Upon graduating from Ohio State in 1987, I had a summer internship as a sports reporter at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. In August, I broke a story that ended up going national, even appearing on Dan Rather’s evening newscast as I witnessed myself in utter amazement.
Every major paper in America picked up my major “scoop” and had to credit the Plain Dealer for where they got it. Sports radio talk shows across the country were abuzz with discussion and debate revolving around my front-page, top-and-center Sunday edition “expose” that made the newsstands throughout the state of Ohio.
In a nutshell, a former star linebacker for the Cleveland Browns who had just been picked up by the San Francisco 49ers revealed to me through a series of one-on-one interviews that he was haunted by false rumors that he was a homosexual (including a vicious rumor that he had once molested a boy on a boat in Lake Erie—one that was part of on-going investigation by Browns detectives, etc.). My story was such a “barn-burner” it actually resulted in a next-day press conference held by former 49ers coach Bill Walsh, again making national headlines, etc.
This HUGE break in my budding journalism career not only garnered me a coveted rookie position as a “bureau chief,” but I was employed by the Elmira Star-Gazette, an upstate New York newspaper with the privileged distinction of being the first Gannett newspaper—this is, in fact, where Frank Gannett got his start in 1906 as a newspaper magnate.
Not even six months into my new life on the border of New York State and Pennsylvania—in the midst of covering hard news and then writing restaurant reviews and humor-oriented profile columns in my after-hours—I was notified by upper-management that they were considering me for an internship in Wash., D.C. at the headquarters for USA Today, which by then was the Gannett flagship paper and had single-handedly evolved the entire newspaper world with its unique format for news delivery.
As we all now know, one of the things that made USA Today “America’s Newspaper,” second only to the Wall Street Journal in circulation numbers today, was its use of boxed graphics giving rankings on all sorts of topics, ranging from “the most popular car on the road” to “the least popular way to spend a vacation,” etc, etc.
What I thought was clever was Jordan came up with a top ten list for ‘Why God Became a Man.’ I started this list in my last piece, and so now, after all that lead-in about my dead newspaper career, here’s the rest of it:
9. God became a man in order to destroy the works of the devil (I John 3:8). Jordan says, “He became a man so that in our realm He could enter into combat with Satan and destroy his policy of evil against God’s purpose in creation (Col. 2:15). When He went to the Cross He triumphed over Satan and ‘destroyed him that had power of death.’ He did that, Paul says, ‘in the body of his flesh through death.’ He literally took part of our nature so He could fight our battle and win the battle over the adversary.”
8. God became man to show us the Father (John 1:14). The Lord Jesus Christ is the visible manifestation of the invisible God. “The only way you’ll comprehend and know God is in the person of Jesus Christ,” says Jordan. “And the one He’s manifesting is God the Father. That’s possible because the words Jesus spake, and the works that He performed, were the words the Father gave Him and they were the works His Father gave Him to do. You were really seeing the Father in Him and through Him so don’t miss the point that God became man to reveal God the Father to us. If you ever wonder if there’s a God, or what He’s like, you look at the person of Jesus Christ and you see it. You see His attitude and thinking and that’s where you go. It’s all in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
7. God became man in order to do the Father’s will (Phil. 2:5). “Hebrews says that ‘though he were a son yet he learned obedience through the things that he suffered.’ He came in order to execute a plan that the Father had from before the foundation of the world. When He went to the Cross, He said in John 10:18, ‘No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.’ He’s saying, ‘I do it sovereignly as God but I’m doing it according to the commandment of my Father.’ He came to do and execute a plan that the Father initiated.”
6. God became man
to identify with us in our need (Hebrews 2:14-18). “Jesus Christ became a
man so that He could understand what it was like to be human,” says Jordan. “It
says that ‘in all points he was tempted as we are but without sin.’ That ought
to be a great comfort. He was tested and tried in every way we’re tested and tried.
Imagine that! When you face the difficulties of life . . . there’s a thing in
philosophy and science called Occam’s Razor. It’s a
principle that says the simplest answer is the right answer.
“Occam’s Razor is generally accepted to be 99.99 percent of the time true. The phrase in Paul’s epistles that matches that—it’s called in II Corinthians 11 ‘the simplicity that is in Christ.’ Most the time we think life is extremely complicated because we get our plate so full. So we think there are 50 million different reasons for failure and for sin or for success.
“When he says Jesus was ‘tempted in all points like as we are,’ people try to think of ways that maybe He wasn’t tempted. They say, ‘Well, He didn’t have to deal with pornography on the internet. He was never a woman that had to deal with a jerk of a husband and have babies.’ Well, it doesn’t matter what your specific circumstances are; there are really only three fundamental points of being tested: There’s the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life. And when Adam and Eve were tested and fell, it was in those three points.
