Jesus the Man
As part of our church's "Introducing Jesus" preaching series, I spoke on "Jesus the Man". You can listen to it here.
Here are the edited highlights...
One of the remarkable things about the Jewish God is that He would not allow Himself to be represented in a manmade image. Why? Because He had already made an image of Himself (Genesis 1:26-27). “The only appropriate image of God is a living, breathing human being.” (Tom Wright, Simply Jesus) These image-bearers were to rule the earth on God’s behalf in God’s way: with creativity, industry, justice, fruitfulness. They were to reflect to each other what He is like: loving and self-giving, harmonious. And they were to know Him closely, learning more about Him and delighting in Him as they did. From pole to pole, around the world, the praise of God was to be heard and the peace of God was to be known: a glorious creation in the image of God.
Tragically this image was shattered when Adam and Eve were given the choice to trust themselves or trust God. In that fatal moment they represented all of us – and they broke the deal, they turned away from goodness and life, they embraced rebellion and death. So it goes for generation upon generation following them, men and women are alienated from each other and God, there is discord where there should be harmony, we are all inclined to selfishness, and suffer from that same will in others.
God’s gracious rescue plan following this is to choose a people to be a light to the rest of the world through their trusting relationship with Him. An unlikely old man and woman take Him at His word, and from them comes the nation of Israel (Genesis 12:1-3). But the pattern repeats itself again and again. Even when God does great things for Israel, like rescuing them from slavery in Egypt, when they are then being led through a wilderness to the Promised Land they moan and complain – symptoms of their distrust of God. No-one can be found among us who will be faithful to God as He is to us. None of us can contest the accusation that we have failed to trust God. Unless someone can be found, the relationship will remain broken and so will we.
Luke 4:1-13 tells us how Jesus took on our side of the covenant and was faithful when we, and all our other representatives, were not. That’s why He told His followers that this had happened: because He triumphed where Adam and Israel had failed. The gospels are clear that He was fully human, and it’s vital that He is one of us, because that means He can represent us before God. He is the second Adam, who has not been alienated from God but can come confidently into His presence. He is the true Israel, who can represent us to God as one who has been completely faithful to His calling.