Behold the Man!

At left is Antonio Ciseri's painting, Ecce Homo (Behold the Man). That exclamation from the mouth of Pilate (see John 19:5, NAS) has (through Jesus' crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and sending of his Spirit) been transformed into the church's pronouncement of the gospel of grace to all people in all times (including times of trauma like our current financial crisis). This gospel is the truth that God has included all humanity in his triune love and life: In union with God, in Jesus, through the Spirit, our lives (including our sin and suffering), are redeemed. 

Behold the Man! 

The redemptive, healing presence of Jesus at work through the Spirit in our world is making all things new. As noted by Douglas Farrow in "Ascension & Ecclesia" (T & T Clark, 1999), Jesus is the "priest-king of creation, re-ordering the fundamental structures of created life around himself, making it presentable to God in and with himself" (p. 280).  Farrow notes that our awareness of Jesus in his being and his doing, "challenges our entire frame of reference, physical and metaphysical, by allowing one particular man to stand over against us as a question mark against our very existence" (pp. 267-8). 

Farrow quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer who refers to Jesus as "the centre of human existence, of history and of nature" (p. 269). Jesus, is the singular center of the cosmos, and that includes all of us. We are included in his love and life. 

Behold the Man!

As Jesus' body, the church, (what Farrow calls the "ecclesial community"), it is our privilege and burden to hear and to proclaim the gospel to the world: 

Behold the Man!  

With the world's financial underpinnings crumbling, there was never a more needful time to proclaim this message of challenge and of hope, which may be summarized in three simple, yet profound, words: 
  • Belong! (you are God's dearly loved child; you belong) 
  • Believe! (believe this stunning truth of all truths)
  • Become! (journey with Jesus, who, through the Spirit, transforms your life and all the world) 


Thom Friedrich said…
In my opportunities to reach out into the homeless community, it is exciting to share this good news with those who see themselves as being far from "included". Their whole existence screams exclusion to them. They do not have a place to call home because they do not have a job. They cannot acquire a job because they lack a mailing address or a valid I.D. (or both). There are so many doors closed to them that, when they see one that is open, they have a difficult time believing it is real.

What a joy and blessing it is to be able to share with them the reality of their inclusion in Christ - God does not view them as those who exist on the fringes, but as those who belong! As I watch the joy and hope come into their eyes, it is like watching the dead come back to life.

As we participate in sharing the truth of the life-revealing nature of our inclusion in the life of the Triune God, we also participate as witnesses to the power of this truth. To God be the glory!
Unknown said…
I love the word "become" instead of "behave".

The idea of behave, believe, belong, in any order, leaves me with the impression that the Lordship of Jesus eventually looks like human effort and not our transformation through the Spirit.

Even the previously posited order (belong, believe, behave) makes it seem like once one penetrates deeply into the Triune life all that is there is self-motivated behavior modification.

So I like the word "become", not because of lowered expectations of behavior, but because we deeply believe that God is still creating, and that being included means God is not done with you or I yet. :)
Ted Johnston said…
I agree Steve. Belong, believe, become - it's all of grace. It's all the work of our Triune God, Father, Son and Spirit, working for us, in us and through us.

When we speak of the "become" piece, there are several interrelated and complementary parts including the idea of our active participation in our belonging, which speaks to our personal behavior. But even then, our personal behavior is the outworking of the Spirit who works within us to conform us to the likeness of Christ.