Friday, December 14

The Son became flesh and blood.

Candle Lighter:It was necessary for him…”
Response: “…to be made in every respect like us.

Scripture: Hebrews 2:10-18

10 God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.

11 So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. 12 For he said to God,

“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.

   I will praise you among your assembled people.”

13 He also said,

“I will put my trust in him,”

   that is, “I and the children God has given me.”

14 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.

16 We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.18 Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.

Reader: The word of the Lord.
Response: Thanks be to God.

Some thoughts:
This portion of Scripture is another passage that is so rich on so many levels. We’ll limit ourselves to only a few observations. The next six days we’ll be working our way through the book of Hebrews. Again, a little context will help us grasp some of the deeper meaning. There is evidence that this entire letter was a sermon by an anonymous writer who was very knowledgeable of the Hebrew Bible and assumed his readers were likewise well-versed in the Old Testament. His overall point is to establish that Jesus, the Messiah, is superior to angels, Moses, and everything else in creation and that Jesus alone is the bridge to the Father, the High Priest of our worship. It was very hard for the Jews to accept that God would take on human flesh and be born of a woman. In this section the writer seeks to explain why God had to become human if the sacrificial death was to be efficacious, that is, to accomplish what it was supposed to do from the standpoint, not of man, but of God the Father. So in verse ten the writer plays on the word “son.” In preceding verses he has referred to Jesus as the “son of man,” a term with messianic implication familiar to the book of Daniel. The word above is translated above is “children,” since it is referring to both male and female, though the word in Greek is “sons.” He is establishing that humans are Jesus’ brother and sisters in flesh and blood. God is exactly and humanly like us in every detail. (v.11)  Verse fourteen states this truth very clearly and very bluntly. There is no god or deity in any religion who took on human flesh and was actually a person. To the Jew and those curious as to the nature of Jesus, this was something to process, and it still is today! The rest of the verse and verse fifteen state as clearly as anywhere in the Bible why it was necessary for Jesus to enter the world in a stable in Bethlehem. If Jesus died, only as God with no human connection, it would do humans no good. God doesn’t die but human beings do. The point is to provide a way for humans to live forever with God in God’s world. Satan held the power of death from the Garden of Eden on. Men and women were slaves to that death. By taking human form, as Paul writes in Philippians, Jesus was us! His resurrection broke the devil’s hold on death and provided the way out of this world so to speak. Angels were held in very high view by the Jews as they were messengers from God. Here the writer elevates the view of humans by stating that Jesus didn’t die for the angels but for the “brothers and sisters” of Abraham. There is more to say about the priesthood of Jesus, but that is in coming days! He concludes this little section with an underlining of the humanity of Jesus by referring to the suffering and testing that Jesus endured while here on earth. He is making sure that the readers know that even though Jesus was God in the flesh, he experienced everything we experience and, as a result, is able to help us with our struggles. And all of this grows out of that silent night in Bethlehem!

Music: “Silent Night”  Celtic Women

O Father of Jesus, help me to approach thee with deepest reverence, not with presumption, not with servile fear, but with holy boldness. Thou art beyond the grasp of my understanding, but not beyond that of my love. Thou knowest that I love thee supremely, for thou art supremely adorable, good, perfect. My heart melts at the love of Jesus, by brother, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, married to me, dead for me, risen for me; He is mine and I am his, given to me as well as for me. I am never so much mine as when I am his, or so much lost to myself until lost in him; then I find my true manhood. But my love is frost and cold, ice and snow; let his love warm me, lighten my burden, be my heaven. May it be more revealed to me in all its influences that my love to him may be more fervent and glowing; let the mighty tide of his everlasting love cover the rocks of my sin and care; then let my spirit float above those things which had else wrecked my life. Make me fruitful by living to that love, my character becoming more beautiful every day. If traces of Christ’s love-artistry be upon me, may he work on with his divine brush until the complete image be obtained and I be made a perfect copy of him, my master. O Lord Jesus, come to me, O Divine Spirit, rest upon me, O Holy Father, look on me in mercy for the sake of the well-beloved.
― The Valley of Vision, p.25

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