Comparing Ants to Elephants
Hebrews 2:8b, 9 (ESV) says: “Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
These two verses could take us in many different directions but one immediately comes to my mind, the result of a discussion yesterday in our ladies’ Bible Study. We were talking about Abel as a man of faith. The Scriptures don’t give us a lot of detail, but we do know that after Adam and Eve sinned, God Himself killed an animal to provide clothing to cover their nakedness (Genesis 3:21). This act began a whole series of illustrations that flow through the entire Old Testament and culminate with the death of Christ as the perfect sacrifice for sin and the fulfillment of the promise that those illustrations portrayed.
We talked about how we thought God would have felt as He sacrificed part of His own creation in order to save another part of His creation. He didn’t ask Adam or Eve to do it. They would never have reason to think that they could provide for themselves the “out” that would cover their sins. He did it Himself. That took us to talking about how God the Father must have felt as His Son, Jesus, was nailed to a cross as our substitute. How does a Father feel as He gives up the Son He could save, for sinners who don’t deserve to be saved?
“For a little while” Jesus was one of us. Hebrews 2 goes on to say: “…he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (2:17, 18).
Some say that the celebration of Christ’s birth isn’t all that important. After all, His death and subsequent resurrection are the pinnacle of the Gospel story. But His coming IS important. The second was not possible without the first. That makes the celebration of His coming, the rejoicing in that “little while” Jesus was one of us extremely significant.
The beginning of Hebrews 2 reminds us of this: “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it…how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” The Christ of Christmas is substituted for the Santa of Happy Holidays and the Christ of the Cross is replaced by the bunny of chocolate egg hunts. We can’t expect the unregenerate to pay attention to the "drift," but woe to those of us who claim to know Him if we ignore Him, replace Him or soften Him, and His most significant acts, in the name of expediency or political correctness.
The huge sacrifices He made, make any small ones we make on to celebrate His seem pretty paltry.