Reading through the Bible together

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

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When my children were still very young I liked to go to the backyard of our apartment and explore with them the magnificence of the night skies with the help of a small telescope. How little we are in comparison to the vast universe! This is what David felt when he saw the heavens, yet God showed him that his purpose was to put man over the works of his hands, over His creation (Ps 8)! How magnificent was God’s plan for humankind! The author of Hebrews suggests, however, that this Psalm has a second meaning as well. It also speaks about Jesus who would be made “a little lower than the angels” so that he could die in our place and save us. This chapter provides, then, a complement to the glorious description of Jesus in chapter 1.

The first chapter speaks about the loftiness of Jesus’ exaltation. Chapter 2 speaks about the depths of Jesus’ incarnation (vs. 9–18). Hebrews 1:1–14 reflects on Jesus’ relationship to God but vs. 5–18 focus on Jesus’ relationship to human beings. There, He is the Son of God, “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person”; here, He is the son of man, made lower than the angels, fully human—even to the point of death. There, God speaks to the Son; here, Jesus responds to God. There, God proclaims, “You are My Son” (1:5); here, Jesus accepts human children as His “brethren” (v.12). There, God declares the Son’s divine sovereignty (1:8–12); here, the Son affirms His fealty to God (v. 13a). There, God invites the Son, “[s]it at My right hand” (1:13); here, the Son accepts the invitation, “Here am I and the children whom God has given me” (v.13b). There, Jesus is the divine Lord, creator, sustainer, and sovereign; here, Jesus is the human high priest, merciful and faithful. Thus, the description of Jesus as faithful and merciful high priest (v.18) culminates the description of the Son as the ultimate manifestation of God (1:1–4).

Yes, when we sinned we became even smaller in relation to the universe but by sending his Son to die for us, God showed how important we are in his sight. Oh God, “how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Ps 8:1, 9).

Felix H. Cortez

Andrews University

United States