Saturday, May 8, 2021

The Sufferings of Jesus (Hebrews 2:5-11)

"In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the Author of their salvation perfect through suffering" (Hebrews 2:10).

Hebrews 2:5–18 argues that God intended to put not only the first creation but also the new creation under human dominion. Humanity lost that dominion when Adam sinned, but in Christ it has been regained. Hebrews continues to contrast humanity with the angelic host, saying that even though angels are might and glorious, it was man who was created to rule the cosmos.

He has cited Psalm 8:4–6 to show that everything was put under man’s dominion. But, he continues, we don’t presently see all things under man’s dominion. Indeed, the world continues to scourge us with thorns and thistles, pain and diseases. Do we have reason to believe, then, that man shall have dominion? Yes, because we can look at Jesus, who has ascended on high to the Father’s right hand, and who is bringing all he rest of us to that estate of glory (Hebrews 2:8–10).

Jesus left His throne in heaven, setting aside His glory and rule, in order to become lower than the angels with us. Further, He suffered and died for our sins. He went through what we go through, but He went through it in the maximum degree. He took the suffering and death that we deserve, so that our suffering is (a) greatly reduced and (b) transformed into marks of privilege, for it is a privilege to be called to join Christ in suffering.

Verse 9 says that He “tasted death for everyone.” In a weak sense, Jesus’ death provides benefits for everybody. In the strong sense, Jesus died only for His own sheep. In Hebrews 2:9, the “everyone” is the “many sons” of verse 10. Jesus tasted death for every one of those He came to save.

It was fitting, says verse 10, for Jesus to be made “perfect” through suffering. This does not mean that Jesus had sins or imperfections that needed to be scourged away, or that He had rough edges that needed to be smoothed. Rather, “perfect” here means “completed.” Jesus’ suffering and death completed the purpose for which He came into the world. Now that we are saved and stand in union with Christ, we are sent into the world, and our suffering and death complete our task of furthering the kingdom He inaugurated.

This lesson explains how our union with Christ completely transforms our suffering and death. Seek to apply this to your life. Perhaps on the job you should voluntarily humble yourself under the “angels” (bosses) being sent by Christ as a transforming agent. You might try the same in your home.