“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying: ‘I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly, I will sing praise to You.’ 13 And again: ‘I will put My trust in Him.’ And again: ‘Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.’
“14 In as much then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted“ (all verses are NKJV).
Jesus is our Great Savior, and in Him and Him only, we have any hope to have an eternity with God. Oh, what hope we have, a secure hope that steadies us in the storms of life, a hope that transcends death! Just before I began to write this, I found out that the man who preached at my father’s funeral almost 40 years ago died last evening. He had suffered from cancer and heart issues for some time, and the journey here had come to an end. But even as I was processing the information, I could see my dad greeting him and welcoming him home. What a joyous reunion that must have been! Hope. This is the thing, the power, the strength, and the will that sustains us in troubled times, the Hope we have in Jesus, by Jesus, and through Jesus, our Great Savior. Today, we will explore His place as the Captain of our Faith.
- We get the Glory, He the suffering, verses 10-13
It would not be hard to conceive that God, the All-Knowing, could have devised a plan to redeem man without Jesus’ suffering. It was certainly in His power to simply scrap the progress and start over again. We have all done that; we begin to make something, draw something – in my case – write something, and it simply does not come together. And we discard it, delete it and scrap it so we can start over with a clean slate.
We do not know how long Adam and his wife were in the Garden of Eden before Adam sinned. It may have been many, many years. During this time, God has visited them, sat with them, and befriended them. And so, when the sin (no surprise to God) came, He was not inclined to simply wipe them out and start over. He set about to make a way to bring them back to the glory they once had before the fall. This journey would take God to places He had not previously known in an experiential way.
Jesus would have to suffer; God had never suffered. Jesus would have to want, be hungry, be thirsty, be tired, and on, but God had never wanted before. Jesus would have to be cared for by others; God had never needed anyone’s care before. Jesus would feel pain; God had never felt pain before. Jesus would need someone to carry His cross, which God had never needed before. Jesus would have to die; God had never experienced death before. Jesus would be judged by man; God had never been judged by anyone before. Why? Why would God subject Himself to mere dust? Mere red clay? WHY? Because He loved all of us. He loved and still loves this man He made and breathed into us the breath of life. To show His love, He would submit to suffering and make a sacrifice that cost him not just something but everything.
2 Samuel 24:21-24, “Then Araunah said, ‘Why has my lord the king come to his servant?’ And David said, ‘To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.’ Now Araunah said to David, ‘Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood. All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king.’ And Araunah said to the king, ‘May the LORD your God accept you.’ Then the king said to Araunah, ‘No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing.’ So, David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.”
King David refused to offer a sacrifice to God that did not cost him something. In like manner, Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice to God the Father on our behalf, and it was the most expensive price ever paid to redeem mankind ever. Once we are redeemed, we are told that Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brethren, and we are now children of God; we get the glory of being the sons and daughters of God. Jesus took the suffering to give us this wonderful gift. Look at these quotes from two great Christian scholars:
- “To make perfect does not imply moral imperfection in Jesus, but only the consummation of that human experience of sorrow and pain through which He must pass in order to become the leader of His people’s salvation.” (Vincent)
- “We know that had he only been God yet still He would not have been fitted for a perfect Savior unless He had become man. Man had sinned; man must suffer. It was man in whom God’s purposes had been for a while defeated; it must be in man that God must triumph over His great enemy.” (Spurgeon)
- We get eternal life; the Devil gets defeated, verses 14-16
Satan had used the serpent to tempt Eve, then Adam sinned when he ate the fruit. God promised mankind that He would send a Redeemer who would crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). To do so, Jesus became flesh, just like the man Adam who had fallen. And in this human body, He defeated Satan by defeating death. This gives us hope in our frail human bodies that just as Jesus conquered the grave, we who are in Jesus will one day as well.
Jesus is the Captain of Our Faith, the firstborn from the grave, the ultimate grave robber. He has literally destroyed the power of death on all who believe in Him and trust in Him.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57, “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The very enemy that Satan introduced to man, death, the very enemy that haunted us for 4,000 years and still does to some degree today, was destroyed by the man Jesus. He died as a man, laid in the grave as a man, and rose from the dead as a man with flesh and bone.
Luke 24:39, “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
Jesus appeared that very first night of the resurrection, and the disciples thought they were seeing a ghost or a spirit. But Jesus assured them by showing His scars, and then He ate fish with them. Jesus defeated death in the flesh just like ours, and so, we no longer have death as an enemy. When we stand at the graves of passed-on loved ones, we can sing “I’ll Fly Away” heartily even through the tears for the temporary loss, and we can shout, ‘God is good; He has made a way when there was no way. He made a way and, in the process, showed us His love by dying on the cross, suffering, and taking our deserved pain so that we can become children of God, His brethren.
Further, not only are we no longer just children of the first Adam, sold under death. We have become the children of Abraham, not physically but spiritually. We are children of Abraham according, as well, to Romans 4:16-22:
“Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, ‘I have made you a father of many nations’) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be.’
“And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness.'”
Abraham is a father to many nations, not just the Jews. Yes, he is the father of the Jews as far as genetics and bloodline are concerned. But he is a spiritual father to many nations, Gentile nations, because he simply believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. He did not have to be circumcised or do any work for salvation. He believed, and God gave him eternal life. You and I are called, like Abraham, to simply believe God. The thief on the cross was never baptized, never gave out a track, never attended or joined a church; he simply believed that Jesus was who He was and that he would raise from the dead. He said, “Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
- We get Heavenly help for this life, verse 18
We are not alone. No, we are not surrounded by aliens; rather, we are constantly accompanied by Jesus in the person of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. Jesus promises in Hebrews 4: 14-16:
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us, therefore, come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
We do not have to face life or the circumstances, even death, alone. Jesus is there. He has experienced life as we do with its ups and downs. He has been loved and hated, befriended and betrayed, tempted (never sinning) and beaten, spat upon, been falsely accused, lied about, hunted for death, had family division, and He died young. Jesus was poor, not that good-looking apparently (Isaiah 53:2), got lost in the crowd, and was hated by religious people. Jesus can walk you through any part of life, any trial, any pressure, any issue from experience and help you. He can carry you when you cannot carry yourself. He will be the friend to the friendless, He loves the unlovable, He lifts the fallen and identifies with the outcasts.
Jesus will never leave us, ever. He knows what it was like to be abandoned in His hour of need. He is the Captain of Our Faith, our fearless, battle-tested leader who is in it for us; yes, for you and me. We are His trophies, redeemed from the grave, dusted off, and perfectly presented to His Father as Brethren and ‘Sisteren’ too, precious to Him; children of Abraham, children of God. Is He your Captain?
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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