WHEN GOD BECAME MAN
What is man, that Thou dost take thought of him? And the son of man, that Thou dost care for him? (Psalm 8:5).
Three boys were arguing over whose father had the better job. "My father has a great job," said the first boy. "He is a writer and he sits at a desk and types words onto a page and people pay for doing that."
The second boy said, "My father has a better job than that. He s a composer. He spends a few hours drawing a bunch of dots and lines onto a page and calls it a song and people pay him for it."
The third boy said, "My dad s job is better than either one. He is a preacher. He stands up and talks for half an hour on Sunday morning and it takes six men to carry all the money in.
The message of the book of Hebrews is that Jesus is better.
God spoke at many times and in many ways through the prophets, but His ultimate communication to man was through His Son.
In light of the superiority of Jesus over the angels, the writer gives a sober warning against neglecting the salvation that God has provided through His Son (2:1-4).
Now, as we come to Hebrews 2:5, it seems as though the writer continues the theme of the superiority of Jesus over the angels, presenting still another reason why Jesus is better than the angels.
However, I am not certain that this is the case. The writer has already proven the point that Jesus is superior to the angels. Seven Old Testament Scriptures have been quoted to prove this point. Instead, I would like to suggest that the writer is now anticipating several obvious objections to the teaching that Jesus is superior to the angels. The objections go like this:
The answer will be that Jesus took on a mortal body and He suffered the humility of the cross and He died so that He could be exalted. Thus, He who was first made low has now been lifted up above every creature.
THE ROLE OF ANGELS
For He did not subject to the angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. (Hebrews 2:5).
When you talk about the "world to come," you normally think about heaven and a future state when God is sitting on a throne and all wrong things have been made right.
The Old Testament is filled with promises of the day when God would set up His Kingdom upon the earth, a kingdom that would never be destroyed, and which would itself overcome all other kingdoms.
And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. (Daniel 2:44).
I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven, One like the Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him.
And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14).
Notice that the dominion of the earth was to be given to "One like the Son of Man." When God created the first man, He told him to rule the earth and to exercise dominion over it (Genesis 1:28). Man lost that dominion when he rebelled again God and fell into sin. That is why weeds grow and insects bite and crops die.
One of the reasons that Jesus came to die was to regain that lost dominion. That dominion was won at in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. The dominion of the Kingdom was never promised to the angels. But it has been promised to the Son of Man — Jesus Christ.
THE ROLE OF MAN
But one has testified somewhere, saying, "What is man, that Thou rememberest him?
"Thou hast made him for a little while lower than the angels; Thou has crowned him with glory and honor, and hast appointed him over the works of Thy hands;
"Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet." For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him." (Hebrews 2:6-8).
The dominion of the world to come was never promised to the angels. But the writer of the Old Testament Psalm pointed out that God has put all things under the feet of man.
The passage quoted is from Psalm 8:4-6. It is a Psalm of David. It is a song of praise. But I want to point out something. The writer of Hebrews does not name the author of this Psalm which he quotes. This does not mean that he did not know that David was the author. He does not name the author of any of the multitude of quotations from the Old Testament that he uses throughout this book.
There is a reason for this. The reason is that he does not want to focus attention on the Old Testament writers. He wants to focus attention on Christ.
What is man, that Thou rememberest him? (2:6).
This is a rhetorical question. It expects no answer because the answer is obvious. What is man? Is he worthy of God s consideration? No. The only reason that God considers man is because of the work of Jesus on man s behalf.
I imagine that David wrote this Psalm one evening as he looked out into the silver starlight over Jerusalem. He sees the splendor of the heavens and he bursts forth in song.
When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; 5 what is man, that Thou dost take thought of him? And the son of man, that Thou dost care for him? (Psalm 8:4-5).
As David looks at the awesome works of the Lord, he asks why such a God would even bother with mankind.
