Bishop William Temple once said, "Christ was not a man, but Man, he was not a god, but God." Pilate, when he looked at Jesus to examine him, concluded "Here (Behold) is the man" (John 19:5). There is more in this confession than perhaps he knew. Pilate recognizes, in ways beyond the ordinary, that this was not just any man, but rather this was: "The Man." He was not a man among many other men, a prophet, a great teacher or a moral leader among others. Jesus was Christos, the messiah, "the man of God’s own choosing" as Luther put it. He was, and is, unique.
E. Stanley Jones, one of my favorite twentieth century writers, once wrote, "In him we see what man is and how far he has fallen, in him we see what God is and how far we may rise. He is the universal meeting us personalized. Since I am a person, the universal must meet me pesonalized." And Jones adds, "Jesus changes everything he touches. Call him a man, and you will have to change your ideas of what man is; call him God, and you will have to change your ideas of what God is. You can transfer every quality of Jesus into God without the slightest sense of loss or blasphemy. And when you set him up as man he appeals to universal man."
Yesterday’s blog, March 20, elicited several excellent comments. Today’s blog should remind us that if Jesus really is who we say he is then we ought to be lost in wonder at the feet of this amazing person who is both fully God and fully man. E. Stanley Jones again helps us see this point ever so clearly:
But if he is the perfect, he is also the progressive. We have discovered an Ultimate, but this does not stop progress, it begins it. We have a Fixed Point, but the point is not fixed. Jesus is not behind us in the past. He is the great Contemporary. More—he is ahead of us. "He stands on the further side of our twenty centuries," calling us into the new life. He has not been surpassed, not even approximated. He is no spent force. Jesus is God’s final but unfolding word. More and more light breaks out from him. Since our code is a Character, we can never say we have attained. We are always discovering new meanings in him.
A religion founded upon rules is soon outgrown, for rules are temporary, growing out of temporary conditions; principles are never outgrown, they are the same yesterday, today, and forever; but principles meeting us in a Person are not only eternal, they are eternally concreted, kept close to life, always illustrated. Jesus did not give rules, he did not even give principles alone, he gave principles illustrated by what he was and did. Hence he is never outgrown.