John Tinkler, Red Row, Morpeth, England [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
We delight to read the Epistle to the Hebrews as the writer presents to us ‘this man’, e.g., Heb. 3. 3; 10. 12. The purpose of this paper is to take us through the Gospels and to see something of the setting as it was used when our Lord was here. Sadly, as we shall seek to show, the words, and similar ones, were mainly used in derision and indifference.
Matthew chapter 9 verses 1 to 8
This incident is also recorded in Mark chapter 2 verses 1 to 12 and Luke chapter 5 verses 18 to 26.
Whatever section we read it is a delightful scene that is brought before us. The four friends could not save the palsied man, but they could bring him to someone who could. However, the Lord did not deal with the man’s illness first, but says to him, ‘Son be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee’. Straight away the Scribes said within themselves, ‘This man blasphemeth’. The Lord knew their thoughts, and it is Mark who informs us that their further reasoning was that this was the prerogative of God alone. They did not consider the real identity of the Saviour, ‘God manifest in the flesh’. The idea to them was unthinkable – inconceivable. The Lord faced opposition when His deity was apparent. What a contrast is revealed to us by the multitudes who saw what took place and ‘marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men’. Divine power was demonstrated to the man, and deity was revealed as the Lord knew their thoughts. They were very quick to catch hold of His words, but not that their thoughts were read and revealed.
Matthew chapter 13 verses 53 to 58
We can also read this account in Mark chapter 6 verse 1 to 6 and Luke chapter 4 verses 16 to 30. He came unto His own country, but the whole atmosphere seemed to be one of unbelief as to who He really was. Whilst Mark records the facts, they give mention to some of His family by name but not to His name. They wondered at His words, His wisdom and His mighty works but they could not appreciate that He was more than a carpenter, He was the Creator. His hand had carved many pieces of wood, but also He created the worlds. Mark, too, informs us that the Lord Himself marvelled at their unbelief. They should have known better.
Matthew chapter 21 verses 1 to 11
This passage is often referred to as the triumphal entry into Jerusalem; how different from His exit. Verse 1 states, 'He drew nigh unto Jerusalem’ and, verse 10, ‘He was come into Jerusalem’. Between these two verses we read of the instructions given to the two disciples regarding the colt. His foreknowledge is apparent, ‘ye shall find’. The Lord was aware of future events. Interestingly, Isaiah chapter 62 verse 11 and Jeremiah chapter 9 verse 9 are quoted. Despite this, there is the question in verse 10, ‘Who is this?’ or, to paraphrase it, ‘Who is this man?’ Here we have the unrecognized Messiah. They could only acclaim that He was Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. They had little understanding of who He really was! I trust as we meditate on the scriptures we realize our Lord was indeed the promised Messiah and we do not need to look for another.
Matthew chapter 27 verses 45 to 49
Our focus is on verse 47, ‘This man calleth for Elias’. This is also recorded in Mark chapter 15 verses 35-36. Of the seven sayings from the cross, only one is recorded by Matthew. Men were not allowed sight of the Lord in His deep suffering. He was made sin for us. The bystanders heard the cry from the Lord and thought He was calling for Elijah, interpreting ‘Eli’ as Elias, but scripture gives us its true meaning, v. 46. Some consider that the Lord was expecting Elijah’s return, as some did, but, as verse 49 suggests, it was said in mockery. It certainly was not the time for Elijah to come, but it was for the Lord to die. Even on the cross they refer to the Lord as ‘this man’. Here is an utterance misunderstood.
Mark chapter 4 verses 35 to 41
The Lord had indicated to His disciples to pass over to the other side. Other ships were present to share the perils of the storm but also the peace of the calm. A storm arose and they awoke the Lord – they were gripped by fear, not faith! The Lord is equal to meet every emergency. Some of the disciples were fishermen and must have experienced storms akin to this, but the Saviour had to rebuke them. The Son of God possessed great powers even to the calming of this storm. The Creator speaks and the great storm becomes a great calm, ‘He maketh the storm a calm’, Ps. 107. 29. The circumstances provoked them to ask the question, ‘What manner of man is this?’ What they had experienced was unnatural – unbelievable. This man was different!
Luke chapter 7 verses 36 to 50
There are three characters in this story: Jesus – the righteous One; the Pharisee – the self-righteous one; the woman – the unrighteous one. She knew where He was, she knew what to do, and she came to know forgiveness from the Saviour. What a contrast: One who was invited, v. 36, to the woman who was uninvited. She was a woman of the street with a bad reputation.
The Pharisee questioned in his mind what sort of prophet this man was, but his thoughts were known by the Lord. We know that Simon did not give the Lord water, a kiss, or anointing, but she did. Here was an unwarranted thought. Here was more than a prophet, for the Lord alone could forgive sins. To such He can say, ‘Go in peace’. The woman is commended by the Saviour. She loved much, v. 47. Such is the transformation that Christ can bring: forgiveness of the past; salvation in the present; peace for the future. ‘This man’ was more than a prophet. He is the forgiving Saviour!
Luke chapter 15 verses 1 and 2
‘This man receiveth sinners’. What a wonderful gospel preacher’s text!
They came near to Him but they also came to hear Him. It is lovely to think that He came near to us. Sadly, the Pharisees murmured. This is one of sixteen occasions in Luke’s Gospel where sinners are mentioned. The Lord is still interested in sinners, to receive them and have them at His table. What tender love, grace and mercy He bestows upon lost sinners. This is unprecedented. ‘The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost’, Luke 19. 10.
Luke Chapter 23 verses 1 to 4
The chapter commences with the accusation that the Lord was making himself ‘a King’. Then the Lord is referred to as ‘this fellow’. A charge had to be concocted for Pilate to deal with the case. They did not give the Lord the courtesy of His name. Matthew chapter 27 verse 2 records the people’s desire to put the Lord to death. Here, Pilate questioned the Lord to ascertain the facts. So, in verse 4, and again in verse 14, Pilate stated, ‘I find no fault in this man’, as he addressed the crowd. The prisoner was faultless. Four times Pilate found no cause of death. The decision he came to was unquestionable – undeniable. Pilate had the power to put to death, but the Jews did not. The Jews did not agree with the verdict, and did not bow to his authority.
Luke chapter 23 verse 18
The Lord had told a parable in chapter 19 of a ‘certain nobleman’. It was prophetic, as He had stated: ‘we will not have this man to reign over us’. In a short while these people showed that attitude to Him. The people were presented with another man, Barabbas, totally different to the Lord in every way. Their voices prevailed. Pilate was a weak man and did not stand by his conviction. The Lord was unwanted. Finally, the sentence was passed: ‘it should be as they required’. Looking down the avenue of time there is only One of whom it can be said, ‘I find no fault in him’.
Luke chapter 23 verses 39 to 43
In verse 41 an unknown malefactor stated, ‘but this man hath done nothing amiss’. Luke is the only Gospel writer to inform us of the conversion of the dying malefactor. This man accepted that by his own deeds he received the ‘due reward’, but he also accepted the facts of the sinlessness of the Man on the centre cross. He acknowledged the One hanging near to him was Lord and was to have a kingdom. Here is an unassailable fact. What profound words came from the lips of such a man who knew, from the Saviour, that soon he would be ushered into paradise!