2:5-9

Hebrews 2:5-9

 

Hebrews 2:9 begins with the statement, "But we do see Him [Jesus]..."  Obviously that verse picks up in middle of a thought.  To understand the statement "But we do see Him..." must understand the larger thought of which it is a part.  In 2:5-8 the writer of Hebrews makes the point that humanity was made by God a little lower than angels and all creation has been subjected to humanity.  The previous paragraph ends with the writer declaring, "But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him."  And then he continues that thought with this statement in Hebrews 2:9.

 

This section of Hebrews reminds us of some significant truths about who we are and what we should see when we look at Jesus.

 

What Hebrews 2:5-8 tells us about ourselves

 

There is an old parable about a man who discovered his shadow… as he watched his shadow move along with him, the man made the erroneous assumption that his shadow must be alive just as he was alive…and because his shadow followed him so faithfully and never left his side, he decided his shadow must be his servant… however, gradually the man’s idea about his shadow began to change…since the shadow never really did anything to serve him, the man began to think that instead of the shadow being his servant, he must be his shadow’s servant…he began to be concerned about the comfort and welfare of his shadow…he would awkwardly position himself so that his shadow might sit in a chair or lie on a bed…before long, the poor deluded man became nothing more than the shadow of his shadow…

 

I share that little parable as reminder of the importance of us understanding our identity…if we fail to understand clearly who we are, all kinds of negative consequences can occur in our lives…Hebrews 2:5-8 has something of value to say to us about who we are…the thought of this passage is a little difficult to follow… but if look carefully at these verses, will discover two important truths about ourselves…and we can’t really understand who we are until we understand these two truths…

 

On one hand, the Bible teaches we are a unique creation of God and as such each of us has dignity, value, and worth

1.   One of the characteristics of Hebrews is that it makes extensive use of the OT…throughout this book are numerous and lengthy OT quotes…this passage good example of that…the bulk of Hebrews 2:5-8 is a quote from Psalm 8…

2.   Can’t understand this paragraph in Hebrews unless understand Psalm 8…and key to understanding Psalm 8 is identifying the subject of the Psalm…when look at Psalm 8 it is clear the Psalm is about humanity…it’s about us…we are the subject… David looked at the vastness of the universe in which we live and asked the question of God, “What is man, that Thou rememberest Him? Or the son of man, that thou art concerned wtih him?”…because Jesus often referred to Himself as “the Son of Man” some people mistakenly assume this verse is about Him…but in OT phrase “son of man” is often used simply to mean mankind…that’s how it is used here…

3.   Psalmist looked at how small, insignificant we seem in relation to our universe and asked, “Why would God be concerned about or involved with us?”…and as he thought about that the Psalmist came up with two specific answers…

 

·         God is concerned about us because He made us – Verse 7 (read text) refers to the creation story in Genesis…even cursory reading of that story reveals that man and woman were the highlight, the crown, the climactic event of the creative process …the way the account is written, it’s as if everything made before humanity was in preparation for us…without humanity, the crowning piece of the creative process, creation has no meaning or finality…over and over the Bible affirms that we are a unique creation of God…

--Job said, “Thy hands have fashioned me and made me altogether.”

--Psalmist said, “For Thou didst form my inward parts.  Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

--Paul said, “In Him we live and move and have our being.”

And ultimately our worth as a person does not come from what we may own or how much power we have or how we look or how smart we may be…comes from fact that each one of us is special creation of God…

·         God is concerned about us because He has given us a special place in creation – Notice what last part of v.7 and first part of v.8 says…”Thou…has appointed him over the works of thy hands; Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.” …God has given to us the great privilege of caring for, ruling over, managing, being stewards of His creation…

 

On the other hand we are people who have sinned against God

1.   Look at last phrase of v.8 – “But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.”…that’s one of the saddest statements in the Bible…while all things were made to be in subjection to us, that is not what is happening…as matter of fact, just the opposite is happening…while we were made to rule the world of things, the world of things is in reality ruling us…

2.   Why is that?  It’s becasue as Paul said in Romans 1:21 we have “…worshipped and served the creation rather than the Creator…”…we are like a child who has been given a wonderful gift by a parent then allowing the gift to become more important to him/her than the parent who gave it…in selfishness and self-centeredness, we have turned our backs on God and attempted be our own god’s…

3.   That is the essence of sin…sin in its most basic form is simply refusing to accept God as God and ourselves as His creation… when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, their transgression was not merely eating of the forbidden fruit, it was desiring to be their own god…the tempter’s promise to them was, “…if you eat of the fruit you will be like God…”

 

 

What Hebrews 2:9 tells us about Jesus

 

While at this point in time we do not see humanity as God intended us to be, we do see a preview of that in Jesus.  There are three significant statements about Jesus in this verse:

 

Jesus "has been made for a little while lower than the angels..."

