Series Title: Jesus is GREATER than…
Message: ‘Jesus… Why God became human’
Text: Hebrews 2:10-18
Introduction: I want to start off with a story… a true story. But.. it’s a little long. However I believe it’s worth the listen.
There is an island is Hawaii called Molokai. In the late 1800’s there was no cure for the highly contagious and deadly disease called leprosy. A disease that would attack the extremities of the body, the ears, the toes, the nose, the fingers. A horrible dreadful disease which today is curable, But, it wasn’t back then.
So, in order to keep the disease from spreading and creating an epidemic, the government would send lepers to a colony on the island of Molakai where they would be isolated from those who were not infected with the disease.
In 1873, a young, Catholic priest named Father Damien volunteered to spend his life serving the people isolated on the island. When he arrived, he was startled to see people who were not only suffering physically, but socially, emotionally, and spiritually. In the leper colony he saw extreme drunkenness, immorality, abuse, and an overall sense of hopelessness.
- What he saw were people who desperately needed to know the answer to a question we all ask… where is God?
They needed God’s presence in their life.
So, knowing the dangers, realizing the inevitable results of so much personal contact with a highly contagious disease. In 1873, Father Damien lived among the 700 lepers.
- He built hospitals, clinics, churches and some 600 coffins. And the whole while as giving them the answer to that question… where is God?
Whenever a church service was held, he would stand up in front of the lepers, and he would warmly, and lovingly address them as “my dear brethren.” But then one morning in 1885, at the age of 45, in a calm clear voice, instead of “my dear brethren,” he began with, “My fellow lepers, I am one of you now.”
- You see it was out of love that a humble priest became one of the them.
- Out of love he gave those lepers a gift that would change their life for all of eternity.
He shared with them the answer to the ever-present question… “Where is God?” And the only way he could give them the answer was by becoming one of them. (SermonCentral)
Background: The incarnation… God becoming human. God the Son, taking on flesh and blood. Why? Well the Bible is full of answers to that question. Today in Hebrews 2:10-18 we’ll look a just a few.
And it all has to do with salvation, being saved, born again, becoming a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. None of that could have happened had God not become human.
- Just like the lepers on the island of Molokai could not have learned about Jesus unless Father Damien came to live with them… to live as one of them.
Transition: So, open your Bibles to Hebrews 2:10.
- Hebrews 2:10 Jesus’ death was fitting
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.
Verse 9 says that Jesus tasted death, died, for everyone. That is the doctrine of substitution.
- Jesus died in our place, on our behalf.
When it comes to living rightly before God and entering heaven when we die… Jesus is our substitute, because we could never do it on our own.
- That’s the central aspect of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the heart of the Good News.
Look, as I said last week, humanities central and most significant problem, is that it, we, sin against God… And that while God is a loving God, He is also a holy God, requiring payment for our sin against Him… That’s’ where Jesus steps in.
- He takes the full judgment and wrath of God for our sin.
- He pays the just penalty of our sin against God.
Bringing us forgiveness, reconciliation, acceptance and a future with God for all eternity.
All of that is a reality… only because Jesus tasted death, died for you and me. It can’t happen any other way… remember Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
And this is why the writer of Hebrews said For it was fitting. For… referring to Jesus’ death in verse 9, it was fitting, it was necessary, it was planned, it was the right thing for Jesus to do.
Because of the great love the Father has for humanity, it was planned that God the Son would take on flesh, become human, so that He would die as a human, satisfying God’s justice.
And notice that God wants us to know a few other reasons it was fitting for Jesus to die.
For Whom and by Whom all things exist.
In other words, we are His creation, and… we were created… for Him.
- It was then fitting, right, that Jesus, die in our place, so that we might be reconciled to God, through faith in Jesus.
What was His end game… What did all of that look like? bringing many sons to glory Ladies… sons means sons and daughters… children. OK?
- First, Bringing many sons to glory… just so there’s no mistake, IS talking about salvation.
- Second, many sons is a reference to our being children of God, it’s about God adopting us into His forever family through faith in Jesus. Jesus is the only way to become a child of God.
- Third, glory is a reference to verse 7 and God’s original intent for humanity. We lost our glory and honor as a result of our sin, Jesus, by His death, restores our glory.
Finally, in verse 10 the writer adds should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.
