Friday, May 23, 2014

Hebrews 5-18 He's the Man!!

When you are in the midst of a trial, there is nothing more annoying than listening to the advice of “Monday morning quarterbacks” who presume to tell you what you should do to get out of the situation, or, worse, what you should have done to avoid the problem in the first place. It’s irritating and insulting to have someone advise you who has never been in your place, but is certain he has all the answers. However, when you meet someone who has been through the exact same trial, you find comfort in the shared pain, and you are much more willing to listen to that person’s suggestions and you welcome his encouragement.

Jon Courson tells the following story:

A cartoon in the newspaper depicted President Bill Clinton bidding farewell to the U.S. troops leaving for Bosnia. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do,” he calls. The next frame is of one soldier saying, “We already are.” (Application Commnetary: New Testament, P. 1455)

This morning’s passage in Hebrews reminds us that we DO have a Captain who never sends us anywhere that He hasn’t already been. He is a Savior who understands, because He has been through the same trials we face.

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. (Hebrews 2: 4-10 NIV)

Taking up the subject of angels once more, the writer of Hebrews repeats His theme that Jesus is superior to all as our Savior, because He was made fully man. In these verses the ramifications of the Fall are evident. God originally gave Adam and Eve the management of all He had created. But they blew it (even as we do daily). So now we see the world under the temporary dominion of Satan: Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. (vs. 8b)

Jesus sits, now crowned with glory and honor, at the right hand of the Father, because he suffered death. He tasted death for everyone. Courson points out that in tasting death as a real man, Jesus fulfilled the role of a cupbearer in biblical times. The job of the cupbearer was to taste the food and wine laid before a king in order to protect the king from poisoning. Should someone lace the king’s wine with poison, the cupbearer would be the one to taste death, and the king would be saved through the cupbearer’s death. Jesus, our Cupbearer, asked the Father if that cup might be removed, but submitted in obedience to taste death for all of us.

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. (vs. 14-18 NIV)

We do not have a Savior who sends his troops off to face battles He knows nothing about. He has been through them all and knows what is in store for us. He understands our suffering, because He suffered it all ahead of us! When you pour out your heart to Him, He can say without reservation, “I know. I get it! I’ve been right where you are. Trust me.” Hallelujah, what a Savior!  

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