Pastoral letter 157

JOHN GILLESPIE

“He had to be made like His brothers in every way”

Hebrews 2:17

 Printable version: pastoral letter 157

 

Over these next six weeks, we will be discovering just why Jesus is to be treasured above all else, even above life itself.

 

Our exploration will take us through the Letter to the Hebrews.  This letter was written to Jews who had come to believe in Jesus.  In encouraging these Hebrew believers to remain faithful followers of Jesus Christ, Jesus is presented as the One who is better than all the best their old Jewish faith had to offer.  In Hebrews we see Jesus Christ as our Best:

  • Brother
  • Prophet
  • Priest
  • Promise
  • Purifier
  • Pastor

There is so much more to Jesus Christ yet to discover!  The Bible presents our Lord Jesus in so many facets, so many images, so many dimensions.  The letter to the Hebrews is deeply rich and multi-faceted in its offering to us of Jesus Christ.  As we explore this treasure-trove of Truth let us grow in treasuring Christ supremely.

JESUS, OUR BEST BROTHER

We will do well to remember that the very health of our soul is determined by the value of that which we love the most.  To see Christ with ever-increasing clarity and fullness is to invite one’s soul to love Him with ever-increasing abandon and joy, growing in ever-increasing health.

 

Now, imagine with me that you are a Jewish person who has come to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, and as your Lord and Saviour.  In turning to Christ, you have turned away from the Temple, the Priest, and the Sacrifice, all of which you can see, smell, and touch right now, receiving instead a Faith that deals in the unseen, the heard of, and the future.  You have left a sense-based religion for a faith-based relationship.

 

You have joined a new family, and Jesus, the Lord Jesus, is now your Brother, your best Brother.

 

Take some time to read Hebrews 2.  You will there discover four wonderful Truths about Jesus, our Brother.

 

First, Jesus Christ is not just our Brother, not even just our best brother.  He is our Perfect Brother.

 

Hebrews 2:6-8 speak of the nobility of mankind:  “made a little lower than the angels…crowned with glory and honour…everything under his feet…”  But there is a problem here!  Right now we do not “see everything subject to” mankind.  Rather, we see emotions, wills, homes, nations, bodies, marriages, far from subject to mankind, at least not so in any glorious sense!

 

What do we do?  Where do we go?  Is there any human being that we can look to in confidence?  Is there anyone to “champion” the human family?  Is there anyone without a skeleton in their closet?

 

Yes there is!  Our Brother, Jesus Christ:  “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels [who became our brother] now crowned with glory and honour” (v.9).  We dare not, we cannot, build our hopes upon each other, but we certainly can do so upon our Perfect Brother, Jesus Christ.

 

Broken people, failed and frail creatures of dust, need to see their Perfect Brother crowned with glory and honour and find their hope and victory in Him.

 

Next, He is our Proud Brother. He is not only “not ashamed” to own us as His brothers and sisters, (v 11), he is happy to boast of us, owning us as His own before the very throne of His Father (vv 12-13).

 

He confidently leads us to right to Heaven itself. It is He who will bring “many sons to glory” (v 10).  Indeed, God saw fit to use Jesus’ suffering to provide for us a perfect, complete, saving Brother for us.

 

Jesus Christ, our Best Brother, is both the holy One and the One who makes us holy (v.11).  We are “of the same family” with Jesus.  And as such, “Jesus is not ashamed to call [us] brothers.”

 

What infinite and unimaginable condescension!  Jesus comes down so that He can lead His brothers and sisters up…all the way to glory. He actually wants those whom His Father has given Him to be with Him where He is and to behold His glory! (John 17:24)

 

Because He has redeemed us at immeasurable cost to Himself, He is actually proud of us as His brothers and sisters.  We are His boast!  “Here I am and the children God has given me” (v 13).

 

But there is more to learn of our Brother Jesus!  He is our Victorious Brother. This Brother defeats our enemy for us. Look at verses 14-16.  Our Big Brother, Jesus, has dealt with that “evil trinity” of Sin, Satan, and Death on our behalf.  He handled the bully and sent him on his bike!

 

The Bible is clear that in sharing our humanity, Jesus has even shared in our death, that “by His death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is the devil”.  Jesus, our Best Brother, took it on the chin for us, and then floored the devil for us!

 

We no longer need be afraid of death, held in bondage to it by the fear of it.  Death has been destroyed by death, as John Owen rightly noted in the title of his book, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.

 

What a Brother!

 

But there is a fourth great Truth regarding this our Best Brother.

 

He is our Priestly Brother.  Jesus Christ represents us in Heaven.  Read verses 16-18.  Indeed, it is not what you know but who you know that counts!  This Jesus was “made like His brothers in every way” (ponder that), which has enabled Him:

1) to be a “merciful and faithful High Priest” representing us to God,

2) “make atonement for the sins of the people” (that means us!), and

3) “help those who are tempted”, because He Himself has  suffered temptation.

 

Imagine this:  God’s Son is our Advocate before His, and our, Father.  He is our Barrister before a Holy and all wise Judge.  And it is He Himself who has already satisfied the requirements of that Judge, His Father, with His own sacrifice of Himself on the Cross.

 

Our Perfect, Proud, Victorious Brother, is our Priest before the very throne of God the Father.

 

Take time and consider this Wonderful Jesus.  Call Him, the very Lord of all, your Brother, your Perfect, Proud, Victorious, Priest Brother!

 

Treasure Him in this way this week.

 

Your Brother and His,

 

John Gillespie