Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pentecost 19 (Proper 22) Hebrews 2:1-13

On account of this, it is abundantly necessary to pay close attention to the things we have heard, otherwise we will drift away. For if the word spoken through angels became confirmed, and if every transgression and disregarding received righteous retribution, how will we ourselves escape, having neglected so great a salvation? Of such a kind as at the beginning taken, to be spoken through the Lord , by the ones hearing into us it was confirmed, God with testifying upon in both signs and wonders and a variety of powers and Holy Spirit apportionments according to His will?  For not to angels did He subject the inhabited world about to be, concerning of what we speak. But someone through testimony somewhere was saying, "Who is mankind that You consider him, or the Son of Man that You look upon Him? You made Him less important than the angels for a bit; in glory and in honor you have crowned Him; all things you make to submit under His feet." For in the submitting of all things, He left nothing unsubmissive to Him. Yet now we do not see all things submissive to Him. But the One made less important than angels for a bit, we do see–Jesus, on account of the suffering of the death, in glory and honor He is crowned, so that in God's grace, on behalf of all He should taste death.         
OK, so folks ask me, "Who wrote the letter to the Hebrews, Pastor?" and I respond, "I have no idea. It is unknown." Then we have this anonymous writer of Hebrews saying that "Someone, somewhere once said, ‘What is mankind that you would consider it..." Now, if you tried to turn in a paper without your name on it, quoting anonymous sources, you wouldn't expect a good grade. But it is fitting that the writer of Hebrews is unknown, and that he doesn't cite the source of these important words. 
Why? Because that's the whole point! What is man? Man is puny compared to Almighty God. Man doesn't deserve to be mentioned alongside the Lord and His Word. Mankind is unworthy of being in his Savior's presence. We should be like Wayne and Garth in the Wayne's World skits and movies, falling down on our faces before our creator, saying, "We're not worthy!" The Father above shouldn't give a second thought to poor, miserable sinners like you and me. So why should anyone's name matter.
Well, if you are curious, the writer to the Hebrews is actually quoting King David's fine psalm, Psalm 8, which praises God tremendously, while at the same time downplaying the role of human beings. But the writer to the Hebrews is inspired by the Holy Ghost not to mention great King David's name at all. Why? Because the point is not about you or me, or any other simple human being. It's all about One greater than all mankind put together. It's about the Son of Man, worthy of all consideration.
Jesus became man and came into a world full of families breaking up. Husbands and wives were divorcing left and right, and the children were caught in the cross-fire. Mankind at its worst. Those who use children as pawns to get back at their ex-spouse are the very folks Jesus said would be better off to have had a mill-stone tied around their necks and tossed into the sea! What is mankind to so easily toss aside God's gift of joining husband to wife as though this were not a sin against Him?
So, who is man in God's sight? Not much at all. But Who is the Son of Man in God's sight? Jesus is the only good person; He alone is the only One who deserves the glory and honor of eternal life in heaven. So if God had wanted to, He could have done away with everybody else, including you and me, and reserved the crown of life for His only-begotten Son Jesus, alone. Who could blame the Father if He chose to do that? None of us are worthy of paradise. Only Jesus is worthy of God's love.
That's just when God surprises us. You have these messengers from God who serve you called "angels", right. They are your servants, much lower than you. God the Father decided to take the Son of Man, Jesus, and make Him even lower than servants. Jesus became the slave of slaves, having come to serve and give His life as a ransom for you! On account of the suffering of His death on the cross, you are no longer out of the Father's consideration. He is now mindful of you in Christ Jesus!
For Jesus tasted death for your sake.  He endured your death at the cross–the eternal condemnation you deserved. Everything now submits itself to Jesus, including your sins which were washed from you to Jesus at the cross through your baptism; including death which is defeated in Jesus' death, His body given and blood shed now yours for your life and salvation; including the condemnation of hell which Jesus bore for you on Calvary's tree. You see this submitting to Jesus in word and sacrament. Amen   

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