“In Matthew 4, when Jesus Christ was tested of Satan, it was those three points He was tempted at. When sin attacks you, it attacks you on one of those three points. And the whole course of the world is based upon focusing an attack on YOUR thinking and YOUR soul under those three points. That’s where Occam’s Razor—the simplicity comes in.
“Jesus Christ moved into our existence, tempted in every way, yet He never failed one time. Now that, in becoming a man, is something that means something to me. He’s not just the God who’s way out yonder; ‘the Holy Other, the Transcendent One.’ He’s all of that, don’t get me wrong. That’s what it means to be God. But He’s also a God who’s entered in to the events, the experiences of your life and my life and knows what it’s like to face the temptations, the testing, the trials, the difficulties that we face. He did it in a way to gain victory. One of the purposes of Him becoming a man was so He could represent and identify with you in your need and ‘be tempted in every point like as you are yet without sin.’
5. God became man to be the payment for our sin. “Because when you’re tempted you don’t always succeed in resisting and having victory,” says Jordan “You sin (II Cor. 5:21, I Peter 3:18, I Tim. 2:5). Romans 3:25 says, ‘Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.’
“That verse always fascinates me. When you hear so-called ‘scholars’ talk about that verse, one of the things they argue about is when it says, ‘Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood,’ who is the his there? Who’s having faith in the blood of Christ? Some people say, ‘Well, that’s your faith in Christ.’ Other people say, ‘No, that’s God’s faith in Christ.’ But in reality, isn’t it both? First it was God had faith in what His Son sacrificed at Calvary could do. It could put away sin. And if God has faith in it, you can too!”
4. God became man in order that He might occupy David’s throne (Luke 1:30). Jordan explains, “God isn’t through with the nation Israel and the promises He made to them and the great testament of that today is the incarnation. Out of the material and the body of Mary, God the Holy Ghost crafted a body for God the Son to indwell and He did it specifically so He could reign over the house of Jacob forever and ever.
“Mary became the mother of the humanity of Christ but she was never the mother of God; she’s the mother of the MAN Christ Jesus. You can’t give birth to God. God lived forever. Christ, the second person of the godhead, was BEFORE all things, says Colossians 1. Read that verse in John where John says He was ‘preferred before me because he was before me.’ He was before all things and then He MADE all things. So He’s outside of time, creation.”
3. God became man to judge man (John 5:22). “God Himself, though He could justly judge us because He’s the judge of all the universe, sent the Lord Jesus Christ and then gave the judgment of man into the hand of Christ,” explains Jordan. “You might could look at God the Father and say, ‘You don’t understand what it would be like to be tempted like a man,’ but try and look at God the Son and say that! He was tempted as a man not only so He could save us, but also so He could be the righteous judge of those who reject Him (Acts 10:42). God ordained the Lord Jesus Christ. He put the judgment into His hand and John 5:27 says it was because He was the Son of Man.”
2. God became man in order that He might be our Kinsman Redeemer. Jordan explains, “As I Timothy 2:5 says, ‘For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.’ If you’re going to have a mediator (a go-between, someone who can connect two people and bring them together) you have to have the capacity to take both parties by the hand and be the connection.
“But to take God by the hand, you have to be God. And to take man by the hand, you have to be man. Well God’s up there and man’s down here and they keep missing. So Jesus Christ comes. He is God; He is man. In the Scripture, it’s called Kinsman Redeemer. A redeemer had to be the nearest living relative. Secondly, he had to be able to pay the price, and thirdly, he had to be willing to do it.
“Jesus Christ willingly became our nearest kinsman, and as our qualified representative as kinsman, then He went and paid the price of our sin. Him becoming a man was all for the purpose of being the one mediator. Notice it doesn’t say mediatrix!
1. God became a man to show us the true meaning of life. “To show us true living,” says Jordan. “John 1:4 says, ‘In him was life; and the life was the light of men.’ In Jesus Christ, God put real life. And in that life He put in Christ, it’s the light. It’s what gives understanding to people.
John 1:5 says, ‘And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.’ Obviously that’s not physical light. If a room is dark and you turn on the light, the darkness goes away. It doesn’t have to think about it; it doesn’t have to comprehend it, doesn’t have to try and get its arm around it.
“You expelled darkness by turning on the light, but here’s a darkness that when they turn on the light the darkness doesn’t go away. That’s not physical darkness; that’s spiritual darkness. Christ says, ‘I’ve demonstrated what real life is and spiritually dark people couldn’t get it; unbelievers couldn’t get it’ (I John 5:12).
“Christ comes to show us, ‘If you really want to know what it’s like to be truly human, truly a person—a full complete person—look at me!’
“Did you ever just want to be all that you could be? People all the time talk about living up to their full potential, living in the fullness of life. We have political movements that are fighting for the rights of people to live up to their full potential. Can I tell you that your capacity, your ability to be truly fully human is hindered by your sin. Jesus Christ came to demonstrate, put on display, that real lasting life comes only in obedience to God.”