This post is meant to offer guidance to common “What now?” questions that could emerge from Pastor J.D.’s sermon on Hebrews 2:5-18 preached at The Summit Church Saturday/Sunday May 12-13, 2012.
In our day we have defined the meaning of life as “getting to know yourself.” But in many ways that is like trying to understand poetry without knowing the author. You can take a lot of guesses and reach some cool conclusions that seem profound, but you would have missed the meaning.
Meaning belongs to the author and we are not the author of our own life. We can say, “Your life is what you make it,” but that makes life as fickle as your mood and as volatile as your health. When “life is what you make it” then death rewrites everything (2:15) and we know it… even if we live to ignore it.
But Hebrews 2 gives us the author’s intent for life. We come to know the Author who invaded His own story to free His creation that He loved like brothers and sisters (2:10-11). As we come to know Him we learn who we are in response to who He is. Hebrews 2 gives us four images of Christ.
1. A King Who Got Involved (2:9) – You are created to be part of a kingdom greater than yourself. Therefore you will never find meaning in your life alone. You were born of the royal lineage of the King of kings and abdicated your position to do your own thing. This was a crime of high treason. Yet the benevolent King of kings stepped in and graciously took your penalty to restore your place as an heir of His kingdom. Every lie you were prone to believe that led you to mutiny has been proven false and you are now the subject-son/daughter of the One who made you, bought you, loves you, and is ever with you.
2. A Champion Who Saves (2:10, 14-15) – You face an enemy greater than your ability. When you look for meaning in your life alone, the meaning is “defeated.” Sin and suffering both are more than we can conquer – both result in death and death wins. Or, at least that was the story until our Champion entered the story. Our doom becomes foreshadowing that enhances the glory of the Hero. We become a part of the emancipated masses. Our story is one of freedom won at great price by a Great Warrior. Our role is to celebrate and retell the story.
3. A Brother Who Is Not Ashamed (2:13) – Your deficiencies are greater than you can cover. There is no putting a “good face” on the human condition. We are all the relative that we hope no one learns about. We are the awkward kid in the lunch room. But our All-World Brother walks in and sits with us; not out of pity, but from love and genuine interest. He covers our shame with His confidence. We become who He sees us to be. His opinion of us (His gift righteousness) becomes truer of us than our own opinion. We lose ourselves and find ourselves at the same moment in Him.
4. A Priest Who Helps (2:18) – You don’t know what to say for yourself. You are at a loss for words because there is nothing that could be said. Eloquence cannot make darkness into light. You search for a way to meaningfully represent yourself to God, but your desperate silence is interpreted to God (Rom. 8:26). You find that you are understood better than you know yourself and as you hear your High Priest plead your case you learned what you groped to find in yourself. You stop trying to define “your life” and you learn that Christ is life and that He wants to express Himself through the unique way that He made you.
These four images in Hebrews 2 do not exhaust who Christ is. But hopefully these reflections have helped to establish a pattern of thought and Bible study for you.
First, learn who Christ is. Nothing else makes sense until you know the author of life.
Second, learn who you are in light of who Christ is.
Third, find areas of your life that bring an aspect of Christ’s actions/role to life in your struggles.
Fourth, worship Christ as you lose yourself and find yourself at the same time.