Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Little lower… (Hebrews 2:5-9) 250209

Today is Ash Wednesday; it is a tradition whereby the Church remembers the journey that Jesus took towards the Cross. It is the beginning of the Lenten season, and my church is following this tradition by going through the book, On The Cross Road by Ser Choon, to meditate along with it in our devotion, as we approach the Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

I am tempted to journal my personal devotion together with the book too, and abandon this new theme of Hebrews. But as I pray, I think I will still stick with Hebrews for my morning devotion, and I will conclude my days with my thoughts on the meditation on the articles and scripture of the book, On The Cross Road. Pray that I will have the discipline to write in the evening, after I put Alethea to bed.

The author of Hebrews quotes Psalm 8:4-6 here. It is interesting that he does not bother to even give a proper quotation, but simply declares that someone has borne witness somewhere to this effect (v6). I don’t think he does not know where this Old Testament Scriptures come from, and I agree with F. F. Bruce comments about the author that ‘All the Old Testament is to him a divine oracle, the voice of the Holy Spirit.’ Do we also treat the Word of God as divine too? Or do we merely treat it as a book of inspiration? Do we read the Word of God carefully and try to understand it with desire to be transformed by it? Or do we pick and choose what we read and interpret it as and how it suits us?

Today’s reading of Hebrews reminds me of Jesus’ love for me. There is a phrase really reminds me of that: Thou has made Him for a little while lower than the angels (v7, NASB). And this is repeated in verse 9 when the author explains it’s significant. You may have a different translation of this verse, as NIV will translate it as: You made Him a little lower than the angels (NIV, NKJV). When we read this, we will really think that Jesus was little lower than the angels. How can God be lower than the angels? Jesus is fully man and fully God while He is on earth! This idea of Jesus being a little lower than the angels is absurd! I have problem with such translation and appreciate my NASB translation which gives me a clue to a better understanding.

George H. Guthrie gives this explanation in his commentary:

The word brachy (lit., “little”) in this phrase can be understood in two ways: a small measure of distance or substance (“just a little lower”), or a small amount of time (“for a little while”). This latter meaning seems to fit the context better since the author is not interested in the degree to which the Son was of a lower status than the angels. Moreover, the author is expressing the thought that Christ walked the earth as a human being for a brief time before being exalted back to heaven.

Isn’t it clear to me now? Jesus, for a little while made Himself lower by His Incarnation to walk among humanity so that He could bear the sins of all men on the Cross and then to receive the crown with glory and honor (v9) and have all things in subjection under His feet (v8).

For a little while, Jesus lowered Himself and approached the Cross for you and for me. As you approach the Cross, would you also lower yourself? Would you lower your pride and search your heart with all honesty? Would you lower your burdens and baggage and lay before the Cross? Would you lower the noise inside you and take time to sit quietly in His Presence, listening to His sweet and gentle voice? As you get lower, your crown in heaven will be in greater glory.

So, get low; a little lower.


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