Sunday, 23 September 2018

A New Humanity - Hebrews 2:5 - 3:6

We all do pecking orders. Put is in a room of new people and sub-consciously we start working out who is head of the pack and where we fit. The author gives a pecking order by quoting Psalm 8: it's God - angels - humankind - animals/plants/rocks etc. But the much bigger ad more important point is that in this amazing creation is the fact that God intended humankind (i.e. us!) to be in charge over the rest of creation! We are to look after it, to steward it. This includes creation care, it includes wise looking after of animals, but we should also realise that it is a spiritual thing.

God's idea all along is that we have spiritual authority over creation, we look after it and enable it to thrive, which is a spiritual work. We do this under the authority of God - our authority is derived or delegated. Just as a boss tasks an employee to decide and procure new office equipment, so we have delegated authority for the task.

Yet there is a problem. As in v8 we don't see all of creation nicely in order. What we see is a big mess! The reason is we have got the whole God-us-creation thing wrong. We have made created things our gods. Whether it is an apple that looks good to eat, yet proves to be a hideous mistake, or an Apple-Iphone that is a super piece of useful tech, yet ends up controlling our lives, we have made the created to be our god(s). This means the whole world order is flipped around, and the result is that there is mess up everywhere. This is a spiritual problem, and leads to brokenness all around us.

But then the author writes v9, some incredible words: 'We do not see everything subject to them, but we see Jesus'. In Jesus we see how things should be, we see restoring to proper order, and therefore putting right. God has made a journey - from the heights of His own glory down (through the level of angels) to humanity, to our level. In fact He has gone further, he went all the way down to death - the bottom of the pile. How does God view this? V10 says this was 'fitting', it is God's way, the right way to restore all things.

The author spells out through v11 to v18 a really important concept: important both for our understanding of God and for our thinking on our own mission. This is the concept of identification. God in Jesus becomes human, like us in every way: emotions, experiences, temptations and even suffering. Jesus embraces what it is really like to be human. We had last time that Jesus is fully God, now we see how Jesus is fully human. It is by God identifying with us that He can put things right. When we reach out to others, it is therefore also important to consider how we identify with them. Note this is becoming like but not doing the same as others - we maintain difference in behaviours and attitudes. This is what Jesus did: and his life/words/actions show us what it means to be fully human - he is the example of humanity for us all.

There are key people who are figure-heads for God's purposes. Adam (& Eve), Abraham and Moses all were to lead and seed humanity in God's purposes for the whole created order. Great as each of these people were, Jesus is greater! Jesus is the one who has journeyed down from God-splendour to our level, showing humanity as it should be, has gone to the depths of death, but is now raised back to the heights of glory.

So therefore (there it is again - the author hits us with a 'therefore'!) Fix your eyes on Jesus. Put your concentration, set your thought, orientate yourself and your whole life to Him. Look to Him, and not the mess around you. For He is the one who will restore, who has things in the right order, who has not flipped it around. He is the one truly qualified to lead us forward.

Whenever you see things are messed up, where do you look? Hence the key questions and challenge:

Key Qn: [IN] What is your first response to the worldly mess around you?
Challenge: When disturbing news comes, first look to Jesus

If we keep our gaze on Him, then we will find we are being built into something special. We will be built into a new humanity, centered/based/founded on the one who is truly human. It will be like an incredible building that stands tall - but of course not a physical building. Rather it will be an incredible family, a household of God, who take their part in restoring lives and creation around them, set right again in the spiritual authority always intended fulfilling the purposes God had all along.

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