THE BORN SUPREMACY — Episode 4
by Pastor Mike Fortune
October 8, 2011
- We don't embarrass Jesus (Hebrews 2:10-12; Zephaniah 3:17)
- He frees us from fear of dying (Hebrews 2:13-15; 1 Corinthians 15:55)
- He is a truth worthy High Priest (Hebrews 2:16-18; Hebrews 7:25)
Jesus creates (Hebrews 1:1-2), sustains (Hebrews 1:3), and saves (Hebrews 1:4). Scriptures point to Jesus (Hebrews 1:5). Angels point to Jesus (Hebrews 1:6-7). And our hospitality points others to Jesus—which still today is our most effective evangelistic tool (Hebrews 1:14). But absence makes the heart wander (Hebrews 2:1). Which leads to salvation squander (Hebrews 2:2-3). So Scripture warns us not to wander away and neglect this great salvation that God provides. And we are assured that if we stay close to Jesus, He will make our hearts grow fonder once again (Hebrews 2:9). In episode 4 of the Born Supremacy of Jesus, we’ll find from Scripture three more reasons why Jesus is supreme. The first is because we don’t embarrass Jesus.
Please open your Bibles to Hebrews 2:10-18 to see what I mean. “10God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. 11So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. 12For he said to God, "I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people." 13He also said, "I will put my trust in him," that is, "I and the children God has given me." 14Because God's children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. 16We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. 17Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. 18Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.”
A few years ago I was far from home in a different city for a meeting and went to the YMCA to work out before driving home. I walked into the locker room and threw my gym bag on the bench. I ripped off my shirt and was stuffing it in a locker when a woman walked into the locker room. She stopped and starred at me. I stopped and stared back at her. She asked me what I was doing in here. I said changing and asked her what she was doing in here. She said you might want to do that in the men’s locker room since this one is for women. Totally humiliated, I mumbled an apology on my way out the door.
But that’s not the most embarrassing moment I’ve had. At my grandmother’s funeral most recently, I had been asked to lead out. Which I did. But before the service began, as I was walking in the back of the packed room, my brother Mark rushed up to me to tell me that I needed to lead the song my mom picked for us to sing. Which normally doesn’t freak me out because I can sing a little bit. But the song my mom picked was a very old song my grandmother loved that isn’t in our hymnal and I had never sung around a camp fire. The words were on the back of the program and so I got a little worried about them since I didn’t recognize them.
Then, to make matters worse, the funeral director meets me on the way in the back door of the room and asks me if I’m ready to go and I said almost since I still needed to grab a Bible and double check with my family some details of the service who were seated in the front rows. But instead, the funeral director shouts “All rise” as if I’m some judge walking into a court room and apparently my grand mother’s memorial had begun! Which freaked me out a little more because I wasn’t ready yet. But I knew the order of service and aside from the that song I had to fake like I knew how to sing, I felt like I could simply repeat from memory the memory verse from Psalm 23.
So I asked everyone to please be seated and we got on with it and everything was going fine until half way through the 23rd Psalm I realized I had morphed into reciting the Lord’s Prayer! I had been reciting it in King James, since that was grandmother’s favorite version, but in the commotion of the day, I got messed in the head and was now butchering my grandmother’s favorite verse in front of my family and all her friends. And because I didn’t have my Bible, and couldn’t find one in the pulip or on the organ nearby, I fumbled in my pocket for my Bible on my phone to re-read it the Scripture correctly. But I had let Josh play with my phone during church earlier that day and when I pulled it out, I couldn’t figure out how to get it from Arabic to English! I finally did, but not before the grandson who really is a pastor looked completely incompetent. One lady afterward actually asked me, “Was that your first funeral?” Talk about embarrassing.
But sadly, that wasn’t even my most embarrassing ministry moment. My most embarrassing ministry moment came this year as well when after reading an email from someone, I incorrectly concluded that someone they loved had died. So I typed out a pastoral reply full of Scriptures and condolences to this person’s family, but he wasn’t dead yet! Aye yie yie! Before he did die, I apologized to everyone involved and was happy to hear that everyone read my email and got a good laugh out of it for which I am grateful.
You know, we all do some really stupid stuff sometimes. Stuff that we think is so embarrassing. And some of it really is. But aren’t you glad no matter what we’ve done, that Scripture says we don't embarrass Jesus? This is point number one. The first chapter of Hebrews is all about supremacy of Jesus as God. The second chapter of Hebrews is all about the supremacy of Jesus as man. The first probably began in heaven, before the Creation of the world according to 1 Peter 1:20, when Jesus decided to humble himself and let go of eternity to step into time, be born into poverty, and raised in this world amidst all the rumors and false accusations of his birth. As Allan says, that would be like us choosing to be born an ant to save a colony of ants. How many of you would die to save an ant?
But Jesus did. Because He loves us like crazy! And because we don't embarrass Jesus! So great is His love for us! God asked Moses to lead the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt after he had murdered an Egyptian. When David should have been out in the field of battle, he stayed home and committed adultery with Bathsheba and then plotted the murder of her husband. But after confessing his sin, God called David a man after his own heart. Peter, in spite of his self-confidence and his great boast, denied the Lord, as did the rest of the disciples who fled before the evening our Lord’s arrest was over. But Jesus shows up in the Upper Room and brings them blessing and peace.