1.   In chapter 1 the writer had gone to great lengths to demonstrated Jesus was in every way superior to angels...but in this verse he points out that for short time was made lower than angels...

2.   And that time, of course, was when He became flesh and came to our world...the greatest act of humility in all of creation was Jesus leaving the glory of heaven for the cross of earth...Paul put it this way in that beautiful passage in Philippians - "... although He [Jesus] existed in the form of God, [He] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man,  He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." [Phil.2:5-8]

3.   And that great act of humility by Jesus is an example for us to follow...no doubt you've heard the phrase, "He's full of himself..."...refers to person who is selfish, self-centered, who thinks he is better/superior/a cut above everyone else...

4.   And that kind of attitude is totally out of step with the attitude of Jesus...the Bible instructs us to have within ourselves the attitude Jesus had...and that means, as Paul put it in that same passage in Philippians 2 that we are to "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others."...that's kind of spirit which characterizes true Christians...

5.   And when you really see Jesus, see that spirit of humility in action...

 

 

Jesus was "...because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor..."

1.   Any account of the life of Jesus which does not include His sacrificial death is an incomplete account...have always been people who wanted to pick and choose from the sayings of Jesus to follow as their life's philosophy...but the sayings of Jesus lose their authority apart from a clear understanding of His purpose for coming to our world...

2.   The writer of Hebrews makes it clear that reason Jesus was made a little lower than he angels was to die...if we miss that, we miss the very heart of the gospel...one writer put it this way: "He became a man so that He could die.  He came to die because His death, and only His death, could accomplish [our] salvation.  Those tiny hands fashioned by the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb were made to take two great nails.  Those little feet were made to climb a hill and be nailed to a cross.  That sacred head was made to wear a crown of thorns, and that tender body wrapped in swaddling clothes was made to be pierced by a spear.  For this Christ came to earth.  His death was the furtherst thing from an accident.  And, despite the malignant evil that crucified Him, His death was the furthest thing from a tragedy.  It was God's ultimate plan for His Son and His ultimate gift for mankind." [McArthur, p.63)

4.   Whatever else you may see when you look at Jesus, if you don't see His sacrificial death on the cross for the sins of the world, you haven't really seen Him...

 

Jesus died "...for everyone."

1.   Jesus didn't just die on the cross...He died on the cross as a substitute for those who deserved to die...and the word "everyone" describes those who deserve to die...

2.   The Bible says "the wages of sin is death" and it also says that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God"...and because all people have sinned and because the wages of sin is death, it follows then that all people deserve to die, to be separated from God for eternity...

3.   However, Jesus, who never sinned and thus did not deserve to die, stepped in and died in our place...as the Apostle Paul put it, "He made Him who know no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." [2 Cor.5:21]

4.   And when you read the last phrase of Hebrews 2:9 would do well to substitute the word "me" for the word "everyone"...is perfectly correct for every person to read that phrase "...[Jesus came] that by the grace of God He might taste death for me."...

5.   In ancient days kings had food tasters whose job it was to taste the king's food to make certain it was free from poison or other contamination...being the food taster for the king wasn't one of the choice jobs in life!...when think about it ,that's sort of what Jesus did for us...He drank the poison of our sin so that we might have life...

6.   John R. Stott in the book Basic Christianity points out that "The Son of God identified himself with the sins of men.  He was not content to take our nature upon him; he took our iniquity as well.  He was not only 'made flesh' in the womb of Mary; he was 'made sin' on the cross of Calvary." [p.92]

 

CONCLUSION

1.   Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf was born in Austria in the year 1700...he became a very influential Christian thinker with a strong emphasis on evangelism and church unity...

2.   The turning point of Zinzendorf's life came when he was 19 years of age...he had just finished his degree in law and was sent off on a tour or European cities to complete his education...his family, which was quite wealthy, sent him on this tour to make him a man of the world but the desire of his heart was to be a man of God...

3.   In Dusseldorf he visited an art gallery and was intrigued by the masterful painting of Italian artist Domenico Fetti which is painting of Christ being presented to the angry mob by Pilate on the day of he crucifixion...

4.   For a long time Zinzendorf stood transfixed before the painting and the eyes of Christ seemed to penetrate his heart...Zinzendorf was deeply convicted by the inscription written above and below the painting...it said, "This I did for you; what are you doing for me?"...then and there, Zinzendorf committed himself to a life of service to Jesus...

5.   And when you look at Jesus and when you really see Him...when you see His--

--humility which motivated Him to leave the glory of heaven to come to our world...

--love which motivated him to suffer and die on the cross...

--willingness to be the substitute who took upon Himself the sentence of death we deserved...

How can we do anything less than commit ourselves to living a life of service to Him?

 

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