All Roads Lead To Jesus - Ezekiel

Ezekiel – Jesus is the Son of Man
Reading: Ezekiel 37, Mark 10:45

Ezekiel was exiled from Judah into Babylon before the final fall of Jerusalem. He was both a priest and a prophet. He not only prophesied about the judgment that Judah would face but he also prophesied how God would restore His people according to His covenantal promises.

In Ezekiel 37 the prophet writes about a scene that could have been taken from many Hollywood movies today. God led him into a creepy and horrific valley that had become a mass grave. Ezekiel made his way into the valley and found piles of bones strewn across the dirt. The picture he paints is of countless numbers of bones. You can almost hear the crunch of the bones and dirt as he walked silently through the valley. Ezekiel is careful to tell the reader that the bones were very dry which meant that they had been lying there for a long time. These bones were not just dead, they were very dead.

As Ezekiel was taking in the vision of the dry bones God instructed him to preach to the bones. As Ezekiel began to preach, the bones began to reanimate. Ezekiel described how they rattled when they came back together. As he preached the bones took on flesh but there was still no life. Imagine the scene. At first, Ezekiel was there among a pile of bones. Now he stood among zombies.

God instructed Ezekiel to begin preaching again. As the prophet preached the resurrected bodies came to life. The word of God was the very breath of life that these once dead bones needed to hear in order to come back to life.

This is a picture of Israel at the time. They were the dry bones. They had rebelled against God. They were exiled into Babylon and judged by their God. But in this vision, God showed Ezekiel and Israel that God alone would bring them back to life if they would return to His Word from which they had departed.

Throughout his writings, God often refers to Ezekiel as “the son of man”. This was a Hebrew term used to described human beings. It was also a name that Jesus used about himself close to 70 times throughout the Gospel accounts. Jesus referred to himself as the son of man more than any term of deity. But why did he choose this particular title?

I believe that both Ezekiel and the book of Daniel offer us a hint. Though son of man was a common term when used of the prophet Ezekiel, it was not referring to a common image when reading Daniel 7. In Daniel 7, the Son of Man is a highly exalted figure. When Jesus used this term, he was certainly using it to refer to his humanity, but he was also using it to refer to his deity. Those “in the know” would remember this term from Daniel 7. By allowing himself to be called both the Son of God and the Son of Man, Jesus was illustrating his two natures in His one Person. He is both fully man and fully God.

This divine Son of Man is the better Ezekiel. Jesus also walked through a valley of dry bones and breathed the Word of God into those dry bones. In the Gospel of John, Jesus is called “the Word”. The same Word that was preached to the corpses in the vision of the valley of the dry bones was the Word that had become flesh and made his dwelling among us.

The world is a valley of dry bones. I know that you’re feeling it the way that I am feeling it. There is so much death, so much hatred, so much vitriol, so much intellectual dishonesty, so much partisanship, so many egos, and so much pride. Do you want to know how I have restored my dry and thirsty soul? Well, you’re reading it.

I have done my very best to detach myself from talking heads, vitriolic people online and their dishonest posts, bipartisan news stations, and I have returned to God’s Word. I have returned not in a professional way for I must do that type of study every week. And of course, my sermon preparation has a personal element to it for I cannot preach unless it is too myself first. What I have done to restore my thirsty soul is to spend time with Jesus just for the sake of being with Jesus. Jesus breathes life into the dry bones.

I think that the American Church is a valley of dry bones. There are indeed prophets and priests who are walking among the dead and are breathing life through the Word of God. There is a remnant of faithful people who mourn because there is always a remnant. Not everyone in the church is a corpse. But I believe there has been untold damage done to the witness of the American Church due to the way it has lost its vision of Christ in favor of lesser gods in the past 20 years.

How will we ever return? We must return to the unadulterated, non-partisan, all-inclusive, non-discriminating, call of the Gospel that urges every person to turn to faith in Jesus Christ and repent of our sins so that we might have life. Preachers and congregants alike must take on the role of the priesthood of all believers and they must breathe the Word of God into the world.

Jesus was the Son of Man. He breathed life into the valley of the dry bones because He was the Word. We are the sons and daughters of God who have been called as the Son of Man’s ambassadors to breathe that same Word into the world. Lord knows, the world needs it more than ever.

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