Thursday 29th October 2020 – Hebrews – Redemption from Christ
Hebrews 1: 5 – 9
Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels. But someone has testified somewhere,
‘What are human beings that you are mindful of them,
or mortals, that you care for them?
You have made them for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned them with glory and honour,
subjecting all things under their feet.’
Now in subjecting all things to them, God left nothing outside their control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them, but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
How many churches talk about angels these days? Admit it: to most of us sophisticated and rational human creatures, angelology in our churches is one of those irrationalities we hide under the rugs. Yet in the 21st century angels still matter to people. From pop songs calling their lover “angel” to the ubiquitous cards, angels continue to hold sway over our subconscious, religious or not.
In the Abrahamic religions, angels have historically been the basis of wars and at the same time markers of our interconnectedness.
The loved one who describes their deceased beloved as an “angel” or that they have been “taken up to the angels” is particularly present in times of grief. Angels have not lost their ability to change the course of events and to impress our imagination. Many have a closer connection to an angel than they will have to God.
The writer of Hebrews is neither challenging or encouraging a belief in angels. He is distinguishing Jesus from an intermediary messenger. We now have a direct line to God through Jesus.
Hebrews has been called more of a sermon than a letter, and I once heard a pastor in Nashville define preaching as “braggin’ on God”. I like that definition. We don’t know who wrote Hebrews, but I feel their passion and joy in this commentary on Psalm 8 and when the writer proclaims that Jesus comes to us, not as an angelic being, but as one of us. In spite of us, God’s plan is fulfilled through Jesus for us. The writer is braggin’ on our dark-skinned Palestinian liberator. Theologians call it “high Christology”; my pastor in Nashville would say the writer is gloating on tiptoe!
It is the passion and joy in our proclamation and maintaining close proximity to our experience and identity with Jesus which allows the church to persevere. Jesus must always be the main attraction!
We look to other thrones to lead us, and far-away beings to love us, when The One who will truly save us meets us where we are. Be our King, Jesus. But more importantly, be our Kin, Jesus. Amen.