Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of 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. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
The Song of Songs isn’t the only new book we began this week; yesterday also brought us the first chapter of Hebrews. This book, too, is quite unlike those surrounding it. Even in translation we can easily tell that the writing is different, that the style feels more like an essay, homily, or even spoken-word play than a letter like the Epistles.
In the first chapter (read yesterday), the writer makes clear that Jesus was not merely a man: Jesus is God, the Son, the heir of all things, the radiance of God’s glory, the exact representation of God’s being, through whom God made the universe and sustains all things, and who is seated at God’s right hand.
And that’s just two verses (2-3)! The author goes on and on, establishing that Jesus is the eternal, foundational glory of God.
But in the second chapter, the author takes a different approach. Here the emphasis is on how certainly Jesus was human. Jesus was made lower than the angels for a little while, suffered death, shared flesh and blood, was made fully human in every way.
Truly, this is incredibly good news—and a mystery worth mulling over for a lifetime.
Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says,
“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the assembly I will sing your praises.”
“I will put my trust in him.”
And again he says,
“Here am I, and the children God has given me.” (Hebrews 2:11-13)
Questions for reflection and discussion: Why do you think the author of Hebrews goes to such great lengths to demonstrate how Jesus was fully God and fully human? Do you tend to see Jesus as primarily one or the other? Why are both important?