Through Jesus everything was made. Through Jesus, God brings his children into glory. And it was only right that He who created us should be the one to save us through his suffering and death on the cross. Verse 11 says, “So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.” He’s not disappointed in us when we do embarrassing things. He knows we’ll fall short of the glory of God. That’s why He came. To live a life we could not. To die for our sins. 1 John 3:1 says, “Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us that we should be called the sons of God.” We have the same Father. That makes us his brothers and sisters. He created us. And He died to save us.
And what I told the kids in chapel yesterday is that we should be happy to sing His praises because He actually sings about ours! We know the angels sing God’s praises around the throne of God. And for thousands of years we know men have sung God’s praises. But did you know that God sings about us? Zephaniah 3:17 says, “17For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Tenth Avenue North sings a song on KLove radio I like called, “You Are More.” I added it to my blog’s playlist if you want to listen to it later. But the words go like this. “This is not about what you've done / But what's been done for you / This is not about where you've been / But where your brokenness brings you to / You are more than the problems you create / You've been remade.” Though we are like ants to Him, compared to the greatness of God. He made us. And still loves us flaws and all. There’s nothing we can do to make Him love us more. And there’s nothing we can do to make Him love us less. We share the same Father. And Zephaniah 3:17 says the Father sings our praises! How it must please Him to know we still love Him when we don’t feel loveable. How it must please Him when we trust Him when everyone around us isn’t worthy of our trust. How it must please Him when we love others even when they don’t love us back. Simply because that’s how Jesus first loved as well. Aren’t you glad you don’t embarrass God? That you’re His brother and sister? I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.
Another reason Jesus is supreme is because He takes away our fear of dying. Look at verses 13-15. “13He also said, "I will put my trust in him," that is, "I and the children God has given me." 14Because God's children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.”
My grandmother understood point number two clearly. Grandma believed in God. She whistled about Him. Sang about Him. And taught us to do the same. Because she knew Jesus was her Creator and Redeemer. She wasn’t afraid of dying. Death had lost its sting. 1 Corinthians 15:55 taunts death saying, “55O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” Some day, she will rise again when Jesus comes again. For the follower of Jesus, the inevitable pain of separation and loss remains. Even Jesus was moved by death and cried at the tomb of Lazarus. But even in death, we are comforted because we know Jesus has removed the fear of dying death brings.
Jesus asks in Mark 3:27, “Who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger—someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.” And that someone is Jesus. Acts 2:24 says, “God released him [Jesus] from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.” Not only did Christ rise from dead, but when He did, Matthew 27:52-53 says, “Tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus' resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.” And by faith, we are already resurrected as well! Ephesians 2:6 says, “For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” Colossians 2:15 adds, “In this way, he [Jesus] disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.” 2 Timothy 1:10 states that, “He [Jesus] broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.” And Revelation 1:18 confirms that Jesus holds “the keys of death and the grave.”
Jesus has destroyed the power of Satan and the coolest part is that one day death itself will die. Revelation 20:14 says, “death and the grave” will be thrown “into the lake of fire.” You see, that’s why my grandmother wasn’t afraid to die. She knew Jesus is stronger than Satan and that Jesus broke the power of death at the cross and was resurrected and by faith, that we have been already resurrected with Him. Aren’t you glad Jesus loves us like crazy and isn’t embarrassed to call us family? Even though we keep doing embarrassing things? Aren’t you glad Jesus takes away our fear of dying? Like Zephaniah said, He is mighty to save. But lastly, Jesus is supreme because He is a merciful and faithful high priest. Look at verse 17. “17Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. 18Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.”
This verse, Hebrews 2:17, is the first place we find Jesus called High Priest in Hebrews. In fact, it is the first place in all the Bible where find it. The manner in which the terms occurs—casually and without explanation—suggests that the idea was already familiar to readers. Additional proof of this can be found in Revelation 1:13 where Jesus appears dressed as a priest and in Romans 8:34 where it says Jesus “Died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God's right hand, pleading for us.” That’s the verse preceding the more well known verses in Romans 8 about how nothing can separate us from the love of God. Not death nor life. Angels nor demons. Present or the future. Neither height nor depth. Nor anything else in all creation can separate us from the love of God. Why? Because Jesus is our heavenly high priest and He is interceding for us! He is alive and well! and in the first century, the people reading Hebrews already knew that. Though today much of Christianity has forgotten that.
We’ll come back to the significance of Jesus being our Creator, Redeemer, and High Priest later in Hebrews. But listen to one early conclusion in Hebrews 7:25. “Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.” Hebrews 4:15 says Jesus did not sin. But could have. And knows we did. And still do. This doesn’t surprise Jesus. It doesn’t embarrass Him. Point number one. It pleases Him that we trust Him to forgive and keep forgiving us of our sin. When we ask him to, God sings our praises! He frees us from fear our of dying. Point number two. And because He lives to intercede for us, and has experienced not only the general problems of human woe like heartaches and sickness and tragedy and grief but also the specific suffering death on a cross Hebrews describes six times (2:9,10,18,5:7, 8; 9:26; 13:12) but emerged victorious, He has proven to be our merciful and faithful and therefore trust worthy high priest. Will you adore Him? Will you trust Him? Now you have a few more reasons to do so.