Remember this letter was going to Jewish Christians who were thinking about leaving the church and going back to Judaism; back to the Law and the rituals.
- He was telling them, assuring them here that Jesus IS the only foundation of your salvation, of being right before God… not the Law, not Moses, not angels, not the rituals… Jesus.
- And He’s the founder, the basis for salvation, becoming right with God, because He alone suffered death for us.
Perfect here, doesn’t mean perfect as in perfection, it means complete… or fulfilled, or accomplished. Salvation is in Jesus, it’s complete in Jesus, it’s fulfilled in Jesus…
- . Christians, do you see all of that?
What Jesus did by dying for you and me is so much more than just forgiveness…
- Salvation is a new life, it’s a new self-worth, it’s a new image, it’s a new family, it’s a new place to live.. a new home.. It’s a new everything.
- Hebrews 2:11-13 Jesus’ relationship to the saved
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.” And again, “I will put My trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”
In these 3 verses we see just part of the relationship Jesus has with those who are His through faith.
First, the texts says He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified. Sanctifies means to be holy. The Apostle Peter speaking for God 1 Peter 1:16 writes You shall be holy, for I am holy.
Jesus made us holy, He sanctified us… past tense, when He saved us.
He made us holy, positionally, before God. Because of the work of Jesus on our behalf, God declares us righteous.
- It allows us total access into the Father presence.
Jesus also makes us holy, sanctifies us… (present continuous tense) he sanctifies us practically in our every day experiences.
- Before God’s throne we are righteous, down here we’re saved … but not w/o sin. We still fight against our flesh and more often than we’d like to admit, the flesh wins. We choose to sin.
- Jesus’ continual intercession on our behalf, forgives our sin and leads our hearts and minds to no loner choose sin, but choose doing what’s right, good, pure and godly.
Then we’re told 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.” And again, “I will put My trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”
Think if it this way…
- When you came to faith in Jesus and were saved, Jesus took out His cell phone and started to show all the angels your picture.
- He’s telling the angels how you got saved. And that God the father has adopted a new son, a new daughter into His family.
Jesus… does not hesitate a bit… to identify with you!
He is, never… ashamed of you.
- Let that sink in…
- What’s that do to your self-worth? To your image?
Pastor David Guzik comments: It’s not all that big a deal that I am not ashamed to associate with Jesus… what’s amazing is that he is not ashamed to associate with us.
- Hebrews 2:14-15 Jesus defeats the power of death
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
Pastor Charles Allen tells the following story. There was a little boy named John Todd who was born in Vermont, in 1800. When John was only six, both his parents died. All the children were sent to live with relatives and a kind hearted aunt who lived ten miles away agreed to take John, to love him, to care for him and to give him a home. The boy lived there for fifteen years and finally left to study for the ministry.
Time passed as he excelled in his work as a pastor. Later, his now elderly aunt fell desperately ill. Realizing death was not far off, in great distress she wrote her nephew. The letter included some of the same questions most all of us one day will ask.
- What will death be like? Will it be the end of everything?
Fear and uncertainty were easily traced in the quivering lines of her letter.
Moved with compassion and swamped with the wonderful life he had with his aunt, he wrote her these words of reassurance:
- It’s now 35 yrs since I a little boy of six was left quite alone in the world. You sent me word you would give me a home and be a kind mother to me. I have never forgotten the day when I made the long journey of ten miles to your house.
- I can still recall my disappointment when instead of coming for me yourself, you sent Caesar, your worker, to fetch me. I well remember my tears and my anxiety as perched high on your horse and clinging tight to Caesar, I rode off to my new home. Night fell before we finished the journey and as it grew dark I became lonely and afraid. “Do you think she will go to bed before I get there?” I ask Caesar. “Oh no,” he said reassuringly, “she sure will stay up for you. When we get out of these here woods you will see her light shining in the window.”
- As we rode out into a clearing, there sure enough was your light. I remember you were waiting at the door, that you put your arms close about me and that you lifted me a tired and bewildered little boy down from the horse. You had a big fire burning on the hearth and a hot supper waiting for me on the stove.
- After supper you took me to my new room, you heard me say my prayers and then you sat beside me until I fell asleep.
- Someday soon God will send for you to take you to a new home. Don’t fear the summons, or the strange journey of death. God can be trusted to do as much for you as you were kind enough to do for me so many years ago.
