Counting Sunday March 31st, we have three Sunday’s before Easter Sunday and as a reminder, Candy and I will be back in Kentucky at the Ark Encounter attending an Easter Sunrise service at the full sized replica of Noah’s Ark. However, Deryl Lackey will be here to share and he is very excited to do so.
I want to focus these next three weeks on Jesus. Beginning with this Sunday, we will spend a couple of weeks in the book of Hebrews. I want to start today with Hebrews chapter 2 verses 9 and 10. But I am going to spend most of our time in verse ten. So let’s take a look at verse 9. Which was telling us about the hope for mankind. Verse 9; But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.”
There is hope, why, because we see Jesus! The word translated see means more than just a casual glance, it means that we look upon Him with understanding, almost like we are staring at Him, absorbing the vision like when you see something great or stunning and you just stare at it wanting to create a forever image in your mind.
Even though Candy and I have been fortunate to visit the Ark Encounter several times, we can’t help but stare at the size of this ship originally designed by God. It is a wonder to take in every time we are there. That is what see means in this context.
We see hope in Jesus Christ who stepped out of Heaven as God and entered onto earth as a human making Him a little lower than the angels. So here is the Son of God, who accepts the task to go to earth as a human on what was basically a suicide mission since it was a mission that would result in the death of God’s one and only Son. As a man, Jesus was lower than the angels and a little higher than the animals. Why would He do this? Why would He give up His power as God in order to live as a human man and die a horrible death?
John 3:16… “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Let’s look at verse 10 of Hebrews chapter two; “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
It was fitting for him, or in some translations it says it became Him. What was fitting or became Him? It means that this was what was intended for Jesus Christ in His person and purpose. Coming to earth in human form to live life as a perfect example for others, then to be sacrificed for all the sins of humanity so that we might have a way to return to fellowship with God the Father, this is what is meant by it was fitting or became Him.
Because who is this Jesus? He is the creator God; Colossians 1:15-18 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”
And this leads us to the next part of verse ten; “for whom are all things and by whom are all things,” As we read in Colossians and we know other scripture that confirms that all things were made by and for Jesus Christ. Jesus was the builder of all Creation, up to and including us. In Fact, we, humanity are as Bishop Kenneth Ulmer says; “We are the divine, design, from God’s Mind.” Ephesians 1:4… “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,”
Everything that exists in our plain of existence is there because JesusChrist, the Creator God, made it so. Hespoke it into existence. But more importantly, He did not give creation a jump start and then head off for millions of years waiting to see what would happen. He remained involved in this creation as evidenced by the various Christological verses in the Old Testament. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the patriarchs were each visited by God in human form, also known as Christophanies or Theophanies. So what you might ask does that prove? Well it proves that God is a hands on God, not some creator who made stuff and then stands back to see how the experiment plays out. Once again the author of Hebrews reminds us in verse 10; “for whom are all things and by whom are all things,”
Why is this important? Because of what comes next in verse 10;” in bringing many sons to glory,” It was God’s intention from the beginning to provide a way for a return to fellowship with him and a sinful humanity. We see this in John 3: 17… “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” And by doing this, we have what we just read in verse 10; ;” in bringing many sons to glory,” God’s goal through Jesus was and is to bring as many to salvation as wanted to believe and partake in this incredible eternal gift of life. Remember, in a human sense, Jesus is the greatest adoptee in the history of the earth. And humanity, Ephesians 1:5… “having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,” As Jesus was adopted as a human, Jesus made it possible for us eternally to be adopted into the family of God.
When Joseph adopted Jesus, He became heir to Joseph’s entitlements, even though God had removed the Royalty in the line of David; never the less, Jesus as the adopted son of Joseph inherited the Kingly line of David and the right to the throne of Kind David. Conversely, When we acceptJesus Christ as our Savior and ask forgiveness of our sins, we are entitled to be in the family of God that He had originally intended through Adam.
I love this statement by Deryl Lackey who says our job is to make the rapture as crowded as possible. Verse ten says it this way; To bring many sons to glory. It is God’s plan that through Jesus, to adopt all that are willing to become children of God.
Galatians 3:26-29… “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
This is the importance of “bring many sons to glory.” Why would it be that Jesus would bring many sons to glory and not all sons to glory? Is He biased, choosy, heaven can only hold so many? Why many and not all? Because God provided humanity with the right to choose. Proverbs 29:1… “He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” However, it is that choice that can lead to the acceptance of Jesus or the rejection of Jesus.
This is from a message by the Reverend Billy Graham at the Charlotte Crusade. September 21 – 1958; “You never know. To some of you who go out on the slick highways this afternoon, this may be the last sermon you will ever hear. In every crusade we have ever conducted anywhere, there have been people who have come to the meeting in good health and never came back because they were dead in the next few hours through an accident, or a heart attack, or something else. We never know when our moment is coming. Maybe God spoke to you this afternoon, and your heart is in danger of being hardened. Some of you are older people; some of you are younger people. The Bible says once you hear the Gospel and do nothing about it, you are in danger of hardening your heart.”
This is why Jesus will bring many to glory but not all, because of man’s right to choose to harden his heart and turn away from the Lord. Remember, that God does not send anyone to hell, people choose on their own to reject God and go there.
What follows in verse 10 after Jesus brings many sons to glory? “to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
The Greek word translated here as Captain also means a chief leader. AS I was praying and thinking about this message, there came to me a phrase “Captain my Captain.” I sort of knew it was a poem, but not much else. But when I looked it up and read it, I felt it had some associative meaning for this verse and the message.
O Captain! My Captain!
BY WALT WHITMAN
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
This was written by Walt Whitman in 1865 about the death of President Abraham Lincoln. The Captain is of course Abraham Lincoln and the ship is the United States of America. Now remember, that the Greek word translated Captain in verse ten means chief leader or the head guy, the leader that not only opens the way, but then leads others through that passage.
O Captain my Captain, this is what the Apostles must have felt when Jesus, their Captain died on the cross. Their leader was dead and all they had learned and shared and talked about was gone. Their Captain lay cold and dead. However, unlike what Whitman described in his poem that President Lincoln could not rise and see, Jesus did rise and see the victory. The victory over sin, the victory over death, and the triumph of eternal life for those who would give themselves over to the Savior, Jesus Christ. As we approach the Easter celebration, this is undeniably the most important action that Jesus took. O’ Captain my Captain; O’ Jesus my Jesus; the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was in my mind the singular most important event in human history. Because without His sacrifice and resurrection, where would we be? O’ Jesus my Jesus gave me the way to eternal life with God.
Last February 21st, we lost one of the greatest human Christian Captains of our time, the Reverend Billy Graham, who is now in the arms of His Captain, Jesus Christ. Timothy Beougher from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary wrote these thoughts regarding Billy Graham; 7 Things that every Christian can learn from Billy Graham.
Dr. J. Vernon Mc Gee shared this in his commentary on verse 10; “Jesus was made perfect through His suffering. His perfect life does not save us, His miraculous virgin birth does not save us. All of His miracles do not save us. His teaching does not save us. Not even His example can save us. It is his death Captain my Captain
His sacrifice as the atonement for the sins of all humanity is what allows us to be saved for eternity. To be adopted into the family of God. Remember, Jesus is the true Captain, the ultimate leader.
True leaders do not lead from the rear, they lead by being the first one through the door, over the bridge, across the river, the first to press the attack.