The Greek word used of Jesus and translated “only-begotten” in the King James Version of John 3:16 is monogenes. This means that as son of God, Jesus is unique or one of a kind. He is also unique as a man. And how? Not in his physical appearance, we will see in this gracEmail, nor because he died, or even because he died by crucifixion. On a few subsequent Sundays we will explore some ways that Jesus is entirely unique, truly one of a kind, indeed a man like no other.
Jesus did not stand out from others based on physical appearance (Isaiah 53:2). If we had visited first-century Nazareth on market day, Mary’s firstborn son would not have been immediately recognizable in a crowd. Years later, when the mob came to arrest him, triggering a final sequence of human activities ending with his entombment, Judas had to arrange a hypocritical kiss to identify which man they had come to seize.
Jesus is not unique because he died. That is an appointment we all, every one of us, must keep (Heb 9:27-28). Jesus is not unique because he was crucified. Numerous sources say that 10,000 first-century Jews died that gruesome death, and the Jewish Virtual Library places the number at 100,000. Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian who wrote to gain favor with the occupation army, says that the Romans would have crucified more but they ran out of trees.