Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them,
“Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth.” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (John 18:4-6)
They wanted the man and only the man. The soldiers, the blood-thirsty vipers, the high priests and the teachers of the law-they wanted the one from Nazareth. That’s all they ever wanted. It frustrated them when he claimed to be more than “of Nazareth”. They saw clear displays of power, their eyes were amazed and yet their hearts were filled with anger and plans of destruction. Couldn’t Jesus just be “of Nazareth”? Why must he insist on acting and teaching in ways that make it clear that where he is from, no human eye has seen.
So his betrayers and his killers call out for the man from Nazareth.
Sometimes I want only the man. My heart never wishes for such a thing, yet my disobedience and rebellion sing a different tune. I can act as if He was just a man. I can wake each morning and instead of remembering and thinking of His glory, I can act like he was just a man.
I can work, like he was just a man.
I can love, like he was just a man.
I can even try to pray, like he was just a man.
When we act like Jesus is just a man, our pride cries out “Why not crucify him? He’s demanding so much? Who does He think He is, teaching with authority and power?”. When we want just a man from Nazareth, we want the crucification.
Oh, Lord, forgive us when we forsake your Son. For we are fools too often and our hearts are too afraid. If Jesus was not just a man, if he was not only from Nazareth but of the Trinity, then our lives are made whole and our spirits new.
This is the truth, Father, He was of You.