The Perfect Man
SCRIPTURE READING: Hebrews 2:5-9
People have a lot of ideas about what a “perfect man” would be.
· According to that Bowflex commercial that comes on … oh, approximately once every 10 minutes … all it takes to be the perfect man is 20 minutes, 3 days a week … and you develop a “well-toned rock-hard core” or something.
· If you’re thinking about corporate success, you might look to the likes of a Donald Trump or some other powerful CEO type.
· Or maybe the perfect man would be a sensitive type --- maybe a celebrity/psychologist like Dr. Phil.
· Others might think the perfect man is an actor like Jude Law, who was recently voted the sexiest man of the year. (A little disclaimer here --- I had no idea about this one, but I asked my church secretary and she knows everything!)
· Others might think of the perfect man as a courageous hero like a soldier or fireman.
But how many people would think of Jesus as the perfect man?
Hebrews 1 shows us Jesus who is GREATER than the Angels. Hebrews 2 shows us Jesus, the GREATER man. In fact, Jesus was the one and only PERFECT man. Let’s look In Hebrews 2 to see what Jesus did for humanity by becoming in all ways, a Perfect Man. First of all, when Jesus left his Throne in Heaven to come to earth, he DIGNIFIED HUMANITY.
1. Jesus Dignified Humanity Hebrews 2:1-9
The writer of Hebrews asks this question: “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels. “You crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet.” Hebrews 2:6-7
This is a quote from Psalm 8. The Psalm writer makes it even stronger. The original Hebrew could be translated, You have made him a little less than God. Compare that to what popular culture tells us: You have been randomly mutated to be on level with all other animals. In this system of thought we --- like other animals --- are ruled by our basic instincts and urges.
But God’s word gives us dignity. The account of Creation in Genesis tells us we were made in God’s image to rule over the rest of His creation. God created us to be his Partners. (By the way, Christians should all be Environmentalists --- not wacky ones, but wise ones who know the value of human life and who respect all of God’s creation.)
When Jesus came to earth, he raised the status of Humanity even higher. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. Hebrews 2:8-9
In order to die for our sins, it was necessary for Jesus to humble himself and fully IDENTIFY with humanity. Jesus was 100% God, but he was also 100% Human.
2. Jesus Identified with Humanity Hebrews 2:10-13
But not everyone understood that fact. At the time Hebrews was written, a heresy called Docetism was infiltrating the early church. (This was the opposite of another heresy which said Jesus was not really God, but only a human or an Angel.) The Docetists taught that Jesus was really not flesh and blood at all. The Docetists believed Jesus body only appeared to be real. Actually, he could feel no pain. In fact, if he walked on the sand he would not leave footprints. (Rodney Buchanan, Jesus the Perfect Man Sermon Central)
Hebrews 2:10 confronts that heresy when it says: … it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.
Scripture makes it clear that Jesus was the perfect man … but he was not Superman. Superman could catch a bullet with his teeth or stand in a blazing fire untouched.
But Jesus Christ came to us in a vulnerable condition. He became the author of our salvation through suffering. When Jesus was cut, he bled. When he was hit, he bruised. When he was tempted, he felt the pull. When he was rejected, he felt sorrow.
This is important because it means He is truly one of us. In fact, He chooses to be our brother! Look at verse 11: 11Both 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. Hebrews 2:11
Maybe you have an older brother. Ideally, people can look up to an older brother as an example. My son-in-law, P.J. Condit has an older brother who is a Youth Minister at Paramount Terrace Christian Church in Amarillo. In P.J.’s case, he has an admirable older brother.
But whether you have an older brother in your family or not, all of us have an admirable older brother in Jesus Christ. And what an amazing brother he is! In fact, we owe our very lives to this older brother. He came to earth to save our lives by JUSTIFYING us.
3. Jesus Justified Humanity Hebrews 2:14-18
Look at Hebrews 2:14: 14Since 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–
Saving our lives required Rescue Mission from the Command Center of Heaven itself. Think of a stranded Soldier, hopelessly trapped behind enemy lines. There’s no more beautiful sight to that Soldier than a Rescue Helicopter coming his way. That’s what Jesus is for us. We were in a hopeless situation with no possibility of rescue, until he came down and threw us a lifeline. But that’s not all he did. On his way out, he totally obliterated the enemy so that he could never capture us again!
