Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ecce Homo: Behold the Man!

Dear friends,

This morning I was reading in John 18-19 about Jesus' trial before Pilate. Pilate is trying to convince the crowd that Jesus is innocent and does not deserve to be crucified, as they are demanding for him to do. Finally, he brings out Jesus, who has been crowned in thorns by mocking soldiers, and presenting him to the crowd, cries out, "Behold the man!"
I decided to compare this account with the ones in the other 3 gospels. It was pretty interesting because Matthew, Luke and John each add a few things that the other ones don't. For instance, Matthew tells about Pilate's wife warning him about a dream she had just had, and also tells about Pilate washing his hands in front of the roaring crowd and saying that he is innocent of this man's blood -- not that this absolves him of his guilt since he was caving to peer pressure rather than standing for justice! Anyway, I liked getting a fuller picture of the scene from all four sources.
"Behold the man!" Look, for a moment (or a lifetime) at this suffering Savior. What does it mean? I am always glad to take the opportunity to meditate on what Jesus did for me. He who was completely innocent was judged by the religious leaders to be guilty so that we who are the truly guilty ones might become truly innocent by him taking that penalty for our sins and washing us clean with his blood.

I also remembered that the phrase "behold the man" is, in Latin, "ecce homo" -- and that I had two pictures with this Latin title on my computer. One is above, and the other is a scan of something I found tucked into the old Bible of my great-grandmother, Lillie Brazier, while I was visiting my parents this fall. The picture is made up of words, if you can believe it! The Ecco Homo page was on the backside of the picture, and tells the story behind the picture. You can click on the images below to enlarge them. If you zoom in on the Ecce Homo page, it tells a fascinating story.

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit." Romans 8:1-3

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:7-9

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
"Behold the man!"
Virginia Knowles

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