Nov. 16, 2018

Cross Purposes 26 / Behold The Man!

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

“Behold the man!” These words of Pontius Pilate seem to be a strange place to begin. “Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!” (John 19:5) Yet they echo the words of John the Baptist at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, as he says, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

The question is, what do I see when I “behold the Man”? It occurred to me that perhaps I ought to answer that as a sort of affirmative prayer...

Let this be my prayer, my affirmation wherein I stand, giving all thanks to You, oh Savior and Lord of all, that I may behold You first of all, myself within You in Your Passion, and You within me. Another facet of Your Incarnation. Amen.

Soon comes the day, the Day of  the Lord, when all things are accomplished and restored - the sons of God manifested, the Earth and all her inhabitants no longer under the dominion of evil. Then will be the reign of the Prince of Peace with the restoration of all creation, which has labored as a woman in childbirth, awaiting the revealing of the sons of God. 

It took the Cross to begin this work. One by one. The old song asks, "Where you there when they crucified my Lord?" Each of us might do well to ponder the implication of this question.

This is the purpose of our faith - that the sons of God are restored and manifested, to be as Jesus was in this world, coming about through the redemption wrought by our Elder Brother Jesus Christ, walking the path of repentance and humility, the Way of salvation. It means that the Holy Spirit calls us to and keeps us in His work by Grace through faith. With the vision of faith, as we “behold the man”, we become in fulness what we already are in seed, as the acorn becomes the oak. Christ in us the Hope of Glory. “For me to live IS Christ, and to die is gain.” He increases; I decrease.

I see this in type as the ancient symbol of Moses’ serpent on the staff (Numbers 21:6-9), a picture of the crucifixion of the “serpent” nature in us, and as we behold ourselves within His passion in the Cross, we are set free and healed. His heel was bruised, but the serpent’s head was crushed. Once and for all! And with Him we cry out in acknowledgment, “It IS finished!” This is where all true healing begins - as we behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)

Oh say, can you see this? I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Let me live, Holy Spirit, ever in this vision, this truth, this reality - crucified, dead, buried, raised up and ascended - in Him, with Him, and through Him, in and by Whom we live, move, and have our being - to Whom belongs all might, power, and dominion, now and throughout all ages forever and ever. Glory to the Lamb Who was slain, the Risen Savior! Amen.

 

 

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