could have asked God to confirm the word of Jesus, that if Jesus was indeed claiming to be someone He is not and was merely raising up trouble for them, the priesthood, like Korah, Dathan and Abiram did, they could have easily invoked Moses’ stand. “If these men die a natural death and experience only what usually happens to men, then the Lord has not sent me.”[4] Moses did not kill Korah, Dathan and Abiram, but stepped back to allow God to do it.

The high priests did not, for surely, Jesus falsely claiming Himself to be God’s Son would be more offensive to God than to the priests. As such, if Jesus was not the Son of God that He claimed of Himself, then God would surely have struck Him down long before, for God needs no human instrument to disperse His wrath or His blessings unless it suits Him.

The high priests had no personal contact with God. They didn’t even have the Ark of the Covenant or any of the furnishings of the temple as these were removed in the Macabee’s time. Whatever articles they did have were not the original items returned from Babylon from the first temple, but merely copies of them. In His day, no one recognised the voice of God except Jesus Christ and those Jesus chose. This was why when God said, “I have glorified it and will glorify it again,” some of the crowd thought it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to Him.[5] They couldn’t even recognise God’s voice even if He spoke to them and they do not recognise it now. What they thought and now think is God’s voice, is what they have found in Scripture. That is, at best, they know what is written and what is said, but they do not know how it is said.

Indeed, if the trial was conducted to exonerate the truth about Jesus, they merely had to ask Jesus to prove His word to destroy the temple as the witnesses said, then see if He can firstly destroy it and then rebuild it. If Jesus could neither destroy it nor then rebuild it, then they had the proof they needed. This Man is just a boastful liar; therefore His talk about being the Son of God is nothing but a boastful lie. However, the priests stupidly proved Jesus’ own words to be true. “(You) destroy this Temple, and I will raise it up in three days.” As such, Jesus Christ went to the cross because He told the truth and because His words proved to be true, even the part that said, “Destroy this Temple…”

Right now, not one of those high priests and witnesses at the trial can say Jesus was lying for they are all dead. Because of that, they have received that which they had hoped for from their service to God, to be greeted by God before His throne. Imagine the look of Caphais and the other members of the Sanhedrin’s faces when they see God on His throne, and… who is that Man at the right hand, even now interceding for them saying, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they are doing,” as their minds flash back to that night and day all those years ago when they heard this Man from Nazareth say, “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of Heaven”[6] …and that prayer of His from the cross, those same words, “Father, forgive them…”?

So you see, you need not be ashamed of the Manliness or Man-likeness of Jesus, and dress it up with pseudo Godliness that religious people so love to do. For even if Jesus was merely a Man, only a Man, He still died an innocent Man, falsely accused without even being given the opportunity to prove His innocence. They accused Him of an intent to destroy the temple, but He had not, and neither did they give Him the opportunity to do it that He may prove that He is the Son of God.

Recognising the fullness of Man and the fullness of God that Jesus is, allows you and I to begin to conduct ourselves in the pursuit of the fullness of His stature, fully Man and fully God. However, we all begin this journey as fully man only, male and female, and sinful ones at that. Thus our behaviour as man must first be altered to mimic and to copy the behaviour of Jesus Christ the Man.

When you look at Him the Man, He was not always polite as some would idolise Him to be. Never did He call His mother Mary, “Mother,” but at the wedding at Cana and from the cross, He called her, “Woman…” And when He remained at the temple for three days while Joseph and Mary searched for Him in a panic, His reply to Mary’s sentence, “Son, why have You treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for You,” was, “Why are you searching for Me? Didn’t you know I had to be in My Father’s house?”[7] And with that, Jesus disowned Joseph as His father. Certainly, we know He was not always behaving in a manner acceptable to the ‘holy’ people of His day with His hanging around sinners and drunkards. And as to referring to the Phoenician woman as a dog, He was not a Man who pandered to the delicate feelings of others. He did not get up and go to Mary and Martha as soon as He heard the news that Lazarus was sick but waited, leaving them to suffer as it were. Certainly, to those who opposed Him and who were hypocrites, He did not counsel them, but openly and sternly warned them. Indeed, even to the woman caught in adultery who was spared from stoning, He did not sit down and counsel her, but merely said, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”[8] And when His family turned up to see Him, He disowned them, saying, “Who are My mother and My brothers? Here are My mother and My brothers! Whoever does God’s will is My brother and sister and mother.”[9]

In truth, as a Man, His speech and actions were often bordering on offensive, even disrespectful to the traditional values of what men consider to be polite, respectful and a speech and behaviour that should show love. See Him as a Man, only a Man, and you will not have any idolatry on what holiness, love and religious life that is acceptable to God is.

