Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hebrews 2: Making it very personal

There are two things that jump out at me as I read the 2nd chapter of Hebrews a couple of times, and they bookend the chapter.

The opening part reminds me of the familiar scene of a Mom telling her misbehaving child, "Just wait until your father gets home!" When I was growing up, both of my parents could be stern disciplinarians. Mom was swifter to punish. We grew up getting a good spanking when we needed it (and we were NOT abused because of it). Dad issued spankings much more sparingly, but when he gave one, you tended to remember it. (we STILL weren't abused).

The Writer of Hebrews starts out chapter 2 by saying, "look, in the old days, angels delivered messages on God's behalf. Those messages were important, carried the weight of law and the punishment for violating the law. Now, if you couldn't escape the punishment from ignoring them how much worse is it going to be if you ignore God Himself?"

It really isn't intended to be a scare tactic as much as it is a compelling reason to pay attention. The Writer has already established (in Chapter 1) that Jesus is greater than the angels. Now he insists that his words and actions are greater than the angels' words and actions.

The chapter closes with something very personal. Let me illustrate first from my own experience.

I am particularly good friends with some other pastors. Some other senior pastors, to be specific. Now I have some close friends who are not senior pastors, but the truth is that very few people really get me like they do. When Hank, Jeff or Mark say, "Hey, brother, I know exactly how you feel" or "I know exactly what you're going through", they mean it and they do.

There are countless situations I don't understand.

I have no idea how it feels to be a resident physician and work those crazy long hours.
I have no idea what it's like to put on 100 pounds of gear and run into a burning house.
I don't know the pain of divorce (from a spouse's perspective) or the loss of a spouse.
I have no real reference point for being very poor or especially rich.

In any situation you can name, when we struggle, it's always helpful to be able to connect with someone who really understands because they've been where we are. That's why our recovery groups include people who have been through what we're going through. It just helps to know we're not alone in our struggle.

The Writer wants us to know that Jesus knows our struggle. Verses 14-18 are heavy and require a little concentration to understand, but they basically mean that Jesus became like us so that we could know He understands us and so that He could save us.

If you didn't see that, read it again. Read it slowly. Pray first and ask God to show Himself to you.


Donia said...

I keep coming back to verse 15, "and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." Or whatever chains we're holding onto. Freedom instead of fear.

Anonymous said...

I really like Hebrews 2-- it really paints a picture for me of why God chose to make his Son of flesh, among us, and it challenges me to see Christ followers as my "brothers" no matter what.

I really gravitate towards verse 9, "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels..." I can literally see Jesus as a man among men when I read this, one of us.
And verse 18, "Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." Amazing to me that Jesus was so very human that he felt temptation and suffering, guilt, and anguish.

But my favorite verse is 11, "Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus IS NOT ASHAMED to call them brothers"- We are all humans and we all feel the same things, but we are also so very different. But Jesus is the ultimate in different b/c only He is God's son. Yet he is NOT ASHAMED of us, not afraid to say He loves us, not so far "above" us that He cannot be next to us to hold our hands. That is the beauty of humanity...