The Third Man
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
Hebrews 1:3 (NIV UK)
Orson Welles used to say that the role he played in The Third Man movie was one of the best ‘star-parts’ he’d ever had. He went on to explain that a star part is one of those roles where everybody talks about a character until the audience is on the edge of their seats. And then, finally—the star arrives, plays the scene and leaves. And with their departure, everything in the story changes and all of the characters are left to wrestle with the new situation.
When I read that, I realised that while Orson played such larger than life characters as Citizen Kane, King Lear and the great Jack Falstaff—there is one ‘star part’ that he was never able to fill. I’m talking of course about the role of Jesus Christ in the greatest story ever told.
Long before the birth of our lord in Bethlehem, Christ was woven into the fabric of mankind. He is the creator who was there “in the beginning.” Paul tells us “all things us were created through him and in him.” In fact, all things were created “for him,” to be his inheritance. The entire universe is upheld in existence through him (Colossians 1:16) And for thousands of years, the prophets looked forward to that very time when God’s Christ, the Messiah, would be born and deliver the world out of sin and darkness. See how the prophet Isaiah puts it: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
During his life and ministry, Christ changed everything. He came to fulfil the law and the covenant purposes of God. And, through his incarnation and blessed atonement, he brought mankind back into right relationship with our Triune God. He brought near the rule and reign of his Kingdom. And by his Spirit, he continues to give us hope of the “age to come” when all things will be made right. And just like any great star part, as soon as he ascended into Heaven, there was nothing else the disciples could do but to go out to live and share the good news of our God’s transformational love.
From the beginning, Christ was prophesied and looked for. And when he came, he redeemed all things by his powerful love. And after he left, his followers continue to live out and share what he had accomplished with the world. Luckily for us, when we get to Heaven, we’ll all have a front seat to commune with our favourite star of all—the Lord our God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Righteous Father, thank you for sending us Jesus Christ. At this time of the year most see him as a babe in a manager, forgetting that he grew up and became, by his sacrifice, our saviour. Help us, holy Father, to see, understand and recognise the Jesus who is now back with you in glory in heaven. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by Joseph Tkach
About the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA. You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.