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Day 3—Friday, February 16

Hebrews 2:5-9, The Message

God didn’t put angels in charge of this business of salvation that we’re dealing with here. It says in Scripture, What is man and woman that you bother with them: why take a second look their way? You made them not as high as angels, bright with Eden’s dawn light; Then you put them in charge of your entire handcrafted world. When God put them in charge of everything, nothing was excluded. But we don’t see it yet, don’t see everything under human jurisdiction. What we do see is Jesus, made “not quite as high as angels”, and then, through the experience of death, crowned so much higher than any angel, with a glory “bright with Eden’s dawn light”. In that death, by God’s grace, he fully experienced death in every person’s place.

In reflecting on the theme of this year’s Lenten Devotional, I was drawn to identify where our senses were revealed in this scripture. These verses were shared in letter or in voice, perhaps a sermon to Christians (who once identified as Hebrew) and so they were hearers of the word. There are also several references to sight. In the final verse, The Message describes Jesus as experiencing death while other more traditional translations describe Jesus as tasting death.

In reading more background about these verses, apparently these second generation Hebrews, who were following or considering following Christ, were also anxious and conflicted. Not to mention they were under severe persecution from both the Romans and the Jews. It was safe to fall back into old ways of worship, but the author of Hebrews was urging them not to lose faith. These followers had heard from others who witnessed Christ, but they had not seen Jesus. They were also awaiting Jesus’ second coming, yet again they had not seen this promise come to pass. 

We are not a lot different than these early believers. We have not seen Jesus and although we hear his words from scripture, we have our doubts and questions. The old adage, “seeing is believing” seems perfectly rational, however this faith to which we are called says instead, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe”. The mystery of our faith is that we cannot know God now as we will when we are joined with him in our own death. The verse, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known,” answers our doubts when we cannot see. 

And finally, what about our taste. In communion we taste the bread and wine. Its sweet taste at the Lord’s table reminds us that we are brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, sharing in the meal to which He invites us. Even as Jesus faced a bitter and excruciating death, the author of Hebrews reminds us that Jesus was crowned and experienced death in every person’s place. 

May we remember the message of Hebrews in our daily routines; that Christ’s reign is the fulfillment of scripture and that we are reassured of God’s grace through His sacrificial life and death.

-Mark Derbyshire


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