When Jesus rescued us, he destroyed Satan’s power over us --- which is the power of Death. The sting of death was destroyed when Jesus died for us (as a human). The power of death was destroyed when Jesus rose from the dead (because he is God). It took a Jesus as Man to die on the Cross, and it took a Jesus as God to break out of the tomb.
Jesus did this so He could free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Hebrews 2:15 Because of Jesus, we don’t need to fear death. We no longer see death as a horrible final end. We know that death is a temporary separation, and that a glad reunion day is coming.
This truth hit home with me this week. I received word on Tuesday that a long time missionary and friend, John Relyea, had died of a heart attack. John was only 49 years old and left behind a wife and 3 children. John and his wife, Marsha, worked as Bible Translators for 25 years in New Guinea. In fact, they had just completed a translation of the New Testament. This was the culmination of a lifetime of work. The e-mail from Marsha contained these words:
This is the most difficult email I have ever had to write. John, my soul mate and partner of 25 years, has just gone home to Heaven.
This evening he was walking across the living room to the supper table, when he fainted, fell to the floor unconscious. I started giving him CPR; Bobby ran next door to fetch our co-worker John Herring to help; Brigette started praying out loud; we phoned other PBT colleagues a couple of kilometers away to help us get John to the hospital. All the way there they continued CPR; at the hospital medical people continued, adding injections, and I.V.s. We were praying constantly. But he was just gone. No heartbeat. His heart had just quit.
It was almost like he was walking across the room toward the supper table....and found himself just walking through the gates of heaven, right to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. He was here one minute, and there the next.
Bobby, Brigette, and I were all with him when he died. We are still reeling with shock.
The thing that keeps coming to my mind is that John has accomplished what God had intended for him to do on this planet, and God has now called him home. Our hearts are breaking, but we know that we will see him again.
We can’t help but share the shock and grief of this unexpected and untimely death. But Marsha’s e-mail gives a wonderful testimony to the truth that Jesus came to free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Hebrews 2:15
In another e-mail we learned that in December, John Ralyea had felt led to preach a series of sermons on the topic of death. The people of New Guinea have a heritage of fear and dread connected to death. To any pagan culture, death is an arbitrary punishment, meted out by cruel and fickle gods. In his sermons, John preached that for Christians, death is a passage way to a new life of joy and perfection where we will see our Savior. I know that when John entered the doors of heaven Jesus surely greeted him with these words: Well-done, good and faithful servant. Enter in to your reward.
Jesus came to earth as a human so that a man like John Ralyea could be crowned with glory and honor. Jesus came as a human so a woman like Marsha Ralyea would not have to grieve as one without hope. He came so that people like those in New Guinea could live without fear of death.
Take a minute to think of all the things Hebrews 2 tells us that Jesus could do ONLY by laying aside his Divine Power and coming to earth as a human:
· Preach good news to people (vs.3) (A human preacher preaching to humans)
· Do what Adam failed to do (Adam gave in to temptation and caused the world to fall; Jesus, as second Adam broke the curse of sin) (vs.7-8)
· Die for our sins (Deity cannot die) (vs.9)
· Be perfected (completed) through suffering (vs.10) (deity is complete already)
· Call humans his brothers (vs.11-13)
· Destroy Satan’s power over death by dying as a human (vs.14)
· Free those who live in fear of death (vs. 15)
· Serve as our High Priest who comes before God in our behalf (vs. 17)
· And the chapter ends by assuring us that 18Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:18
What a comfort to know that our Heavenly High Priest understands our weakness, because he has felt the pull of temptation the same way we do.
Do you face ongoing temptation that seems too much to bear? Jesus overcame every temptation so that he could help you if you will ask him.
Have you been hurt by someone you love? Jesus has been there. In fact, he is hurt every time we disobey his word.
Has someone you trusted betrayed you? Jesus was betrayed by one of his closest disciples.
Are you suffering physically? Jesus suffered the pains of beatings and death on the cross.
Have you felt the emotional despair that comes when it seems God has forsaken you? Remember that Jesus cried out those very words on the cross.
Do you live in fear of death? Jesus has conquered Satan, Death and the Grave.
There is only one thing you should fear --- you should fear your own fate if you turn away from Jesus Christ. As we close, let’s pay attention to the severe warning that begins Hebrews chapter 2.
1We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?
Scripture makes it clear: there is no hope if you ignore Jesus Christ, the Author of your Salvation.
But to those who love and obey Him he gives an abundant life, free from the fear of death … a life that will last for all eternity.