Behold Jesus--the Christ God Sent to Do So Much for Us!
Dear Lord Jesus, when You were a child You sat at the feet of Your teachers and learned. If You, Lord, needed instruction, how much more so do not I need such instruction? As I approach Your presence this day, open my ears to hear, my heart to receive, and my mind to comprehend Your instruction, so that I might grow in my faith, my love, and my adherence to Your will and ways. It is in Your name that I am privileged to pray. Amen.
“A day in Your courts is better than a thousand!” The sons of Korah knew of the blessing and the benefits of standing in God’s house for worship. May we likewise recognize how important it is to enter into God’s presence to receive His gracious instruction!
As a twelve year old boy Jesus was both instructed by and instructed the teachers in Jerusalem’s temple. May we never think we are above the instruction of the Lord, but rather eagerly sit at His feet and those He has appointed to share with us God’s Word!
Text: Hebrews 2:9-16
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” And again: “I will put My trust in Him.” And again: “Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.” Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.
In Christ Jesus, who has served us in so many ways, dear fellow redeemed:
We often describe people by what they do. We talk about fire-fighters, football-players, and baby-sitters. In the same way we can properly describe Jesus by His actions. For instance, Jesus used His almighty power to give sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, so we can call Him a “Healer.” He proclaimed God’s truths on mountainsides, by seashores, and in synagogues, so we can call Him a “Preacher.” In our text the writer to the Hebrews speaks of many actions that Jesus did and still does. Let us consider those actions today and explore what each of them means for and to us. Yes, let us BEHOLD JESUS—THE CHRIST GOD SENT TO DO SO MUCH FOR US!
Our text begins: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” Throughout history powerful people, mostly tyrants, have had people assigned TO be taste-testers for their food and beverages. These individuals would taste the food or the beverage to make sure it was not poisoned. Only after the taste-tester had tasted the food or beverage and survived would the food be consumed. Tyrants did not want to die by poisoning.
Jesus, the writer to the Hebrews says, became a mortal man. In that way He was “made a little lower than the angels,” for all angels were created as immortal beings. They simply cannot die. Jesus, however, became a mortal man for the express purpose of dying. He entered this world so that He “might taste death for everyone.” Jesus, in other words, can be called our Death-Taster! He tasted death as our Substitute, willingly laying down His life for us, but then taking it back once again (cf. Jn. 10:17-18). Consequently, the bitterness of death as a punishment for sin has been removed from us. We can face death with confidence for Jesus arose from the dead as a first-fruit, signifying that we too will arise on the last day (cf. 1 Cor. 15:20-22). He in turn was crowned with glory and honor by His heavenly Father and now sits at God’s right hand possessing all authority and exercising all power in heaven and on earth! (cf. Phil. 2:8-11; Mt. 28:18)
Our text continues: “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Jesus, we can say, is our Glory-Bringer! God’s plan for our salvation from eternity called for Jesus, “captain” of our salvation, to suffer the penalty for our sins in our place. In this way the writer says He was made “perfect.” Let us not misunderstand the writer’s intent. He is not saying that Jesus was imperfect and then became perfect, for Jesus always has been and always will be perfect as the holy Son of God. The idea, however, is this that through suffering Jesus was made perfect in the sense that He brought to completion absolutely everything necessary to finish God’s plan to reclaim us as “sons” and to bring us to “glory.”
Listen to Paul develop this same idea in his letter to the Romans: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Rom. 8:28-30). While we will experience many troubles in this world, we are destined to share the glories of heaven because of what Jesus has done for us!
Our text continues: “For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Jesus is our Brother-Caller! There are few gifts given us by God in this life greater than being part of a family. There is a desire within most, if not all of us, to be part of something greater than ourselves—to belong to something special. That something greater than ourselves and something very special is most often, if we are so blessed, our families. From our families we receive our identities, find our acceptance and support, and develop our concepts of self-worth.
Sadly, this is not always the case. Families under the assault of Satan can become quite dysfunctional. This can result in indescribable grief. However, irrespective of our human families, Jesus has made us part of His family—the family of God! While we may be ashamed of some of our relatives, or they in turn may be ashamed of us—Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters! Remember His own words when His mother and brothers came once to see Him: “Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother” (Mt. 12:50). Take heart, my dear friends! Jesus is your big Brother! He acknowledges you and watches over you!
