You are “THE MAN”!

There are three major events in Scripture where the phrase: “The Man” is critical to the scene.

In Genesis, Lord, in the beginning, You created me, the Man; In Genesis, Lord, in the beginning, You created me, the Man: the LORD God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.[1] Out of the earth You created me. Only after You create man do you create the animals in an attempt to find a suitable companion for man. When this “proved” to be a proper helper, in this Priestly version of creation, You create woman out of his rib. You settle us in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it. [Gen 2:15] We were both naked, yet…[we] felt no shame [Gen 2:25], totally innocent. And Your directive is that we are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; when you eat from it you shall die. [Gen 2:16-17]

In this story, You call me “man” before I am even created. You are the main actor and also the one who judges Your creation to be man. What is “sacrificed,” i.e. “made holy,” is creation. At that time, I am totally innocent, without the blemish of any sin. You give me the responsibility to rule over creation and the outcome for me is perpetual stewardship.

I wander far from this innocence, however as is evident the next time The LORD addresses “the Man” when he sends Nathan to David [2 Sam 12:1]. Nathan has told David the parable about the poor man’s single lamb and how the rich man, who had flocks of sheep, took the poor man’s only lamb and slaughtered it to serve it to his guest. Nathan has told David: “Tell me how you judge this case.” [2 Sam 12:1]… David grew very angry with that man and said to Nathan: “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves death! He shall make fourfold restitution for the lamb because he has done this and was unsparing.” Then Nathan said to David: “You are the man! [2 Sam 12:5-7]

Here You use a parable to have David condemn his sin and realize his guilt. While Nathan is the prophet, Your voice in this drama, it is actually David who pronounces his own judgment. You chastise him, pronounce a condemnation: now, therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, [2 Samuel 12:10] which, centuries later, will even cause the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under [Mt 2:16] and later the death of his most holy and blessed heir.

Though David is spared, the lamb, both in the parable and in the birth child, is sacrificed. For his part, the LORD has removed your sin. You shall not die, but since you have utterly spurned the LORD by this deed, the child born to you will surely die. [2 Sam 12:13-14][2] The Man is here judged and punishment meted out.

God, You have built up to this moment, this redefinition of Man and innocence, and it tragically occurs when Your only begotten Son is being displayed for acceptance or condemnation: So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak. And he said to them, “Behold, the man!” [Jn 19:5] In contrast to the story of creation and the parable of David, You give me the chillingly graphic reality narrative of Jesus’ persecution. Unlike the bliss of Eden or the grandeur of the palace, I stand in Pilate’s praetorium. Unlike the innocent nakedness of Adam or the kingly robes of David, Jesus wears a crown out of thorns and…a purple cloak and is mocked as King of the Jews! [Jn 19:2-3] Instead of being in the prime of health, newly created, or in kingly fighting trim, Jesus’s body was torn, gashed, bloody from scourging. As if to exonerate himself and distance him from the mockery of justice, Pilate tells the crowd: “Look, I am bringing him out to you, so that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” [Jn 19:4]

In contrast to Adam, whose creation God judged very good [Gen 1:31], in contrast to David whom Nathan condemns by David’s own admission, Jesus is condemned by his own people: When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” [Jn 19:6]

After creating Adam and condemning David, Jesus is “the Man” who takes their place, steps into their shoes, stands in for them and redeems them both. The poor man’s lamb slain by the rich man is the Lamb of God, slain for poor men by us who have received the riches of the universe from His Father. The new Adam’s innocence is to be hung on the cross to save us, the David’s of this world. The judged and condemned like David is the new judge of all creation. The One who takes David’s and our punishment upon Himself is the one who, by this very action, gives me instead mercy and redemption, a new beginning, a new creation.

Now behold the fourth man, this man, me, who was created very good like Adam, who with David must admit, I have sinned against the LORD [2 Sam 12: 13], and who therefore should be the one standing before the crowd, scourged and worthy of condemnation, for even frightened and cowardly traitor to the Truth Pilate could not say of me: I find no guilt in him. This is “the Man,” created, sinful and, by the grace and through the mercy of God, redeemed. This is cross that I must bear, this guilt that I must acknowledge, yet also this great gift, unearned, undeserved, unforeseen and unprecedented, to which I must cling. May I accept my place with You, Jesus, as I accepted my place with Adam and David, that I might carry my cross daily and die to my self for my sins with You, that I might be with You forever in heaven. Amen. Alleluia!!!

 

The Man the LORD God formed the man… You are the man! Behold the Man!
Scripture Source Genesis [Gen 2:7] Samuel [2 Sam 12:7] John [Jn 19:15]
Type of Literature Creation Story Parable Narrative
Timing Before the fact of Man After the fact of Man’s sin The fact: the God/Man
Actor God Nathan Pilate
Judge God David/Nathan The Jews
God’s action God makes man God condemns man God redeems man
Sacrifice Creation Lamb/infant Lamb of God
Condition of Man Innocent Fallen Innocent
Result Rule over creation Judge Judged/Judge
Outcome Stewardship Punishment Punishment/Redemption

 

Addendum:

While one the one hand Jesus is included with other “the Man” statements and confirms his humanity, I must always be aware of the “both/and.” God is inclusive, not exclusive. So too is Jesus inclusive, both God and Man. Thus, when Pilate brings him out a second time, having been informed that Jesus made himself the Son of God and been told by Jesus You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above, he attempts to reinstate Jesus, reinstate God as the LORD, your Holy One, The Creator of Israel, your King, [Is 43:15], seating him on the judge’s bench…and saying to the Jews, Behold, your king! [Jn 19:7,11,13,14][3]

This reference to His divinity may be supported in the fact that, in addition, though the NABRE links “Behold the man.” to Is 52:14-15: Even as many were amazed at him— so marred were his features, beyond that of mortals his appearance, beyond that of human beings — So shall he startle many nations, kings shall stand speechless; For those who have not been told shall see, those who have not heard shall ponder it, this appearance, beyond that of human beings may also refer to another Isaiah reference: Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of good news! Cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Cry out, do not fear! Say to the cities of Judah: Behold your God! [Is 40:9]

When Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar,” with one stoke, the chief priests, speaking for the people of God, severe ties with all three: Jesus, their King and their God.

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.  “The Hebrew word ’adam is a generic term meaning “human being.” In chaps. 2–3, however, the archetypal human being is understood to be male (Adam), so the word ’adam is translated “man” here.” NABRE Note on Gen 2:5.

[2] Only later will David produce an heir who will save even himself from His sin. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. [Lk 2:11] For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. [Is 9:6]

[3] Jesus had claimed His kingship of Israel in his design and execution of his entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday as fulfillment of the prophecy: Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. [Zech 9:9] The crowds have wondered Who is this King of glory? and receive the answer in the fulfillment: The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory…[Ps 24:10] Israel’s king, its redeemer, the LORD of hosts. [Is 44:6]

 

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