Last Sunday, our summer preaching intern, Justin Berss, delivered the Eulogy before communion. He took the single, simple word “behold” to focus our minds upon the cross.
“Behold” is a word of emphasis. It means “to look, to pay attention to.” It suggests something that should not be overlooked or neglected.
Several times in the New Testament “Behold” is used specifically pointing to Jesus. In his lesson, Justin spoke of four ways we need to behold Jesus that I want to share with our readers.
(1) Behold the Lamb of God! (John 1:29)
These were the words of John the forerunner about Jesus as he identified Him as the Messiah. John’s work and role was to prepare the way for Christ. He humbly knew that his work would decrease, while Jesus’ ministry would increase.
The Jews of John’s day were familiar with the significance of this metaphor. The sacrfice of a lamb ingrained in their culture and custom as a means to remove God’s remembrance of their sins.
But, behold! Jesus came as “the lamb who takes away the sins of the world.” For all people. For all time. When we behold the lamb, we see the sinless son of God, but also are reminded of our sinfulness. Of how sin has defiled us. Stained us. Scarred us. And enslaved us. The lamb is God’s gracious gift to take away our sins.
(2) Behold, the Man! (John 19:5)
When the Roman governor, Pilate, presented Jesus before the Jewish mob, he announced, “Behold the man!” What did he mean?
Warren Wiersbe suggests that Pilate was trying to elicit pity. In other words, “Look at this poor fellow? Hasn’t he suffered enough? Take pity on Him and let me release Him.”
What did they see? A man who had been flogged almost to death. There stood Jesus. Beaten. Bruised. Bloody. A crown of thorns thrust deep into his scalp. Undoubtably blood oozing down his face, eyes and mouth.
“Behold, the Man” reminds us of Jesus’ humanity. His suffering in the flesh. His kinship to us. And His understanding of our pain.
(3) Behold, the Innocent One (Lk. 23:14)
Luke records it this way. “Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him.” (23:13-14)
Pilate was saying, “Look! This man is not guilty! He’s innocent of all charges!”
Three men died a criminal’s death that Friday on Calvary’s hill. But one was innocent! Jesus guiltless. Guileless. Sinless.
Ironically, the Jews had a choice. Their custom during the Passover allowed one prisoner to be released. To receive a pardon from the death sentence. But they rejected Jesus and choose the robber and murderer, Barbaras.
Jesus died instead of Barbaras. But in a very real sense, Jesus died in my stead. For my sins. Like Barbaras, I deserved to die. But Jesus took my place
(4) Behold Your King! (Jn. 19:14)
Perhaps Pilate made this pronouncement in jest. Or sarcasm. Or to taunt the Jews. He did have an inscription put on the cross “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” Regardless of the motive, there is an incredible irony to these words.
Jesus was the King! The King, not of an earthly domain, but a spiritual Kingdom. He rules and reigns in the hearts of his subjects. He died on the cross to establish His Kingdom which came on the day of Pentecost.. Today, He rules and reigns in the hearts of his subjects.
As you reflect back on the most famous Friday in all history, get a good look at Jesus.
Behold the Lamb of God!
Behold the man!
Behold the innocent One!
Behold your King!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman