10Everything belongs to God, and all things were created by his power. So God did the right thing when he made Jesus perfect by suffering, as Jesus led many of God's children to be saved and to share in his glory. 11Jesus and the people he makes holy all belong to the same family. This is why he isn't ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. 12 He even said to God,
“I will tell them your name
and sing your praises
when they come together
13 He also said,
“I will trust God.”
Then he said,
“Here I am with the children
God has given me.”
14We are people of flesh and blood. This is why Jesus became one of us. He died to destroy the devil, who had power over death. 15But he also died to rescue all of us who live each day in fear of dying. 16 Jesus clearly did not come to help angels, but he did come to help Abraham's descendants. 17He had to be one of us, so he could serve God as our merciful and faithful high priest and sacrifice himself for the forgiveness of our sins. 18And now that Jesus has suffered and was tempted, he can help anyone else who is tempted.
Have you ever met a celebrity you’ve held in high regard from a distance, only to find they are rather ordinary looking and awfully obnoxious in person? There is an American writer (who shall remain nameless!) whose books have been formative in my Christian life and who I have admired for many years. When I met her recently and she was rude and unkind it was deeply unsettling. It is easier to hero-worship someone we have never encountered in real life; an air of mystique is a powerful thing.
For some, the deity of Jesus is not the stumbling block. What they find hard to swallow is his humanity – that he became one of us. Why did God have to become flesh and blood? Doesn’t this earthiness detract from the glory we expect from the creator of the universe? And why did Jesus have to suffer? Doesn’t this imply a weakness at odds with an all-powerful God?
Hebrews argues that Jesus became a man to accomplish what could not have been accomplished otherwise. In order to defeat death, he had to taste death (v 14). By taking on humanity, he experienced both temptation and suffering and in doing so became the perfect mediator between us and God (v 17). By becoming a man, he translated God so all could understand and enter into relationship with him: “the visible image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15 NLT). Unlike the celebrities who don’t do so well under close inspection, Jesus as a man was as holy and radiant as the God he reflected. By coming close to us, he points us to the Father.
Almighty God, you took on humanity and suffered to bring us life. Please free me entirely and completely from the fear of death, so I can live wholeheartedly for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.