Ever met a perfect man?
It has always struck me as more than interesting that no writer of fiction, from Aesop and his fables to J. K. Rowling and her phenomenal creation Harry Potter, has ever given us a picture of a perfect human being.
Not even Superman is ‘super’ in every possible way. The countless idols of religious fiction also have feet of clay. They may be imagined as being powerful, but none is painted as being perfect.
The obvious reason for this is that because of their own inherent imperfections none of history’s authors, designers or dreamers has ever been able to conceive what perfection is and so reflect it in their creations.
Some sixty billion people have been born on Earth and the Bible teaches that, about 2,000 years ago, a perfect man did live here.
He was perfect at birth
Even before her son was born, an angel told his mother that he would be called ‘holy — the Son of God’ (Luke 1:35). He would have no human father, but would be the result of direct, divine implantation into his mother’s womb.
He was perfect in wisdom and knowledge
Before he reached his teens, he was baffling the leading theological experts of his day, who were ‘amazed at his understanding and his answers’ (Luke 2:47).
Time and again, we are told that people were ‘astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority’ (Matthew 7:28). He never had to apologise or change his mind or compromise his statements with ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ and was never reduced to giving a tentative opinion.
In view of what we saw about his birth, it should hardly surprise us to read that he was someone ‘in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (Colossians 2:3).
He was perfect in his behaviour
Because he was truly human and not some kind of android, he was ‘tempted as we are’ — yet was ‘without sin’ (Hebrews 4:15). People who lived in his close company for years said, ‘In him there is no sin’ (1 John 3:5) and claimed that he was ‘without blemish or spot’ (1 Peter 1:19).
All the evidence points to a man unique in human culture, someone who had every conceivable virtue known to man. He never felt guilty or ashamed. He never had to ask for forgiveness, though he taught his followers that they should do so.
He was perfect in his death
This may sound a strange thing to say. A person’s death can be peaceful and painless, but how can it be perfect?
The answer is that this man’s death accomplished something perfectly!
Nobody ever asks, ‘Is there death after life?’ After detailed research on the subject of death, George Bernard Shaw said he had come to only one firm conclusion: one out of one dies.
Why is this? Why is man ‘appointed to die’ (Hebrews 9:27)? The Bible’s answer is that physical and spiritual death (the separation of the spirit from the body and the separation of the spirit from God) are the inevitable result of sin.
Man was created ‘in the image of God’ (Genesis 1:27); not a ‘mini-god’, but without any flaws or faults in his make-up.
Things have changed! At some point, our first parents rebelled against God’s authority and decided to ‘do their own thing’, with the catastrophic result that ‘sin entered the world … and death through sin’ (Romans 5:12).
Before man sinned, death was impossible; ever since he sinned, it has become inevitable. God’s perfect justice and his zero tolerance of sin mean that it must be punished.
The Bible links sin and death so closely together that it speaks of ‘the law of sin and death’ (Romans 8:2), something as fixed and fundamental as the law of gravity.
Then why did the only man who never sinned die? The Bible’s answer is that he came to do so on behalf of others and in their place. In his own words, he came ‘not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many’ (Mark 10:45).
This is why he told his friends that his death was something ‘which he was about to accomplish’ (Luke 9:31).
He was perfect in his obedience
As a child he never rebelled against his parents, but ‘was submissive to them’ (Luke 2:51) — exactly as God’s law required. This was a reflection of his entire life, in which he submitted perfectly to every part of God’s law.
Throughout his earthly life of about 33 years he was ‘holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners’ (Hebrews 7:26). He said of his own relationship with God, ‘I always do the things that are pleasing to him’ (John 8:29).
Anybody else making that kind of claim would be dismissed as a crank. Even his death was an act of obedience — he ‘became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross’ (Philippians 2:8).
In this case, it was obedience to the will of God, who showed his amazing love for rebellious sinners by planning this breathtaking rescue mission ‘before the foundation of the world’ (1 Peter 1:20) and sending someone to bear the penalty that others deserved.
He was perfect in his resurrection from the dead
The Bible records several miracles in which people died and were brought back to life — but they all died again. This man was different; ‘being raised from the dead’ he will ‘never die again; death no longer has dominion over him’ (Romans 6:9).
His resurrection was perfect in that it was complete, final and irreversible, so that he can now say, ‘I died, and behold I am alive for evermore’ (Revelation 1:18).
Then … or now?
Ever met a perfect man? You will one day, because the man I have been describing is Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God. He ‘came into the world to save sinners’ (1 Timothy 1:15), but one day he will ‘judge the world in righteousness’ (Acts 17:31).
The Bible makes it clear that after this life ‘we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5:10), and adds that, as far as the glorious perfection of heaven is concerned, ‘nothing unclean will ever enter it’ (Revelation 21:27).
The one perfect man in all history will close the door of heaven against everyone whose sins have not been forgiven and who will therefore spend eternity in hell.
There is only one way to escape this appalling fate — and that is by meeting the perfect man now!
God’s purpose in sending his Son into the world was not to condemn the world, ‘but in order that the world might be saved through him’ (John 3:17). Jesus himself said, ‘Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life’ (John 3:36).
The word ‘believes’ involves much more than believing that certain facts about Jesus are true. It means confessing your sin and recognising that there is nothing you can do to remove its penalty.
It means turning away from trusting in anything or anyone else and casting yourself upon God’s mercy, recognising that ‘there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4:12).
It means committing yourself wholeheartedly to him, submitting to him as Lord and asking for his strength to help you live from now on in a way ‘worthy of God, who calls you to his own kingdom and glory'(1 Thessalonians 2:12).
The perfect man — Jesus, God’s Son, wants to meet you now. Why keep him waiting?