Go out and look at an anthill. Those ants are so much smaller and so much more insignificant than you are. The gap between God and man is infinitely greater than that which is between you and those ants.
And yet, God has not only bothered with man, but He has crowned him with glory and honor and has appointed him over the creation and has put all things in subjection under his feet.
Man has been given an exalted position in the universe. And that position will one day be exalted even higher.
Thou hast made him for a little while lower than the angels (2:7).
Man is only a little lower than the angels. That is pretty high. That is higher than everything else in this universe. But this lower status will not last. It is only for "a little while." There is coming a day when man will be equal to the angels (Luke 20:34-36).
Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet (2:8).
When God created Adam and the woman, He ordained that the entire creation be placed in subjection to them.
Then God said, "Let Us make man in our image, according to Our likeness; and let them RULE over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." (Genesis 1:26).
Man was given dominion over the entire earth. All things were placed under his feet. He was the lord of creation. He was the king of the earth. He was the sovereign of this planet. But something happened. Man lost the dominion that God gave to him.
But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him (2:8).
Man lost his dominion over creation when he fell into sin. Before that time, he was lord over all that the Lord had created. But now, he would have to fight with creation in order to sustain a living. On the day that Adam sinned, the Lord pronounced a curse upon the earth and all the lived upon it.
Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat from it; Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.
"Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field;
"By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you will return." (Genesis 3:17-19).
The curse on the earth and all life which lived upon it was threefold.
But there is coming a day when all of that will change. There is coming a day when the old order of things will be changed. There is coming a day when the curse will be lifted. There is coming a day when man s toil will be laid to rest. There is coming a day when death will be conquered.
For creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth until now.
And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:20-23).
The world is not as it was meant to be. It entered a state of futility. But there is good news ahead. The earth awaits a rebirth. It will one day be restored. There is coming a day when God will restore the earth to it’s former glory.
We also await a rebirth. We have already been born again on the inside, but we also look forward to a renewal of our bodies.
THE ROLE OF JESUS
But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:9-10).
Now we see come to the purpose for this passage. It is an answer to the objections that would arise from claiming that Jesus is better than the angels.
Jesus was a man. Aren’t men inferior to angels? If Jesus was a man, then wouldn’t He be inferior to angels? And if Jesus is inferior to angels, then wouldn’t the teachings of Jesus be inferior to the teachings of the Law which came through angels?
Now we see the answer. It is that man was originally created to be higher than the angels. But man fell. Man sinned. And so, it became necessary for Jesus to become a man and to become lower than the angels. However, He became lower than the angels in order to lift men higher than the angels.
But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels (2:9).
Now we turn our attention from man to the One who became man. We see Jesus. When Jesus was born, He took on an infinitely lower position than that which He had held for all eternity. He became a man. As a man, He placed Himself in subjection.
He placed Himself in subjection to His foster parents. He placed Himself in subjection to the laws of the land. He placed Himself in subjection to the rulers of the nation. He placed Himself in subjection to the I.R.S., to the Roman taxation system.
During that time, though He was God in the flesh, He lived under the authority of others. That period of subjection was crowned at the cross.
Because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor (2:9).
Jesus came to die. When we think of the death of Christ, we picture the bloodstained cross and the tortured mass of quivering flesh that hung naked upon it. We hear the jeers and taunts of those who were the enemies of the Lord and we hear the rattle of the soldier s dice as the guards gamble over the robe of Jesus. This is a picture of suffering and of death. But we must never think of that picture as a picture of defeat. It was not a defeat, but a glorious victory. It is in the midst of that suffering of death that we see Jesus crowned with glory and honor.
And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Therefore, also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth.
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:8-11).
Jesus humbled Himself to the point of death. He died. You know that. What you must also know is that He died for YOU. He took your place on the cross.
In heaven today sits the One who became a man. That Man is Jesus. He is the only perfect and righteous man. And you have been predestined to be conformed into His image. You are a co-heir with Him. You will share in His inheritance.