Wednesday of Lent 4 Trinity Lutheran Church
29 March 2017 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
Hebrews 2:10-18 / Shared Blood
God puts you into a family. You have a father, mother, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Kids, what do people say about you when they look at you? They say, “you are your Dad and Mom’s flesh and blood!” By flesh and blood you are hooked to your parents. It’s quite physical. Remember what Adam said when God brought Eve to him for holy marriage after He created her from Adam’s side? “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” So, out of Adam and Eve’s flesh and blood God established the home and family.
Now, let’s push this theme further. Clinch it. Remarkably, the eternal second Person of the Trinity, Jesus, God the Son takes on human flesh and blood in the womb of the Virgin Mary and He is Bethlehem-ly born a man. No wonder the text says that Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. Jesus is your elder Brother – shares your flesh and blood. Why? Well, here’s why. So that He, the High Priest, makes the only sacrifice that atones for the whole enchilada of sin and a world full of sinners. Jesus does not overlook sin. He deals with it.
Let me just quote the text. “Therefore, in all things Jesus had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”
Note that the text says the High Priest Jesus, your flesh and blood elder Brother “suffered” the same things we suffer. However, there is a critical distinction between us and Jesus. Let me explain.
We suffer because WE SIN in thought, word and deed. We make bad choices. We hurt others and we hurt ourselves. That’s part of the suffering we endure because of our sin. Sometimes the suffering happens because others sin against us. Many times we are victimized by the sinful deeds others perpetrate against us.
Jesus, however, isn’t a sinner! His is without sin. He’s perfect. Still, He suffers! Yes, the text says that He “suffered.” Why? Well, because on the cross Jesus takes your sin in His body. It’s all laid on Him. No sin is excluded. He carries in His body the wounds of your abuse. He willingly makes Himself the victim of the world’s sin FOR YOU – FOR YOUR SALVATION. The prophet Isaiah spoke of Jesus as “oppressed and afflicted” and that Jesus was “wounded for our transgressions.” Jesus suffers – with YOUR SIN on the cross. JESUS KNOWS SUFFERING VERY WELL. Rejected by men. Betrayed by a trusted disciple. Deserted by the rest. The excruciating pain of the flogging, beatings, and crucifixion. But most of all – the utter and complete forsakenness by God the Father Himself. Never was there suffering like the suffering of Jesus your elder Brother.
In addition, the text says that Jesus was “tempted.” He’s tempted in every way just like we are but He did not sin. He endured totally and completely the same temptations of the devil and the world like we are. Indeed. However, Jesus was repeatedly tempted not to go the way of the cross. Once by Satan in the wilderness after His baptism but then again by Satan through the mouth of Peter Himself. And then, once He’s on the cross the satanic temptation is quite delectable in the form of the mockers that promise: “If you come down from the cross we will believe in you.”
As it is with suffering, so also with temptations. Jesus is no stranger to temptation. He confronted them all head on and defeated them. Therefore, He, your elder Brother is able to help you in the times of your temptation.
The point of tonight’s sermon then is that Jesus, because He shares your flesh and blood, He then shares what is common to you His brothers and sisters. Suffering. Temptation. And even death! It’s all done to save you! Jesus shares your flesh and blood so that through “death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil and release those who subject to bondage.”
You know, the devil, like a slave master, uses death like a whip to instill fear and tyrannize you like a slave. All people are held in slavery by the fear of death. So, Jesus takes on our flesh and blood, comes to our world in the form of a slave. However, He is not obedient to slave master Satan. Jesus remains obedient to His Father even while His body is cuts to shred with cords of the slave master’s whip. As the final lash of that whip falls on His back, He prays, “Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit.” Jesus dies. However, His Good Friday death, that appears to be defeat for Him is really the undoing and destruction of Satan who had the power of death. In that Good Friday dying Jesus releases you from death’s prison camp.
Your Brother Jesus is your High Priest. The body that died and the blood that He shed for your atonement give you cleansing and forgiveness of sins. By His Good Friday body and blood you have total victory over death and the devil.
Check out the words of this hymn:
As by one man all mankind fell
And born in sin, was doomed to hell.
So by one Man who took our place,
We all received the gift of grace.
That one Man is your Brother, the Lord Jesus, that took on your flesh and blood to redeem you. To save you.
In the Name of Jesus.