On the sixth day God made man. He created him to reflect His character and His rule throughout the world. As such, Adam was called to be fruitful and to fill the Earth even as God had done in the original work of creation. He was called to rule the Earth and to subdue it in the name of his Lord who alone is the true King of all. Yet in as much as God made man in His image, Adam was going to have to grow and mature into the fullness of that image. This would require him to go through challenges and testing in order to grow in holiness and glory. But of course, we know how the story went and that Adam failed early on in the process. Abdicating his responsibility to rule and to subdue all forces that oppose God, he allowed the rebellious serpent to tempt his wife and rather than confronting Eve over lending Satan a receptive ear, he joined the deadly party and shared in the rebellion.
Satan had offered them the promise that if they ate they would be like God, an odd offer given the fact that God had created them in His image, that is, He made them “like Him.” Satan’s temptation however, was not so much the offer of being like God per se, but of achieving that status in such a way that by-passed the hard work of obedience. Rather than trusting his creator and growing over time into the complete and perfect image that God meant him to be, Adam chose to grasp after Satan’s offer of instant maturity. The result was a devastating marring of the image of God and since Adam was not merely acting for himself, but as the representative of all mankind, there was no longer any hope of seeing the full and mature image of God in any of his descendants.
This is what makes Good Friday so good. It is here in Jesus Christ, that we have a New Adam, God Himself, come as man to be the true image bearer for us. Taking no short cuts, though Satan offered them, but rather being obedient unto death, even the shameful death of the cross, Jesus achieved full maturity as the image of the invisible God. It is then only in Jesus that we are able to see what God truly looks like and it is in the events of Good Friday that the image of God is most revealing.
It is no coincidence that just as man was made on the sixth day, so Jesus reached the climax of his ministry on the sixth day of the week (Ah! the poetic symmetry and beauty of the word of God). Bloodied and beaten in our place he stood with crowds chanting, “crucify him, crucify him” and Pontius Pilate declaring, “ Behold the Man.” Indeed! He spoke more than he knew, for here on Good Friday we see what man was always meant to be. Here is the mature man as the perfect image of God almighty. Here we see most clearly the love and holiness of our creator in the image of a self giving substitute. On this Good Friday may we, in the Lamb that was slain, “Behold The Man.”