It was about 600 B.C. Lehi lived in Jerusalem with his wife and four sons. He lay awake in bed one night after an intensely vivid dream. He felt prompted to pack up his family and leave.
After suffering many hardships–hunger, thirst, wandering in the wilderness for eight years, family problems, struggling to build a ship, barely making it through a storm after more family dissensions–they eventually landed in a new world located somewhere in what is now known as the Americas.
The man, now stricken with age, knew that he would soon die and gathered his divided sons together for some final words of council.
“Arise from the dust, my sons, and be men, and be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things.”
In our modern culture, the world grows increasingly negative towards the concept of manhood and masculinity. Many men seem also to have lost their way. Now, more than ever, there is great need for good men. But what does it mean to be a man?
BEHOLD THE MAN
“Behold the man!,” Pilate said as he brought Jesus before the Jews.
This man, who had been scourged, crowned with thorns and adorned in a purple robe, was rejected by his own people despite Pilate’s statement that he “found no fault in him.”
Later, when the people demanded Jesus be crucified, Pilate “sought to release him.”
“If thou let this man go, thou art not Cæsar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Cæsar,” the Jews declared.
Pilate, feeling bad for Jesus’ plight and wanting to hold the people accountable for their unjust request, said “Behold your King!”
As their demands to crucify Jesus grew more virulent, Pilate once more plead for Jesus’ life saying “Shall I crucify your king?”
“We have no king but Caesar,” they replied.
After washing his hands of the situation, Pilate released Jesus into their hands to do as they will. They then took him to the hill Golgotha and nailed him to a cross.
They mocked and scorned him as he hung there, but Jesus paid them no mind. In his heart, he had already forgiven them. The pain was great, but He turned his attention to those standing directly below him, those who knew him best–his friends and family.
“Behold, thy son,” Jesus said to his mother as if to say “Don’t grieve for me. My mission is fulfilled and my work is finished. There is nothing to fear. Take care of each other.
Knowing it would be difficult for her, Jesus turned to his friend and disciple Cleophas, saying “Behold thy mother,” releasing and entrusting his mother’s care and protection to him.
“Although in agony he hung, No murm’ring word escaped his tongue.”
There, in his darkest of moments when he had every reason to mourn his fate and curse his enemies, he chose instead to comfort those he loved. The final words to escape his lips before he died: “It is finished.”
What manner of men ought ye to be?
I often think of Jesus’ final sacrifice. He did this for me. How could that be?
I was rejected by those I love. My wife, once my closest friend and confidant, betrayed me. I must be unlovable. She doesn’t love me. Why would he?, I think.
“I love you!”
This penetrating assurance fills my heart with warmth and my face with tears.
“What manner of men ought ye to be?” Jesus asked. “Verily I say unto you, even as I am.”
Jesus was and is the greatest man who ever lived. In every way, He is nothing like me. I, in every way am a flawed and imperfect man, and nothing like Him. But I want to be like Him, in every way.
The desire to become and the effort to try is good enough. Rise up my sons, and be men.