Reflections on Hebrews 2:10-18

            The Incarnation of Jesus Christ stands at the center of Christian revelation, and therefore at the center of all reality. That the eternal God would partake of “flesh and blood” is an incomprehensible mystery (2:14). What is more, the Incarnation reveals not only God as human but also God as Triune. It is only when the Son of God becomes a man that it is fully known that God has a Son. The words of the Psalms—“I will tell of your name to my brothers”; “I will put my trust in him” (2:12-13)—are revealed to be the words of God to God. This is not an empty self-to-self communication as if God were speaking as a Person to himself, his own Person, but rather it is the communication from one Person to another Person, though not differing in essence. Therefore, it is only because God is “multi-personal” that an Incarnation is possible. Only one who is related to God, and yet himself is God, can become human and bridge the gap between God and humanity. If God was unipersonal, he would not be able to mediate between himself and creation.

            The goal of the Incarnation is to bring “many sons to glory” (2:10). Thus, the mystery deepens further. This One who is God and yet distinct from God is not related to him merely as Person to Person, but as Son to Father. It is precisely because there exists Sonship within God that human beings can be adopted as God’s children and brought into God’s own life. In other words, God did not need to create in order to be Father. Rather, he is Father from all eternity, independent from anything outside of himself. Connecting these dots in Hebrews 2, the Son of God came to share in our “flesh and blood” in order that we might share in his Sonship, as we are brought to glory as sons (2:14; cf. 2:10).

            Jesus accomplishes this exchange by dying to conquer death (2:14-15). His death conquers the devil and liberates his captives. In this way, he is a “faithful high priest in the service of God” (2:17). Now the paradox shines in full clarity. The One who is God eternally, by nature indestructible and immortal, has descended to the lowest place that a human can go: death. He destroyed the devil not by vaporizing him with his all-powerful breath, but by himself submitting to death and plundering his goods (cf. Matthew 12:29). What kind of God is this? A God, strangely enough, who is humble.

            This is the Gospel. This is what Christians have that no one else does.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: