By Rich Lambert
“For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere, ‘What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.’ Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, ‘I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.’” – Hebrews 2:5-12
The good news for us today is all things have been put under the feet of Jesus. All things. He has supreme authority and rule over all things (v. 8). All. Things. That means that even the worst parts of our world, the parts that make us wince and flinch the most are his subjects. They must bow to him. They must yield to his decree. They cannot escape his final judgment and verdict. And the standard he judges by is himself.
If Jesus came into the world to alleviate the world’s suffering through his own (v. 9), then the powers and residents of the world cannot continue to choose suffering as a way of life. If the Son of God has come into the world to make obsolete our death through his own, we have no right to go on inflicting death upon ourselves and one another. If Jesus has come into the world to be the living embodiment of the glory of God, an embodiment we must now share, we cannot continue to clothe ourselves and one another with disgrace and dishonor and get away with it.
Jesus judges all things by his own beauty—his righteousness, his suffering, his reconciliation, his peace-making, his grace. The worst things in our world are answerable to the best parts of Jesus (v. 10). Admittedly, says the writer to the Hebrews, it feels like the darkest designs and impulses are winning in our world (we do not yet see everything in subjection to him, v. 8b), but then the writer assures us. We may not be able to see it yet, but he strides over all things, and all must be transformed to shine with reflected glory, or else be rejected and defeated as an enemy. We will yet see him win. We will yet see all reconciled things win in him and share his rejoicing. In that way, there is a breath of Advent whispering through this passage—not yet, but certain to come, and hopefully soon!
That means, as we meditate on this truth, as we soak in it, the sounds that come from us should change—from groans and whimpers and sobs, to sighs of relief and laughs and songs of joy. It also means that we can speak up for the joys of righteousness. We can speak up for the healing of reconciliation. We can speak up for the freedom of grace. Who knows? Jesus won us with these powers and gifts, maybe he will win others with them, too. So let the world carry on with its slanders and blasphemies and threats and insults. Let the world go on worshiping itself and fasting at its own crooked altars. We have an answer to all of it, sure to provoke mocking even as it is cheered in heaven and shakes the foundations of the earth. “Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen.” (See Rev. 22:20.)
Faith and Practice:
When events in our world, whether distant or local, move you to anguish and sorrow and fear, do you scramble for some fleshly solution, or do you cry out for Jesus to return and put all things right? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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