Thursday, February 26, 2009

Salvation through sufferings… (Hebrews 2:10-13) 260209

I saw rainbow yesterday’s evening, and I believe many of you also saw the rainbow. My wife, Esther, told me that she even saw people praying to the rainbow. I saw many people taking photographs of the rainbow, and also many were taking photographs with the rainbow. Rainbow has become an object of worship, it has also become a beautiful sight for photographs taking, and it is surely to Christian a sign of covenant from God.

This covenant began with Noah (Genesis 9:13-17) and completed by Jesus going onto the Cross. In this season of Lent, meditating on this passage in Hebrews brings me to the heart of the Cross: salvation through sufferings. There is no other way that we can have our salvation, except by the suffering of Jesus Christ on the Cross.

Hebrews 2:10 says that Jesus brings many of us to glory by being the perfect author of our salvation, through His sufferings, which is on the Cross.

NASB translates ‘to perfect the author’; NIV ‘make the author… perfect’; and NKJV ‘make the captain… perfect’. All these suggest that the author or captain who is referring to Jesus was not perfect before He went through the sufferings on the Cross. At least it seems to be like this from reading the English translation. But from the Greek text, the idea of ‘perfect’ can also mean ‘complete’. And the question whereby many recent scholars ask is the word ‘perfect’ or ‘complete’ a modifier for the ‘author’ or ‘captain’?

I would want to suggest that the ‘perfect’ or ‘complete’ is modifying the description of the ‘author’ which is ‘salvation through sufferings’. In other words, the incarnation of Jesus and His suffering on the Cross, makes the salvation plan of God complete and perfect. This implies that Christ sufferings and death on the Cross is necessary and sufficient for our salvation, this is the perfect plan. And how can we then neglect the meditation of the Cross?

The Cross reminds me of the perfection of God’s salvation plan for me. The Cross reminds me that I am being grafted and accepted as a child of God, and Jesus would call me ‘brother’ (v11-12). The Cross reminds me I can put my trust in Him (v13). What does the Cross remind you of?
The author of Hebrews again quotes three Old Testament Scriptures here: Psalms 22:22 for verse 12 and Isaiah 8:17-18 for verse 13. These OT texts are what we usually call the Messianic text, which have almost direct inference or prophecy of Jesus, being the Suffering Servant and the ultimate Redeemer. The first readers of Hebrews will surely remember these texts and identify Christ with them. As you are reminded of Jesus journey to the Cross, can you also identify your journey with Christ too?

In this season of Lent, take time to read the Scripture. Read it slowly; let it sinks in you, and yourself soaks in it. Read it quietly; let the living word whispers to your heart, and your heart being transformed by the power of the word. Read it meditatively; let the emotions and the scenario of the text reappear to you, and you interacting and living within the story and movement of the text. Also read it painfully; because our salvation comes from sufferings, not our sufferings, but Christ suffering on the Cross.

Anyway, just read it.


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