Staying with the book of Hebrews, here are a few more buts that will help prepare our hearts to celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth.
Chapter 2, verses 8 and 9 read: Yet at present we do not see everything subject to Him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
First things first. These verses, and indeed this big but, appear in context where Jesus has just been introduced as being superior to angels–in that He is God in flesh. So what about this but? We see Him made lower than the angels?
The profound miracle of Jesus’ advent is this: God humbled Himself by taking on flesh. In that, He was a little lower than the angels–although He was fully God (we considered last week), He was also fully man. And the buts in these first few chapters of Hebrews do a marvelous job of showing us why Jesus taking on a human nature is so important to us.
Take the rest of that passage, for instance. Made lower than the angels and crowned with glory for dying and accomplishing God’s redemptive plan.
Here’s a huge but about it from Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi: Your attitude should be like Christ Jesus: Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled Himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross.
Do you sense the weight of what is being said? God humbled Himself for our sake–Oh how He loves you and me!
Back in Chapter 2 of Hebrews, notice some key words between verses 14 and 18: since, so that, for this reason, and because. Let those words walk you through the passage. It was critical that God take on flesh. It was crucial to His accomplishing our salvation. It delivered us from slavery to the fear of death. And allows Jesus to be a sympathetic intercessor and priest for us. He’s been there. And right in the middle of it, another but: For surely it’s not angels He helps, but Abraham’s descendants.
The author of Hebrews gives us yet another but at the end of chapter four to put this all into perspective:For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.
Are you getting the sense that this is about a lot more than Christmas lights?