7 day plan

Power and Weakness

Day 5 of 7

Hebrews 2:17-18

17Therefore, he had to be like his brothers and sisters in every way, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in matters pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. 18For since he himself has suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.

Reflection: (See Hebrews 2:5-16 for further reading)

One of the central truths of the Christian faith is the Incarnation. The Lord Jesus Christ is both fully divine and fully human. Because Jesus is the model for true humanity, he models for us how we should combine both power and weakness. In the Incarnation the Son of God makes himself vulnerable, even weak, yet this does not threaten his power – it unleashes it.
The Gospel of Mark is the premier text for us to see this. The Gospel of Mark is broken into two halves – 16 chapters altogether – and the first 8 are all about Jesus’ miracle-working power. But in the second half of Mark, chapters 9-16, the miracles reduce, and the suffering and death of the Messiah become the focus. The first half is about mighty miracles. The second half is about vulnerable suffering.
And you could, if you really wanted to twist things, think that Jesus is no longer powerful in the second half. But in point of fact it is the cross and the resurrection that are the greatest act of power this world has ever seen. It is power expressed through sacrificial weakness.
The one who brings the kingdom is the Suffering Servant. Power and weakness combine in the work of Jesus Christ.

Question:  When you consider Jesus, do you only think of him as powerful? How might it change your life to see that Jesus is the perfect example of how to be vulnerable and weak?

Prayer:  Gracious God, I thank you that your precious Son shares fully in our humanity. He knows what it is like to be tired. He knows what it is like to be lonely. He knows what it is like to suffer. Yet none of this diminishes his power and majesty. I worship you because you have saved us by sending a perfect substitute. I delight in you because your Son exemplifies how we can hold power and weakness together. Amen.

Days

Hebrews 2:1-18

Warning against Neglect

1For this reason, we must pay attention all the more to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away. 2For if the message spoken through angels was legally binding and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment, 3how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? This salvation had its beginning when it was spoken of by the Lord, and it was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4At the same time, God also testified by signs and wonders, various miracles, and distributions of gifts from the Holy Spirit according to his will.

Jesus and Humanity

5For he has not subjected to angels the world to come that we are talking about. 6But someone somewhere has testified:

What is man that you remember him,

or the son of man that you care for him?

7You made him lower than the angels

for a short time;

you crowned him with glory and honor

8and subjected everything under his feet.

For in subjecting everything to him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. As it is, we do not yet see everything subjected to him. 9But we do see Jesus — made lower than the angels for a short time so that by God’s grace he might taste death for everyone — crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death.

10For in bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was entirely appropriate that God — for whom and through whom all things exist — should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, 12saying:

I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters;

I will sing hymns to you in the congregation.

13Again, I will trust in him. And again, Here I am with the children God gave me.

14Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through his death he might destroy the one holding the power of death — that is, the devil —  15and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. 16For it is clear that he does not reach out to help angels, but to help Abraham’s offspring. 17Therefore, he had to be like his brothers and sisters in every way, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in matters pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. 18For since he himself has suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.