Summary: Sermon 7 in a study in HEBREWS
“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. 16 For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. 17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.” NASB
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.” NIV
We dedicated ample time in the previous sermon to establishing that Jesus was a man, born of a woman, and that He as Deity determined to enter the world in that way for the purpose of identifying with us in every way but the guilt of sin, and for the purpose of suffering and dying so that as the author of salvation He might bring many to glory.
The writer of this letter is not finished with that theme, for he goes on now to repeat the assurance that this One he is calling us to study carefully as Author of salvation, as Sanctifier, as the One who because of the suffering of death is crowned with glory and honor, really was flesh and blood just like the children previously referred to in verse 13.
This is why almost from the very first the devil has raised up deceived and deceitful men to teach that Jesus Christ was incorporeal; that He was spirit only, or a vision, or whatever else their twisted imaginations might come up with in order to deny His humanity.
It was only as a Man that He could have identified with us, it was only as a flesh and blood Man that He could have served as our High Priest, and wonder of wonders, it was only as a Man that He could have rendered the devil powerless.
Doesn’t that amaze you? It should! In the Garden of Eden as God confronted the man and the woman, He declared that one would be descended from the woman, her seed, who would be wounded by the serpent who would in turn be crushed by the seed.
That isn’t the way we would write the story, is it? No, we prove that even in our prayers. Paul is a Biblical example. Three times he prayed for a debilitating malady to be lifted from him. He wanted to be well. He wanted to be strong. So do we, don’t we? ‘Lord, heal me.’ ‘Lord, give me success in my business and promotion in my work’. ‘Lord, bless me with monetary gain so that I might use it to serve You’ (uh, huh…). ‘Lord, make this ‘thorn in the flesh’ leave me’.
But what seems to be His oft repeated response to that kind of praying?
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” 2 Cor 12:9
That was true in and through the life of Paul and it is a principle that holds true universally. God’s power through our weakness accomplishes His purposes and brings glory to Him. Therefore it is this principle that is demonstrated in the life and sacrifice of God’s own Son, who became weak so that the power of God might be demonstrated.
THE INCARNATION WAS NECESSARY
I want to talk first today about why the incarnation was necessary.
I think that it is seldom considered by us that Jesus becoming man was a necessary thing. Most of our talk and our songs center around His desire to save and His grace in coming down to us. But there is ample Scriptural evidence, as we can see right here in our text, that in the economy of the Divine, His coming and dying were necessary, as was His resurrection and ascension.