April brought us Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. On the former, we contemplated the death of Christ on the tree; soon after, we celebrated the death of death at the tomb. Both reveal two facets of the inscrutable person of Jesus Christ: he is both God and man.
Christ's Godhood was proven thus: "He was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection" (Romans 1:4). Jesus' death proved his manhood: "This man was handed over . . . and you . . . put him to death by nailing him to the cross" (Acts 2:23).
We rightfully exalt Christ's Godhood, and bristle when skeptics portray Jesus as a mere man. We emphasize his divinity while minimizing the value of his humanity. Jesus had to take on genuine humanity to be a merciful high priest and perfect atoning sacrifice (Hebrews 2:14-18). Jesus is as much man as God.
Ironically, when Pilate presented the battered Christ in thorny crown and purple robe, he said, "Behold the man!" (John 19:5). Let us behold Jesus and learn from him.
Real men drink beer, drive trucks, hunt, and aren't afraid to say, "Watch this!" Society's list of qualifications is dizzying and constantly shifting. Do I change diapers or not? Do I develop a belly that looks like a six-pack or develops from too many six-packs? What is a real man?
Real men cry. At Lazarus' tomb, "Jesus wept" (John 11:35). When predicting the destruction of Jerusalem, "he wept over it" (Luke 19:41, 42).
Real men stand up for truth. They believe in absolute truth and boldly proclaim it. Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth" (John 17:17). He led men to that truth by living and proclaiming it. Truth was his life: "For this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me" (John 18:37). Real men don't give in to the Postmodern spirit of skepticism like Pilate, who responded, "What is truth?" (v. 38).
Real men are real friends. It's easy to use the word "friend" when selling something or schmoozing someone. When the chips are down, the chums stand up and are counted.
Jesus was not "too manly" to share his heart. He confided, "I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my father I have made known to you" (John 15:15). Instead of wearing a mask of false bravado, he asked his friends to pray: "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me" (Matthew 26:38).
Real men sacrifice for others. They are not the "Me first, Looking out for #1" generation. Before his betrayal, instead of wallowing in a puddle of self-pity, Jesus provided an ocean of comfort. Proving his friendship, he explained, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
Real men are servants. The Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace stooped to serve mere men of dust. He washed dust from their feet (John 13:3-17), reminding them, "Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant . . . just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve" (Matthew 20:26-28). When Christ returns, he will serve the faithful at his table (Luke 12:35-38).
Real men have eternal life. Jesus warned, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). They will unapologetically believe in Christ and not be ashamed (Mark 8:34-38).
How can we, as men, know what it means to be a real man? Behold the Man!