The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 6
God's Kind of Man: This Other Man
So, not in the order of time or chronology, we have our four gospels as they are called, and what are these four gospels? They are two things; of course, they are the introduction of God's kind of Man. He is put there, and then alongside of God's kind of Man, the other kind of man is arranged. You cannot read these gospels from that standpoint without being shocked. It is the only word for it - shocked - at the exposure of man alongside of this Other Man, this Man that God has put down in the midst. Read your gospels again in this light: the reactions of men to this Man. Are they not terrible? You wonder sometimes how on earth they got the cleverness to note some of the things that they bring up against this Man.
Now steadily moving on in the gospels, moving on in that way and uncovering, exposing, there is a manifestation of that kind of man intensifying. Note the point where it seems a new intensification comes in in this malice, this hatred, this prejudice, this wickedness - against Whom? Why, what has my Lord done? What means this rage and spite? Intensified, until you come right up to the days of the Cross. You remember, of course, He has been moving on the ground of the crucified Man from His baptism onward, and that is a significant fact when you carry it into the unseen realm, where the forces of antagonism are at work.
The Heart Which Says No To God
But now we come actually up to the time of the Cross, the hours before the crucifixion, and the hour itself; and you have gathered around that Cross a representation of every aspect of the human race. From the inner circle to the wider circle, they are all there; and the focal point is the Cross of Jesus Christ. And what is that Cross bringing to light? Let us take a few cases and instances of this. We will begin with the highest representation of the highest religious system and order that history has known.
Caiaphas, the high priest of Israel, in whom the race is officially centered and gathered up - he is representative of the nation. You read the story put together from these accounts where Caiaphas is the chief actor on the stage of this drama. No words of mine or of man can describe, really, that man with this Other Man in his presence. I think the only description, the only words that approach the description of this man were long before prophesied by Isaiah. You remember? You are so familiar with them in Isaiah, chapter six, when the prophet has made his response to the Lord's appeal, "Who will go for Us? ..." said Isaiah, "Here am I. Send me!" What did the Lord say to him?... and He said (the Lord said): "Go, and tell this people, "Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn again, and be healed." That sounds terrible. "Lest ...lest... lest they turn again." Make it impossible for them to do so, take away their ability to go back upon their course. Is not that terrible?
But what are you dealing with - you are dealing with a hardness of heart which has been hardened and hardened and hardened again against the Word, against the prophets, against all the revelation that God has given, a hardening, a hardening until they have gone beyond the point of no return and God has said: "You have so hardened your heart and said so positively 'No' to My Ways, that it is beyond now remedying." That is Caiaphas and Israel at the Cross; the heart which says "No" to God.
What a heart, what an exposure, what a revelation of human capacity in the Presence of the Highest Privilege. Yes, it is coming out now, what has gone on. It had perhaps a very simple beginning, but it grew and grew - there was no turning back when it was possible - until it reached the point when God said: "Take away their capacity for hearing and seeing." The judgment of the hard heart of man, even under all those appeals and pleadings and sobs and tears of God, comes out at the Cross - what the Cross reveals about what is possible in our hearts!
You say: "That is Caiaphas, that is not me." Oh, you do not know the human heart if you say that. You do not know the human heart if you have never had any rebellion in your heart, if you have never had the capacity for saying "No" to the Lord and had to have a battle over it. It is there: it is not Caiaphas, it is Adam: this is Adam following through by coming to development.
What An Opportunity This Man Had
In the high place of religion you come from Caiaphas and move over to Pilate. Pontius Pilate! What an opportunity this man had. Oh, what has history said about Pilate? We do not think of Pilate without some feeling of disgust. Pilate, who had the opportunity of humanity in his hands, and what is do doing? Well, you say, he is vacillating, he is moving from one foot to the other; he may at times seem to rocking, but all that speaks of weakness - inability to come right down one hundred percent on one foot and make his full and final decision, trying to pass it over to someone else to make the decision, trying to shed the responsibility ... but why? Why? - he represents a time server ... "If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar's friend." That is it! - Caesar's ability to further my worldly interest: "If I take this line, then all my worldly interests are in jeopardy; my prosperity in business, my good standing with the authorities, those who have it in their power to further my interest." He is a time server, and Pilate goes down in history as the man who handed Jesus over to be crucified from his own inability to make a decision in His favor. "Take Him, you take Him; I have said, I find no fault with Him, but you take Him and crucify Him." The weakness of what? - the awful tragedy of a divided heart, the main feature and factor in which is: "how this is going to effect me and my interest." That finds us out all the way along.
You see, that was the battle that Jesus Himself fought in the wilderness with the devil. The devil was saying how it would effect You if You go the way that You have decided to go, how it would effect You: "You want the kingdoms of this world, You take the line of compromise." - That was Pilate ... what an exposure of what is in man.
(continued with # 7 - Wanting To Have)