Sermon on Hebrews 2:10-18
Text: In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 12 He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.” 13 And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.”
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil — 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human 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. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
It won’t be too long before the Christmas of 2015 becomes a memory. The gifts have all been exchanged and put away. The sweets that are so much of the celebration have been eaten. The parties have all been hosted or attended. Christmas music has disappeared from the radio and in the stores. Some may have even put away their Christmas decorations for the year. The company has come and gone. I pray that you had a wonderful Christmas. However, before we leave the Christmas season, I would invite you to come with me one last time and look into the manger there in Bethlehem. There IN THE CHRISTMAS MANGER 1. Lies One Born Just Like You and 2. Lies One Born To Save People Just Like You.
As we study this portion of God’s Word, we see exactly who Jesus is and why he came to the earth. We see the relationship that exists between him and us. In verse 11, it says, “Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.” We are the brothers and sisters of Jesus. We might automatically think of the fact that, when we were brought to faith in Jesus as our Savior, we became a part of the family of God. That is absolutely true. However, there is another way in which we are his brothers and sisters and that is by virtue of the fact that Jesus took on human flesh and blood. He became part of the family of mankind.
This is part of Jesus’ active obedience. Jesus became a human being so that he would be subject to the laws of God. The apostle Paul put it this way, “When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.” As a human being, Jesus was under obligation, as is the rest of humanity, to keep all of the laws which God has given. This is why it was necessary that he be a human being. If Jesus were only God, he would have been above the laws. Then, he would not have been subject to them. He could not have served as our Substitute. However, because he was a human being, he was subject to the law. In this way, he served as our Substitute. He was a human being, like we are, and therefore, was under the law. He also was God, so that he could keep the law perfectly, which we cannot do.
In quoting from David and Isaiah, we are reminded of some of the ways in which he lived as our Substitute. It says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters.” We know that we have not done this as we should. There are many times where we have failed to declare the name of God to those around us. It might have been as we did not take advantage of opportunities that we were given to tell someone about what Jesus has done for them for fear that they would look at us differently. Where it says of Jesus that he “is not ashamed to call [us] brothers and sisters,” we cannot say that we have always proudly told others about our relationship with him. We have not declared his name when our actions and our words have been at odds with what God would have us do.
Yet, Jesus boldly and proudly told the people he came into contact with about what his Father had done for them and what he expected from them. He knew that they would not always like it. He knew that some would even plot to take his life. Yet, Jesus declared the name of his Father to those around him. He did this as our perfect Substitute.
Another instance of Jesus serving as our Substitute is mentioned, “I will put my trust in him.” Jesus always trusted in his Father. He did this because we do not. How many times don’t we find ourselves worrying about how things will turn out? Will we have enough of this? Will we be able to survive? What if the tests come back positive? I am not talking about being concerned about things. There is nothing wrong with that. Worrying is when you do not see any hope. Worrying means that you do not trust that God will take care of you. That is a sin. Jesus trusted that his Father would provide for him. We see this as he battled the devil in the desert. We see Jesus trusting in his Father as he slept in the bow of the boat, while a storm roared on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus lived as our Substitute as he trusted where we did not.
Jesus had to live as our Substitute because without his life, we would have been lost forever. Our sins would have condemned us to hell for all eternity. He did what we could not do. He was perfect. Jesus then gave to us his perfection. Now, when God looks at us, he sees perfection and, thus, we have access to eternal life. Look again into the manger and see one who was born just like you, with one very important exception. He was sinless for you and for me.
The writer of this epistle then takes it one step further. He writes, “For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human 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.” Jesus had to be a human being so that he could suffer and die. God said that death was the penalty for sin. We see this so clearly in such passages as we find in Ezekiel 18 “The one who sins is the one who will die.” We also read in Romans 6, “The wages of sin is death.” God could not have been clearer about what happens to those who sin. This is what you and I deserved because of our sins. Jesus became a human being so that he could suffer and die in our place. All of the Old Testament sacrifices were a picture of what Jesus would come to do. The blood that was shed was teaching the people that this was the due penalty for sin. Jesus came as a “merciful and faithful high priest” to make “atonement for the sins of the people.” He served as both priest and sacrifice to make us right with God. When God looks at us now, he does not see any sin. Jesus paid for every one of them. All he sees is the perfect life that Jesus lived in our place.
The writer of Hebrews shows us the great comfort that we have because Jesus was born to suffer for us. “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of 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.” Many people have a fear of death. It is not natural. God did not create us to die. Because of this, many try to escape this by simply not thinking about it. They stick their heads in the sand. There are those who have never seen a dead person. However, as much as they may try to run from it, there is no denying that our lives become shorter every day. Death is the only sure thing in our future. For every year that goes by more and more sand falls through the hourglass, and there is no way of knowing how much is left. There is no escape from its icy grip.
Yet, because Jesus came to the earth to be our Brother, we do not need to fear death. Death’s icy grip was broken when Jesus rose from the dead. His resurrection shows us that our sins have been paid for. His resurrection also assures us that, if we should die before the end of time, we will rise on the Last Day. Jesus said, “Because I live, you also will live.” (John 14:19) More than that, we know that we will live forever in the glories of heaven. God wanted you to be with him for all eternity. He saw to it by sending his Son into the world as our Brother. He lived perfectly for us. He suffered and died to pay for our sins. Jesus rose from the dead on Easter. It is because Jesus came to the earth as our Brother that we can triumphantly say “Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
There is one other area where we benefit from the fact that Jesus took on our humanity and that is found in verse 18, “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” We all know how difficult some temptations to sin are. There are some that we have little difficulty saying “No” to. There are some, however, that we may find more difficult to resist. We may feel like we are fighting a losing battle when we face these temptations. How wonderful it is to know that Jesus faced all of the temptations that we face. We can come to him and he knows what we are going through. He can strengthen and encourage us in our fight against them. More than just being able to sympathize or empathize with us, he can do something about our predicament. Jesus was tempted, but he was not conquered. His work on the cross gives us the power to say “No.” The sufferings of Christ give us aid and assistance in every way. They have guaranteed a life of peace with God through his blood-bought atonement. They point us to an eternity of glory through his death-defeating triumph. The one lying in the Christmas manger is one who was born to suffer for you.
Now that Christmas is over, it will not be long before we begin the season of Lent. That is OK. After all, that is the reason that Jesus came to the earth. He did not just come to be a little baby in Bethlehem’s stall. He came rescue us from our sins. The Baby of Bethlehem is the future victim on Calvary. The Author and Perfecter of our salvation came to the earth to live for us. He came to suffer and die for us. He came to rise again. We may have put away the Christmas decorations. The Christmas carols have faded away. The reason for Christmas goes on. As we depart this season of the year, remember that there in the manger lies one who was born like you and was born to suffer for you. With that then, we can face the rest of the year in confidence and joy. Amen.
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