He was not a Man who went around with kind words, no, only truthful words, nor a Man who pandered to people’s feelings. Indeed, when a well-meaning apostle who He had just complemented, said, “[May God be merciful to You, Lord!] This shall never happen to You,”[10] He turned around and rebuked Peter, calling him Satan. And again when this same Peter said that he would never leave Jesus, as if to reassure Peter, Jesus told him that he would deny Jesus three times.

After these years of listening to Him, by the careful highlighting of His word, the writing of His word and even the singing and eating of His word, some of you are ready to see the Man who is Jesus Christ and behold Him. Those who are just joining us now will benefit from your efforts if you now learn to appreciate Him, the Man, for Jesus Christ the Man showed all men to live as man was intended to live by God, to live as Adam should have and would have if Adam never sinned. So He is truly the last Adam, the Man who is God’s exact Image. Forget for a moment that He is the Son of God and just see the Man. Then what you see is the behaviour of a Man who was completely focused on the work that God had for Him to do and all else was secondary to that focus. If it did not distract from that focus, it was tolerated, even enjoyed, as He enjoyed the meals with the Pharisees and in Mary and Martha’s house. If it distracted from the focus, He would have nothing to do with it, just as He hid Himself after the feeding of the 5000 when He knew that they wanted to make Him King. He was focussed enough to disown His stepfather, to never address Mary as His mother in public and even to denying her and His half-brothers and sisters in order to set up the extended family that God wanted Him to establish. If eating and drinking did not interfere with His primary focus, He ate and drank, but when it did not suit His focus, He did not eat, saying to His disciples, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”[11]

His focus on God’s purposes and business was why the Father said to the disciples, “This is My Son, whom I love. With Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”[12] Had the first Adam been just as focussed on God’s purpose, he would have saved himself and all his children from death had he only just said to Eve, “Let us just wait for God and ask Him again about eating this fruit.” Adam did not wait for God to reply. Indeed, Adam did not enquire of God, whereas Jesus, though in His heart did not want to go the to cross for He asked the Father to take the cup away from Him, refused to agree with Peter’s soothing words when He said, “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to You!”[13] And in the English Standard Version’s sub-text: “May God be merciful to You, Lord!” But rather, as good as Peter’s words sounded, Jesus waited for the Father’s personal reply.

However, unless you and I can recognise the Father’s voice, it is pointless to wait for a reply. And since we do not listen to Jesus, why should God reply us except for His extraordinary grace and mercy. As long as we live on grace and mercy only, we will never grow and learn the hard lessons of Sonship that are hidden in Jesus Christ.

Those lessons surely began for Him as a young Boy, born out of wedlock to a mother, parented by a man who did not father him in a household of four step-brothers and other sisters; lessons learned as a Brother whose own brothers did not believe Him. The temptation to take up His own agenda cannot be understood by us unless we also live as men with the full power of God at our disposal. Thus, eternal life, which is to come to know God and Jesus Christ whom He sent,[14] demands that we come to know Him as the Man and the Son of God, as well as to live as men, male and female, who have the same power of God at their disposal. Then our testimony on His behalf will surely be worthy of the justice and vindication due Him.

Religious men live with their idolatry of who God is, presuming to make decisions on behalf of God without ever recognising that God needs no man to counsel Him. Without any trace of miraculous power that should testify that God has any trust in them, they presume to speak and act as ones trusted by God, not realising that God has only trusted them to act and speak on behalf of Him as men without power. To Jesus Christ, God entrusted full power. The Man who had enough power to destroy the world and create a new one, chose to submit to God’s power so that before those who did not believe in Him, He was portrayed in weakness, but to those who believed him, He would return with power.

When any man, male or female, learns to be focussed on God’s purpose for Jesus, not God’s purpose for them, but God’s purpose for Jesus, and learn to conduct their humanity in that fashion, then can they be trusted with God’s divinity to manifest the power to do as Jesus did and also the greater things.

