Coney Hill Baptist Church

Demonstrating God’s Love Together

He’s No Angel

Hebrews 2:5-18...

Intro:

In a survey this week 29% of people in the UK said they believed they had a personal guardian angel.  Angels have rarely been so popular.

It’s normally considered a compliment to be called an angel.  Angels are good, perfect even.     That view seems to be underlined by the readings we’ve had which talk about human beings having been made, ‘a little lower than the angels’.  Looking more closely however we can see that the end of the story sees human beings ‘brought to glory’, in other words being elevated to a level even higher than the angels.  They started from a lower point but grew, changed, got promoted and ended alongside God himself.

Angels are God’s workhorses, messengers, they look good but frankly it’s a bit of a dead-end job, the prospects are limited.  Being human though, is a tough business – but the potential is amazing!   And the real difference, the reason for that extraordinary potential, the capacity we have to relate to God. 

In thinking then about how the good news of Jesus is all about renewing relationships, and how it can, and ought, to make a difference to all our relationships. We have to start with one particular relationship – broadly that between God and man, creator and creature, but more specifically between Jesus and His followers….

This passage in Hebrews, complex and full of theological depth, is astounding in expanding on this theme – how we are more than Angels… because of Jesus…

 

Jesus a Man

When God revealed himself to us he could’ve come as an Angel, or as some half-way house figure, as JW’s and Mormons suggest, but he didn’t  - he came as a man, a fully fledged human being.

But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death” (v.9)

All that we need to see, all of God’s goodness and all of God’s plan, in a man!

“In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.” (v.10)

A grand image, leading a bedraggled trail of unlikely individuals to an ultimate triumph. Achieved not though his innate glory but by the honour of his humanity, the glory of his suffering.

 

Jesus a Brother

But why was his becoming a man so important?  Because it enabled that relationship with us – Jesus as our brother!

Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.” (v.11)

‘of the same family’ Literally made of the same stuff. Yes Jesus is unique, sinless, pre-existing, divine – but it is in his similarity to us, not his difference, that his glory is demonstrated and salvation secured.

 

Jesus a Sufferer

But how?   

it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.” (v.16-17)

The problem with being human, were tempted to think, why we occasionally drift into fantasies about becoming angels, is that human life is hard. We struggle and suffer, things go wrong, we are lonely and miserable, people fail us we get sick …people die. 

To break that power, to transform it, Jesus experienced it, to save us, as individuals, taking our punishment, but also, in the words of the song – ‘to lift our humanity to the heights of His throne’.

 

Conc.

So this relationship with God that we talk about so much, the offer of which is at the heart of the gospel and the acceptance of which is the key to abundant, eternal life.

It’s not just God throwing a bridge across a ravine from His side to ours and yelling at us to walk across it.  It’s Him struggling to our side, picking us up and carrying us back across.  More than that, it’s Him reassuring and reminding us that what we feel about ourselves, at even the bleakest moments, specifically in our circumstances or about life in general, just isn’t true.

It’s because we suffer, as a result of our experience of pain, loss death, that we also can love … that’s how God made us because that’s how He wants us, how He has saved us and brought us back to glory – Angels could never do that.