Our text proceeds with three Old Testament quotations taken from the mouth of the Promised Christ, our Lord Jesus: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” And again:“I will put My trust in Him.” And again:“Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.” Jesus is God’s Name Declarer! There are people who like to drop names into their conversation. “I can remember the time when Governor Dayton ask me for my opinions…,” or “You know, that Matt Damon is such a nice guy. I met him at a restaurant once….” They do so to feel important and to gain stature in the eyes of others.
Jesus never dropped names to make Himself look important, but He did declare and continues to declare His Father’s name to us for a very specific purpose that brings us great benefit. He revealed that purpose and that benefit in what is often called His “High Priestly” prayer: “I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (Jn. 17:26). Jesus wants us to know His Father as the Lord of our lives and the Giver of every good gift, so that we might fully comprehend His love, be drawn to Him by the love, and then be led to love as Jesus comes to live within us (cf. Rev. 3:20).
The writer to the Hebrews goes on: “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same.” Jesus is our Flesh and Blood Sharer! One of the major themes of the book of Hebrews is that Jesus is the Son of God who has come in the flesh. Our text emphasizes the fact that Jesus “shared” that flesh and blood with us.
Why is that important? It is important because we can quite easily become convinced that nobody including Jesus can truly understand our situations. We can so easily feel all alone. Satan wants to use such feelings to lead us to give up on God and on life and then to despair. Jesus, however because He shares our flesh and blood bodies, is in a position to know exactly what we are going through. In the verses that immediately follow our text we are told: “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Heb. 2:17-18). Because Jesus is our Flesh and Blood Sharer He can approach us with empathy and help us in our every weakness!
Our text continues: “He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Jesus is our Devil-Destroyer! This text, perhaps more than any other in Scripture, looks at the many blessed outcomes of Jesus’ death on Good Friday, which explains why we can call it “good” in spite of the fact that Jesus suffered and died.
When the devil rebelled against God he was cast out of heaven and sentenced to spend eternity in hell—the ultimate separation of any being from God. Consequently, the devil like a mad dog wants to tear apart and destroy anything in front of him including you and me. Death is a weapon the devil wields relentlessly in this world to impose his will on lost souls. Lost souls will do virtually anything to avoid death, including continuing to reject God and His Christ, which sadly leads to eternal death. But Jesus through His death and subsequent resurrection destroyed the devil and removes the power he possesses through death! How is this the case?
Our text explains: He…release(d) those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Jesus destroyed the power of the devil, because He is our Fear of Death Releaser! I cannot tell you how many times I have heard members of Immanuel as well as other Christians make comments something like this when facing major trials and troubles: “I do not know how people who have no faith can deal with something like this!” This is true whether we are talking about the presence of a life-threatening illness, or a devastating accident, or the actual death of a loved one. But Jesus has the answer to the fear of death for anyone who is led by the Spirit to place his or her faith in Him. He is our Fear of Death Releaser, for in Christ death simply becomes the door to everlasting life! True, death leaves a gap in the lives of those who are left behind and temporarily ends the dying person’s relationship with them, but for the believing Christian physical death is not an end of their existence, but merely an end of this earthly existence with all of its troubles! Consequently, death is not something we need fear, but rather welcome as God’s final “amen” to a life of service well-lived!
Our text concludes with these words: “For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.” Jesus is, finally, our Aid-Giver! When the Bible tells us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son” (Jn. 3:16), it is talking about this world of lost human beings. Jesus did not come to save Satan and his evil angels, but you and me and all other human beings. As such Jesus’ work of perfect obedience brings us the righteousness we need to stand before God with absolute confidence and joyful expectation! His innocent sufferings and death as our Substitute have removed our sins, which call for our judgment, as far from us as the east is from the west!” (Ps. 103:12) As God’s children by faith Jesus commands us, “Ask,” and then promises, “It shall be given!” (Mt. 7:7) Jesus, who is our Head, gives aid to us, His body (Eph. 1:22-23) and promises to provide us with everything we truly need (cf. Ps. 23:1).
My dear friends, BEHOLD JESUS—THE CHRIST GOD SENT TO DO SO MUCH FOR US! May we do so with joy and experience God’s great blessing! Amen.
--Pastor Paul D. Nolting
To God alone be glory!