Jesus is the bridge between what we are and what we are made to be!
Hebrews begins with a stress on the greatness of Jesus: he is the heir of all things; through him all things were made; he is the radiance of God‘s glory and the exact representation of God’s nature; he upholds the universe by the word of his power; he made purification for sins once for all time and then sat down at the right hand of the Majesty of God in heaven where he reigns today until all his enemies are put under his feet.
And then comes the challenge:
On the basis of the greatness of Christ, it is crazy not to pay attention to this final Word of God (1:1–2), and of neglecting our great salvation (1:3). “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”
The writer suggests that it is suicidal to hear about such amazing news and then not react. On the negative side, it’s like hearing a tornado warning and not taking steps for your own protection. On the positive side, it’s rather like that programme Cash in the Attic which is based on the premise that people have something valuable, tucked away that they don’t know about. Bring it down, dust it off and you could have a fortune on your hands! Don’t neglect so great a nest-egg!
But what is it, exactly? What is this “great salvation”?
The writer goes on to talk in 2:5ff. about the greatness of what our salvation really is. He focuses on is the purpose of God for human beings to one day have a magnificent position of glory and honour under God and over the creation he has made. In 2:6–8 he quotes Psalm 8 about how man is crowned with glory and honour and has all things in subjection under his feet.
Are we there yet?
Nope. That phrase always takes me back to those long car journeys with the frustrated chorus from my kids on the back seat that began almost as soon as we left the driveway and continued for pretty much the entire duration of the trip. No, we are not there yet. We have further to travel. So it is with us and the matter of our “great salvation”. And the writer knew this full well: this great destiny appointed for man is not now a reality. So he says at the end of verse 8: “But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.” Instead of gloriously ruling over creation, man suffers and dies. We manage instant global communication; we conquer all manner of disease but we cannot stop aging and death. Psalm 8 has a fulfilment that is not yet seen. It is prophetic of an unseen future.
How do we get into the destiny promised in Psalm 8?
So what then is the answer to this subjection to death? How do we come to the promised destiny of Psalm 8? The answer the writer gives is that Jesus Christ came into the world as a human being so that he could be the forerunner of a new humanity that will burst the bonds of sin and futility and death and enter the glory and honour promised by God.
This is what he says in verse 9. We don’t see all things yet subject to man, But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
Jesus the road-builder
Jesus is pioneering a route, like a road-builder machete-ing his way through a jungle. He has come just as we are, fully human, to break through the futility of death, to rise into the glory of risen life. The reason I call him a road-builder is because verse 10 makes clear that what the Son of God was doing when he became a human being was “leading many sons to glory.” Look at verse 10: “For it was fitting for Him [i.e., God the Father], for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.” Now there are a lot of important things to see in that verse, but notice first just this: what God is doing in sending his Son into the world to suffer is bringing many sons to glory.
The Promised glory!
What glory is he talking about? It’s the same glory promised in Psalm 8 in Hebrews 2:7, “You have crowned him with glory and honour and appointed him over the works of your hands.” This is the glory we have fallen from in our sin and rebellion against God. But now God is undertaking a “great salvation.” He sends his Son to taste death for us, deliver us from the futility and defeat and misery and condemnation of sin and death, and lead us to glory. To do this he has suffered and entered before us into that very glory, as verse 9 says: “Jesus, because of the suffering of death [is] crowned with glory and honour.”
So he is our Forerunner. He becomes a human being. He suffers and he dies in our place. He rises from the dead victorious, and he enters into glory. Why? So that he might “lead many sons to glory.”
So what we need to see here is that the writer is still talking about the Great Salvation mentioned in verse 3. Our great salvation is that we are destined for glory through the incarnation, suffering, death, resurrection, and glorification of Jesus Christ our Forerunner. The promise of Psalm 8 will be fulfilled for us because it has already been fulfilled in Jesus, our Forerunner. He “tasted death for us” so that he could “lead us to glory.”
Your destiny is AMAZING!
This is a great salvation because the destiny we are saved for is great: we will one day break free from cancer and paralysis and arthritis and blindness and depression and corruption and futility and inherit the glory of the risen Son of God. He has been crowned with glory and honor (2:9); and that is where he is leading us. And it is a great salvation because the Savior is great: This is the Son of God who came, not an angel, not a mere human being, but the Son of God, who is God—worshiped and revered forever. No one less than God has come to lead us to glory. So this is a great salvation because the Forerunner is great and because the goal is great. The Forerunner is the Son of God and the goal is glory of God.
- Watching for drift (tithebarn.wordpress.com)
- Prayer: We Get the Help, He Gets the Glory (phenum01.com)
- Grace of God (meanlittleboy2.wordpress.com)
- Perfectly Crowned (passionatelyabiding.wordpress.com)
- Thoughts on Holiness (clairenecessary.wordpress.com)