Monday, March 2

Reader: “For only as a human being could he die,”

Response:  “and only by dying could he break the power of the devil.”

Scripture: Hebrews 2:10-18

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.

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.  For he said to God,

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

    I will praise you among your assembled people.”

He also said,

“I will put my trust in him,”

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

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. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.

We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. 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. 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:
We’ve seen pleas on commercials for people to adopt homeless pets. Adoption is a unique process and an old wonderful concept. One may adopt a dog, but by adopting you don’t become part of the dog’s family lineage. You can love a dog, but you can’t become a dog. When you get sick, you don’t go to the vet!  And the dog, in spite of what some people think, can’t become human! I don’t know if you’ve ever given it thought as to why Jesus became a human being? In all other religions, the god remained a distant god separated from this world. There was no relational or human element to any of these gods. They were beyond face to face encounters.One of the greatest challenges to the Jewish faith is the difficulty of reconciling God who is Spirit and Jesus who claims to be God, but God with human flesh, and not just human flesh, but completely human in every way. The above Scripture is profound. If God were not completely human in every way, then the sacrificial death would be a faux sacrifice. A spiritual god dying a spiritual death would not solve the human problem. If humans were to become “brothers and sisters” of our Lord, then our Lord would truly have to become one of us in order that we might be able to be adopted. Dogs and people are not of the same family. Heaven and earth are not of the same family unless . . .heaven condescends to earth . . . unless the Spiritual takes on flesh and blood, born of a virgin woman. The impregnation had to come from God the Spirit in order to unite the two worlds. The glorious truth is that now, death is forever defeated as, by the power of God, the God-Man, Jesus was raised from the grave destroying the devil’s power over death. Notice also in this passage has no bearing on angels, which are not human beings. This comment reflects a clarifying factor to the Jewish readers who held angels in highest esteem. The portion you read is part of a larger discussion the author is writing in regard to the superiority of Jesus over angelic beings. In this season we are reminded anew of the humanity of Jesus and his dealing with all the temptations and struggles of this life of ours. He knows. He’s experienced it. He is able to help us, even this day. He’s adopted us into his family.

Music: “Jesus, Lover of My Soul”   Fernando Ortega

Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, who has taken our humanity in human flesh to be seated at the right hand of God the Father, we bow before you again this day with hearts filled with gratitude. What you have willingly laid aside to become one of us that the whole world might be restored, is truly more than we can ever comprehend. It is beyond our imagination or conception as to what the heavenly realm is like as we have only veiled and shadowy thoughts at this point. In your presence we may have greater understanding of your great love, demonstrated in your humbling to become one of us as our Brother who adopted us into his immortal family. All praise and glory to you, one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.          ―Daniel Sharp