That little twelve year old Boy shows us the real Man who would emerge from Him. Before there was any hint or mention of the miraculous power that would manifest from Him as the Son of God, the twelve year old Jesus was already completely focussed on the Father’s business. “Didn’t you know I had to be in My Father’s house?” was His reply to a worried mother and stepfather, worried because both of them knew Him then only as the Boy who is Jesus, not the anointed Son of God with power to provide for Himself or to protect Himself. In truth, the Man, Jesus Christ, is the Man who would have finished the exact work set out for Him by God, even if He never received any miraculous power to do so. It is this singular truth which made the Man God trusted completely.

For the disciples, power was given so that they could be His witnesses. However, even with the power, they did not remain truthful witnesses of Him, but rather, watered down and diluted their witness so that the Jews who were zealous for the Law would not be offended. And how can we be truthful witnesses if we do not know exactly what He said and how He said it? We would be at best witnesses like those who said that they heard Him say, “I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.” And at worst, we would be like those who betray their Friend and deny that which He said is true and excuse it away, saying, “He didn’t really mean it that way.” So often, what Jesus really said, in fact is denied or forgotten in the same way as James the Younger ‘forgot’ that Jesus commanded His disciples to drink His blood whilst telling us, the Gentiles, not to drink blood.

We use His Name as the Son of God to give us our righteousness and our careers in ministry. I wonder if we would still use His Name if He was merely the Son of Man? For the Name, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, is not the Name of the Son of God only, but the Name of an innocent Man killed for telling the truth of what He knew by those who were acting in the Name of God. It is no wonder that to many who called Him, “Lord, Lord,” and drove out demons and did miracles in His Name, He would say, “I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers.”[15] …Men who use the Name of Jesus because He is the Son of God, but would never give Him the time of day if He were just a Man… He knows you not.

It is also clear now why He says to those who did not know Him or had not heard of Him but showed kindness and mercy to His brothers when they were hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, imprisoned and lonely, to come into the Kingdom prepared for them from the beginning,[16] the Kingdom of the Son of Man.

You see, Jesus Christ is not coming back as the Son of God, no, He is coming back as the Son of Man. He stated this clearly when He said, “At that time, men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds…”[17] So if you only see Jesus Christ as the Son of God, you will not live to see Him arrive, for He is coming as the Son of Man. So, are you prepared to meet with the Man, who is Jesus Christ, for that is who is coming back, that innocent Man they crucified for telling the truth?

You have been given a sample of the power and the knowledge of the truth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man. To you, the commandment is restored, “Listen to Him!”[18] And you have listened as a man would listen to the Son of God. But now, if He were to come to you as a Man, would you still listen to Him? If He were to submit to capture and torture, crucifixion and death, would you desert Him? If He were to associate with sinners and drunkards, would you be ashamed of Him? If He were to tell you to break a Law of Moses for His sake, would He still be your Rabbi? If He were to tell you to go to Bethsaida, a village, would you go to Capernaum, the city, instead? If He were to call you a dog, would you be offended or would you humble yourself? If He were near you, would you expect Him to come to your house to heal your servant or would His word be sufficient? If He were just a Man, would you still love Him, obey and seek after Him?

When you can love the Man Jesus Christ for who He is as a fellow Man, then perhaps you are ready to be a son of God like Him. The degree to which power will flow out of each of you will depend upon the degree you are prepared to be His true witnesses of His Manliness. For the power of God is given to us not to testify that Jesus is the Son of God, the Holy Spirit has already done that by raising Him from the dead, but rather, the power of God is given to us to testify that He is the Son of Man, the last Adam.

AMEN


 

[1] Matthew 26:59-61

[2] John 2:19

[3] Matthew 26:63-64

[4] Numbers 16:29

[5] John 12:28-29

[6] Matthew 26:64

[7] Luke 2:48-49

[8] John 8:11

[9] Mark 3:33-35

[10] Matthew 16:22 [or] ESV

[11] John 4:32

[12] Matthew 17:5

[13] Matthew 16:22 NIV

[14] John 17:3

[15] Matthew 7:22-23

[16] Matthew 25:37-40

[17] Mark 13:26

[18] Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35

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