Based On: Hebrews 2:10-18
Have you ever considered how utterly preposterous the Christian religion is? I’m not saying that I don’t believe it. By the grace of God I certainly do believe it, but when you look at the fundamental truth of Christianity, that the creator became one of his creation to save those he created, it is absurd to our human way of thinking. No other religion has anything like it. Of course there are Greek myths that talk about the gods only appearing to be human, but usually not for the benefit of human beings.
Imagine this scenario. The entire kingdom of cockroaches is in danger of extinction because of their own mistakes. Every cockroach in the world is going to die and you have the unique opportunity to save them by becoming one of them and being crushed in their place. Your death as a cockroach will count for all of their deaths. You love cockroaches so much that you willingly do it, right?
Doesn’t that sound absurd? Yet, it only touches the surface of what God did for us. We are not so far from cockroaches in God’s sight. God says he hates sinners like us. He also says he loves sinners. And the reason for his love for us can only be found in him. The way God rescued us is so different than anything human beings would dream up that it must have come from God. What the writer to the Hebrews says right here about our Salvation could only be God’s plan – that God became one of us to be our substitute and to be our brother.
It is one of those basic truths we learn in catechism class and, of course, we see it also in scripture. The writer to the Hebrews says very clearly who our Savior is – he is both God and man. Jesus Christ had to be both in order to save us.
First, Jesus had to be a human being. Just think about the reason we needed saving. We are guilty of not obeying God’s commands and we deserved death. We needed another human being to take our place.
Who or what else would be subject to God’s laws. God is not subject to his own laws. He is the Lord of life and death, so how can he be subject to the fifth commandment or be guilty of murder. He is ruler of all creation so how can he be subject to the fourth commandment and be obedient to his parents or any other authority. Even the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods,” does not apply to God.
Our Savior had to be a human being so that he could be subject to the laws God placed over human beings. Of course, Jesus obeyed all of those laws perfectly.
Our Savior also had to be a human being so he could die in our place. We needed someone to take the death we deserved and that could only be a human being. Can you imagine the Pharisees sending men to tie up God and lead him out of the Garden of Gethsemane if he were only spirit? Or the soldiers nailing a spirit to the cross?
Our Savior had to be a human being like us, both body and soul, to be a fitting substitute for us. But what if he were only a human being? Even if he lived a perfect life and died innocently, his life and death would only be enough of a sacrifice to save one other person at most. No, our Savior had to also be God. In that way his perfect life and innocent death are precious enough to count for more than just one other person – they are precious enough to redeem every person who has ever lived.
Our Savior could not be an animal. It could not be any angel in heaven. It could not be any of us. It could only be Jesus Christ who is both God and man at the same time. Not sometimes God and sometimes man, not part God and part man, but completely God and completely human. That is the miracle of Christmas, God became a human being and yet continued to be God.
Do you realize what all of this means? Not only is God our Savior, but he is also our brother. When God became a human being he also became our kin. Not only did he have brothers, sisters, and cousins, but we are all related to Jesus Christ through common ancestors. Jesus Christ is our brother.
As our brother he has lived on this earth and endured the same troubles we go through. Have you had problems with relationships? Finances? A loved one dying? People who just didn’t like you? Jesus had those problems. In fact, no matter what problem you have, Jesus understands you problem better than you think. He is your brother and you can go to him with your problems.
Not only did he experience problems, but he was also tempted. He was tempted in the same way you and I are tempted. Think about the temptation that causes you to stumble most often. Whether jealousy, hatred, lust, greed, or any other temptation, our brother, Jesus, knows something about it. He was faced with that temptation and overcame it, and he can help us with that temptation as well.
When we fail and give in to those temptations, we again look to our brother, Jesus. He is our high priest. The writer to the Hebrews calls Jesus our faithful high priest. That means he made a sacrifice to God on our behalf to make atonement for our sins. He did this when he sacrificed himself to make peace between us and God. As our high priest he also even now stands in the presence of God to defend us, to tell God that his blood covers our sin.
One might think that all God did to save us would be a shameful thing – thinking that Jesus lowered himself to become one of us. But the Bible says he is not ashamed to call us brothers. He is not ashamed to be one of us.
Perhaps the question becomes, “Are we ashamed to call him brother?” Are we ashamed to be known as a brother or sister of Christ? When we avoid talking about our Savior or are ashamed to talk about him, then the shame is ours.
When that happens let us go to our high priest and ask for forgiveness. He will give it. He is our brother.
God became our brother and took our place, living the perfect life we couldn’t and dying the death we deserved. He continues to comfort and support us in life and pray to God on our behalf. Jesus Christ, as both God and man was the only one who could become our brother to save us, and he is not ashamed to be our brother.