- At the end of the road you’ll find love and a welcome waiting and you will be safe in God’s care.
- I shall watch you and pray for you until you are out of sight and then wait for the day when I shall make the journey myself and find you waiting at the end of the road to greet me. (adapted from Don Anderson)
Listen, it’s OK. God knows and understands our fear of death, even as Christians. Why do most people fear death? Pastor Anoya describes it this way:
Because, death puts an end to all earthly activities.
- Whatever presents itself for you to do, do it with ⌊all⌋ your might, because there is no work, planning, knowledge, or skill in the grave where you’re going. (Ecclesiastes 9:10, GW)
People are afraid to die because they’re enjoying and have put all their hearts in all their earthly activities. But we cannot bring any worldly achievement to the grave.
Why do most people fear death? Because death strips us of all earthly possessions.
- for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. (1 Timothy 6:7, ESV)
People are afraid of dying because they will be leaving some earthly treasures they have accumulated for a long time.
But… Isn’t it better if Jesus, the source of all riches and wealth, becomes the greatest treasure of our life?
Why do most people fear death? Because death leads you to an uncertain future.
- For when a few years have come I shall go the way from which I shall not return. (Job 16:22, ESV)
If a person is unprepared in this earthly life, they will be facing a fearful future that will not allow them to go back to this earth.
- And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, (Hebrews 9:27, ESV)
Right after death, we will be judged for our sin. If we are w/o Jesus, our future will be in hell.
But there’s GOOD NEWS!!!
Hebrews 2:14-15 says that Jesus became one of us. He destroyed the devil, the power behind death. Jesus died to rescue all of us from the fear of death.
When the writer says Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood He Himself likewise partook of the same things, he’s declaring that Jesus, as God’s Son, and Christians, as adopted children of God, all share, have in common, flesh and blood… in other words,
- We share what it means to be human.
And that includes death.
- We all die… so Jesus too had to die.
Now.. that was a real problem for the Jewish Christians this letter was address to. You see, the Jewish mind, couldn’t grasp the concept of a suffering Savior a Messiah… who dies.
- It was inconsistent with their idea of a conquering Messiah.
Even though the OT is not short on texts that show God’s Messiah must suffer; read Isaiah 53 sometime.
But listen, the death of Jesus was not like our death.
Here’s how the writer put it: that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery
Two amazing truths here that only God Himself could do…
First, by dying, Jesus destroyed the power of death by defeating the source of its power, the devil.
Note that Jesus did not destroy the devil. He’s alive and well and lives to manipulate and terrorize humanity into following him and rejecting Jesus. The devil is a real being… make no mistake.
What Jesus defeated was the devils power over Christians.
- Look, the devil wants us to die in our sin. When we do, he will be our ruler in Hell. That’s what he wants for everyone.
- But, when someone places their faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sin and are saved by God’s grace, they will never die in their sin. Jesus already did that for them.
Christian, death, the devil, no longer have power over you, you belong to God, you are His child… forever.
Second, by dying, Jesus delivers those who place their faith in Him, from the fear of death that continually enslaves them.
One thing the devil can still do is fool us into fearing death. And that fear of death causes us to do a lot of things that aren’t good for us.
- We adopt the worldly idea to Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.
- We live as if it Miller time.. all the time.
- We live as if there’s no tomorrow.
Christians do that too, when they believe the devils lie that this life is all there is. And that leads to lives that are filled with fear, anxiety, despair and frustration.
Jesus’ life and death, His resurrection and ascension, all prove to the Christian, that this life is NOT all there is.
- We are part of God’s forever family as His adopted children through faith in Jesus.
- Jesus has made us holy, and is working to make us more holy in the practical aspects of life.
- Jesus has promised us a home in heaven.. where He is, for all eternity. He is there right now preparing that place for us (John 14:1-6)
- Jesus’ dying on the cross will restore the glory and honor God intended for us when we get to heaven.
We no longer have any reason to fear death, for just as Jesus was raised from the dead, we will too, one day.
Here’s, I think, the major point here:
- Once we’re convinced that this life is not all there is and that death doesn’t end it all,
- we’ll start to live for the future, our future in heaven with Jesus.
Then… the fear of death.. is gone!
- Hebrews 2:16-18 Jesus knows and helps
For surely it is not angels that He helps, but He helps the offspring of Abraham.
