The Power of Jesus Becoming Flesh and Blood

Scripture

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14-15)

Observation

Jesus had to become flesh and blood in order that his death and resurrection might destroy the power of death over us, once and for all.  Therefore, the devil’s power over us has been defeated.  The only real power he had was death.  Now that power is gone.  We no longer need to fear death.  It can have no permanent impact on our eternity.  The communion elements of the bread and the cup represent the fact that Jesus became flesh and blood like us.  Had he not, we would still be living in fear of death.

Application

I can face death with great hope and expectation for the resurrected life that awaits me.  I can point others to the hope that I have.  I must always remember that those who face death without Jesus are afraid, whether they acknowledge it or not.  I have good news to share with them.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you are so loving to do everything necessary to defeat death for us.  You became flesh and blood to defeat death and to destroy the power of the devil.  I will not fear him or his power.  Greater are you in me than he who is defeated. I love you, Jesus, my brother and my Savior.

Stop Defending God

I heard a sermon yesterday on Genesis 22, where God tested Abraham by commanding him to take his son Isaac and sacrifice him on one of the mountains of Moriah.  As I was listening to the retelling of this story, I thought to myself, “What understanding of God did Abraham have that he would so instantaneous act to obey this command from God?” After all, when I read this passage, I immediately begin to wrestle with tough questions like:

  • What kind of God would test someone, especially someone like Abraham who had already proven that he was faithful?
  • What kind of God would ask someone to kill their own son as a sacrifice?
  • What kind of God would subject any person, especially a child, to such trauma?

As soon as I attempt to answer these questions and resolve the tensions they bring, I begin to define God.  Of course I don’t think of it as “defining God.”  I would prefer to say that I am forming a theological understanding.  Nevertheless, the reality is that I am defining God for myself in ways that diminishes the tensions of this passage.

However, Abraham didn’t seem to be as bothered by these questions.  Was he pained by the command?  I am sure he was.  Did he grieve deeply?  How could he not?  Did he ponder the purpose of the act he was being commanded to perform?  Of course!  This was Isaac, the only son born to Sarah and him.  He was the son God had promised to give them in their old age.  Isaac was the one through whom a great nation would descend– the nation that would bless all peoples on earth (see Genesis 12:2-3).  Yet Abraham obeyed.

What was Abraham’s understanding of God that caused him to obey with such immediacy?  Well, Abraham believed:

  1. God is God.  For a moment forget the Bible and Christianity, or any other faith or religious system for that matter.  By definition, God is one to be obeyed.  Whether that God is benevolent or a mean-spirited, harsh God, he must be obeyed.
  2. God is Creator.  He created us; he was not created.  He defines us; we cannot define him.  He is God – He is.  He made us according to his design.  We cannot make him according to our design.    Therefore, he is boss.  If he commands us, we must obey.
  3. God is the Source.  He is the giver of life and all things.  We are to be totally dependent on him for all things.  To disobey would be to depend on someone or something other than God.

Abraham knew from previous experience that God was good and the giver of good things.  Therefore, Abraham knew that God would bring good out of his act of obedience.  He reasoned that God could raise Isaac from the dead, though there was no guarantee of that (see Hebrew 11:19).  ramBecause Abraham knew God to be God, Creator and Source, he could confidently say to Isaac, when asked where the lamb was for the sacrifice, “The LORD will see to the lamb” (Genesis 22:8).  Most translations read: “The Lord will provide the lamb.”  However, the true sense of the word is that God sees.  The implication for Abraham was that God was in control, he knew what is going on, and he could be trusted.

My point is that when we read the Bible, we should not feel compelled to defend God or to define him in such ways that smooth over hard realities and make him more presentable.  He is God; he is his own defense.  So, relax when you read and study the Bible.  You will discover God to be a God who is for us.  He loves us and extends his grace to us at all times.  He can be trusted to be God, Creator and Source.

When have you had to trust God to be God, Creator, and Source, even when everything around you seemed to be pointing to something different?

I Have a Bible Question

I am a teacher.  I love to help people learn to read the Bible and reflect on it.  My passion is to see people drawn into a closer walk with the Lord as a result of engaging the Scripture.  So you can imagine my excitement when someone walks up to me and says, “I have Bible question.”  Teachers love students with questions.  Questions mean they are hungry to learn.  Now picture the look of disappointment on my face – hopefully not – when they ask me some question about an obscure Bible fact or mystery.  They ask something that will never nurture their relationship with the Lord, such as “What did the gold the on posts of the tabernacle symbolize?”  Why can’t they ask me to help them grasp what Paul is referring to when he writes, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27)?

Too often Bible study is focused on gathering facts and trivia.  It is about gathering data that supports a theological agenda at the expense of life-changing engagement with the Lord.  I would much rather enter into a discussion on what “Christ in me” looks like and how it provides a “hope of glory,” than a debate on angels or the details of the tabernacle.   What about you?  Are you reading the Bible in order to nurture your relationship with Jesus?  Or are you studying the Bible to win a trivia contest?

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