[Image of Jesus wearing a crown of thorns]
What is a man? Scripture reveals that Jesus is the man. (See John 19:5)
Ironically, it’s Pontius Pilate that introduces “the man.” He stands Jesus up in contrast to himself, Caesar Augustus, and a fellow named Barabbas.
John 18:38 – 19:15
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas! Now Barabbas was a robber. Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, Behold the Man!” (In Hebrew, “the Adam.”) When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him.” “We have a law, and according to this law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called the stone pavement, and in Aramaic, Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”
The chief priests (spokesmen for Israel) answer, “We have no king, but Caesar.” “Barabbas is our man. Pilate is our man. Caesar is our man.” Caesar was Israel’s abuser. Caesar enslaved her, raped her. and abused her, and Israel would rather have the oppression of Caesar. She would rather have bondage to Pharaoh than the incarnate, intimate, penetrating presence of Jesus. Does that sentiment make sense to you? “Control us, abuse us, manipulate us, ignore us; just leave our hearts alone.”
So what is masculinity? Who is the man?
Is it Barabbas, Caesar, or Pilate seizing control? The dictator? Or is it Pilate abdicating control? You know, he’s trying to get out of this bind. He has the power to do something about it but He’s trying to get out of it. He’s scared of Jesus, scared of the Jews, and scared of the Truth. He’s the whining dictator.
And then there’s Jesus—abject failure to this world—reviled, mocked, beaten, covered in insults, but bleeding love. He’s so sensitive (even to Pilate, as we see in Scripture: “Pilate, what do you say?” He’s so sensitive, yet so relentlessly strong.
Pilate declares, “Behold the man.”
Jesus is “the man,” “the Adam,” “the perfected, ultimate Eschatos Adam,”
Firstborn of all creation: the New Adam standing before fallen Adam.
He is the Bridegroom standing before His Bride.
He is redeeming His Bride as she prepares to nail Him to the tree.
He is the Father having come to His children in a prison of their own making.
He is the Lion who is the Lamb, who conquers hearts by sacrificing Himself on our behalf, sensitive to us and so strong for us.
Masculinity is penetration with sensitivity and strength. The great theologian, Emil Burner wrote: “The physical differences between the man and woman are a parallel of the psychical and spiritual differences of a more ultimate nature.” Masculinity is expressed physically in the sacrament of sexual intercourse in the covenant of marriage and outside that covenant it’s sin. And yet, outside that covenant, masculinity is still to be expressed.”
So, men, your masculinity is to be a blessing to everyone you meet. Masculinity is initiation, incarnation with sensitivity and strength. Masculinity is leadership in love. Masculinity is a lion and a lamb.
And so, why isn’t there more of it?
True masculinity hurts.
To love as Jesus loved is sacrifice and it hurts.
And to receive love like Jesus’ love is terrifying.
Does it make sense that the penetrating presence of Jesus was more terrifying to Israel than the negligence of Pilate or bondage of Caesar? Jesus was too present for comfort. And He was too intimate to be safe, and too masculine–requiring too much of the feminine.
You can serve Pilate and keep your life (even if it’s in prison), but to receive Jesus is to lose your life and surrender your heart.
What woman, what child could dare to trust a man that much? For, in this world, no Adam can be trusted so the bride chanted for Barabbas and the children chanted for Caesar and Pilate, for bondage in Egypt. Satan lead the chant and he still does today. Satan distorts masculinity into a lie about God the Father and God the Son so no one will receive Love.
Satan distorts masculinity in at least two directions, which are really one direction and the one direction is self—flesh.
He tempts masculinity to:
Aggression or passivity,
To strength without sensitivity or sensitivity without strength
To strength for self or sensitivity for self— the dictator or the whiner.
So, guys, satan tempts us to be dictators (all lion and no lamb). He tempts us to strength without sensitivity. Whiners are sensitive without strength. They’re passive (all lamb and no lion). They see the pain, but do nothing about it, afraid to enter in, afraid to feel another’s wounds. They abdicate leadership, don’t speak the truth and leave a void. And it is tempting for, in that way, we avoid what’s really painful—love. By controlling everything, we hide from the danger of love.
Love your wife intimately and she can hurt you. Love your children tenderly and they can nail your heart to a tree, and vice-versa.
And the void is tempting to wives and children, for it feels like control. Yet, the abdicating–absent man robs his bride of femininity and his children of childhood. And he usually controls them anyway; it’s just through manipulation.
That’s why the bride and children chant for Barabbas, Caesar, and Pharaoh. They are wives who want a provider, but not a lover, they’re frigid, and children who want a provider—but not a father—they’re spoiled. They are wives and children (enslaved perhaps) but “safe” from the danger of love. But the only place “safe” from the dangers of love is hell.
So, I’m just saying, “Men it’s tempting to be the dictator or the whiner and especially the whining dictator. The whining dictator controls everything but is entirely impotent (He has no power – no authority), for he’s lost access to the hearts of his bride and children, and that’s what he was made most to desire.
Men, don’t control the world and lose your wife, your kids, and your soul, and if you do lose them, fight to get them back. God gives you sensitivity in order to know another’s heart. He gives you strength to bear their burdens. He gives you Jesus.
This Jesus standing before the mob, bleeding love, what’s He doing? He’s fighting for His harlot bride. He’s fighting for His lost children. He’s fighting for those who make Him bleed.
See guys, if you’ve failed and made Him bleed, He feels your wounds and bears your burdens. He forgives.
So men enter in and bear the burdens of your children, enter in and bear the burdens of your bride. And if you say, “I don’t have a bride, I don’t have children,” well . . . the world is full of orphans and widows. And check this out: Jesus didn’t have a wife and children. He was simple, and yet He was and is “the man” . . . No bride . . . No children. But actually, He does have a bride and children. You meet them every day. And check it out: you are His incarnate presence in their world.
Masculinity comes from your Father in Jesus. Stop running from Jesus.
Jesus is your courage.
Jesus is your strength
Jesus is the Lion and Lamb.
And He captures you in order to set you free.
This devotional was prepared by Kimberly Weynen, Peter Hiett’s assistant. It is primarily a compilation of excerpts from the sermon titled “Behold the Man.” To read, watch or listen to the sermon in its entirety click here: Behold The Man