Christians, are the offspring of Abraham… not by flesh or nationality or even religion, but by faith.
- He’s saying that it’s not angels whom Jesus helps, it’s saved humanity, the offspring of Abraham.
So, Jesus became human to help humans… how,
First to be saved. Therefore, He had to be made like His brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
Jesus came to be our propitiation. That means he came
- to satisfy God’s need for justice when we sin against Him
- To turn away God’s wrath for our sin.
- And to reconcile us to God.
The writer wanted his Jewish Christian audience to see Jesus as Israel’s ultimate and last High Priest.
- Who no longer makes sacrifices for sin with an animal, but who made the perfect sacrifice by giving His own life… once, for all.
- Thereby ending the need for the whole Jewish sacrificial system.
Then the writer adds this: For because He Himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.
This is the ongoing work of Jesus, our High Priest.
ILL: In the Our Daily Bread devotional you’ll find this story: “Puppies for Sale,” the sign said, and a young boy came to inquire. “I’d like to buy one, if they don’t cost too much.” “Well, son, they’re $25.” The boy was crushed. “I’ve only got $2.05. Could I see them anyway?” “Sure,” said the kind gentleman.
The boy’s eyes danced at the sight of 5 little fur balls. “I heard that one has a bad leg,” said the boy. “Yes, I’m afraid he’s going to have a limp for life.” “That’s the puppy I want. Could I pay for her a little at a time?” “But she’ll always have a limp,” he said.
Smiling bravely the boy pulled up his pant leg revealing a brace. “I don’t walk too good either,” he told the man. Then, looking at the puppy, “I guess she’ll need a lot of love and help. I sure did. It’s not so easy being handicapped.” ”Here, take her,” the man said, “I know you’ll give her a good home.”
Can you see the point? Jesus became like us, human, so that he can help us when we struggle with temptation. Because He too was tempted.
- Understand, I’m not talking theoretically, academically or hypothetically…
- Jesus was tempted… practically, personally.
Jesus knows what it’s like to live in a fallen world that’s antagonistic to God and to the things of God.
- He knows what it’s like to struggle to do the right thing at work, in school, when you’re on a date.
- He knows what it’s like to be tired, hungry, weak, betrayed.
- And he knows the temptations that often go along with all of that.
For the original readers, it was the temptation to go back to Judaism when they are persecuted for being a Christian. For us, it’s … well any number of temptations we experience, every day, in all areas of our lives.
- But in some way, every temptation has one thing in common, to rebel, reject or disobey God.
In our time of temptation… Jesus, became human so He could understand and help.
The Greek word for help can also be translated to come to the aid. The picture is of a volunteer firefighter when a house is on fire.
- They are comfortably at home, reading the paper or watching TV, they’re eating dinner or playing with their kids.
- . when the alarm goes off and they get the call, they drop everything, rush to the fire station to get their gear, and they race to the fire, w/o stopping.
That’s the picture the writer wants us to see about Jesus and His desire to help us when we are being tempted to sin.
The Apostle Paul knew something about that when he wrote 1 Corinthians 10:13
- No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Jesus knows what you are going through, He understands your struggle, your hurt, your fear and anxiety. He can help… you can trust Him.
Conclusion: Allow me to end with a quote from Pastor and theologian John Calvin. This is the wonderful exchange which, out of His measureless benevolence, He has made with us;
- that, becoming Son of man with us, He has made us sons of God with Him;
- that, by His descent to earth, He has prepared an ascent to heaven for us;
- that, by taking on our mortality, He has conferred His immortality upon us;
- that, accepting our weakness, He has strengthened us by His power;
- that, receiving our poverty unto Himself, He has transferred His wealth to us;
- that, taking the weight of our iniquity upon Himself (which oppressed us), He has clothed us with His righteousness.
So the question my friends is this… have you experienced that wonderful exchange, John Calvin was talking about? (Steve Cole)
- Have you been forgiven of your sin?
- Have you been accepted by God?
- Have you been adopted into His forever family as His beloved child?
- Have you experienced the blessings of Jesus interceding on your behalf to the Father?
- Have you felt the touch of Jesus’s hand on your life, guiding, helping, comforting…loving you like no other?
If you haven’t, the Apostle Paul wrote you this amazing promise of God: if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved…For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
(Romans 10:9-10, 13)