Hebrews 2 — What Christmas is all about (part 3)

For the past couple of days, we’ve been looking at Christmas through the lens of Hebrews. First, we talked about how it was because of Christmas that we can truly see what God is like. That through Jesus, the invisible God became visible.

Then yesterday, we talked about the second reason Jesus came. That because of our sin, this world became messed up. We were meant to rule over this earth as God’s representatives and children, but our sin made a mess of this world and our lives.

But when Jesus came, he paid the price for our sin, taking God’s wrath upon himself. Now he has blazed the way to salvation for us. All we have to do is trust in and follow him, and God’s original plan for us will come to fruition. The day will come when we will reign with Christ for all eternity, crowned with glory and honor.

There is, however, a third reason Jesus came, and we see this also in chapter 2. He came to identify with us. To truly understand us.

So often, we think of God in heaven, and he seems too transcendent. How could such a God truly understand all that we go through.

But God came down to earth in Jesus Christ, and he experienced all that we do. The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus, our “pioneer”, was made perfect through suffering (10).

What does that mean? Wasn’t Jesus already perfect? Certainly in terms of sinlessness he was. But he became more “complete” as a Savior by identifying with us in every way. By taking on human flesh and learning what it means to suffer in an imperfect world, to go through the strongest of temptations and overcome, and ultimately to die and overcome death itself.

Because Jesus did all of that, the writer of Hebrews says,

Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. (11)

In other words, because Jesus became a man, he truly became one of us. And he can call us brothers and sisters and really mean it.

Throughout the Psalms that are quoted in verses 12-13, you see the joy of Jesus as he calls us his own brothers, sisters, and children. He makes no distinction between us and him.

Again in verse 14-15, it says,

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy 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.

Like us, Jesus took on flesh and blood. But unlike us, he never sinned. And now by offering the perfect sacrifice for sin, he destroyed Satan’s hold over us and has set us free from the fear of death and hell.

But there’s one last thing. The writer of Hebrews tells us,

For this reason he had to be made like his brothers 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. (17-18)

Put another way, he understands our weakness as he never had before because now he himself has experienced it. And because of that, he has become a merciful high priest for us. So when we now cry out because of our struggles with sin or the pains of life, he understands.

That’s the wonder of Christmas. Of “God with us.” The wonder is that he now truly understands us.

I love the song that says,

He knows all the struggles you are going through.
He knows the pain you’re feeling.

He hears the silent cries you hold within your heart.
And he wants so much to show you
That he knows.

–Brian Becker

About bkshiroma

I'm from Hawaii, but have been in Japan as a missionary/English teacher since 1995. I'm currently going to a church called Crossroad Nishinomiya, an international church in Nishinomiya, a city right between Kobe and Osaka. Check out their website: crossroad-web.com 私がハワイから来ましたけど1995年に宣教師と英会話の教師として日本に引っ越しました。 今西宮にあるクロスロード西宮という国際の教会に行っています。どうぞ、そのホムページを見てください: crossroad-web.com
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