Thursday, December 18, 2014
Jesus Identifies with Us
Hebrews 2: 5-18
It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet." In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises." And again, "I will put my trust in him." And again, he says, "Here am I, and the children God has given me." Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil--and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (NIV)
Why would the Creator of the universe place His Son into this world? What could possibly have been the purpose? God brought His Son into the world to personally relate with us, human beings whose lives are disrupted through sin and separation from God. It is our separation from God that leads us to yearn for a relationship with our Creator, and the birth of our Savior made this possible: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15).
God allowed His Son to have lower standing than the angels when He sent Him to earth as a human. In Hebrews 2, we read: "we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone' (verse 9). In sending Jesus to live among humans, Jesus became like one of us, like a brother. In verse 11, we are told, 'Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.'
Those of us who have faith in the saving power of Jesus are adopted children of God and are family with Him and His Son. Jesus came to earth as a baby and identified with us as a human. Now, we as his children can also identify with Him. As verse 14 says, 'Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity.'
Jesus was born in Bethlehem as a baby. It was a human birth including the pain Jesus brought to his mother during her labor. As Jesus grew up, he got scratches and bruises, just as human boys do. I have mentioned that my teenage son suffered a bad knee injury 15 months ago. He had his second surgery two days ago and is presently in great pain. I know that Christ understands Gabe's pain, and so I pray to God, who can identify with Gabe, that He who had nails hammered through His hands and feet and suffered muscle pain just as we do, will be a comfort to my son. Just as my son has suffered emotionally due to his inability to play sports for the past year and the year to come, Jesus too suffered emotionally. His own people betrayed and rejected Him. He suffered the humiliating death of a criminal when He was nailed to the cross: 'He had to be made like [us], fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted (Hebrews 2: 17-18).
Not only did Jesus suffer as we do, He was tempted like we are. He understands what it is like to be tempted to lie or to want what we don't have, yet He did not give in to temptation.
Jesus, who is crowned with glory and honor with His father, suffered death so that 'he might taste death for everyone' (v. 9). Jesus, the Son of God, became human to identify with us and in so doing, also had to die like we must someday die. Yet Jesus 'tasted death for everyone.' What does this mean? Jesus death was not an accident--it was planned by His father for a purpose--to overcome the evil of the devil (14-15). He died so that we, through His suffering are redeemed. However, we continue to struggle with pain and temptation; yet through Christ's sacrifice, we can eagerly await the day when we will live a life with no pain and suffering with our Savior in eternity. Because of Christ' sacrifice, we will have eternal life with Him. He was born and died so that our sins would be forgiven. We are free from the curse of sin and the law and are no longer in bondage to sin, because His blood made us righteous. As believers, we are adopted sons and daughters in God's family, and His Holy Spirit resides in us. As redeemed humans, we are forgiven, holy, justified, free, adopted and restored in our relationship with God. Praise be to Christ for His amazing blessings! Amen