Merry Christmas: Why the God/Man? Part Two.

14 “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:14–18)

Today is Christmas Day and I continue to share with you from God’s Word a text which is not always immediately associated with the Incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is an unfortunate reality because Hebrews 2:14-18 has much to say when answering the question, “Why the God/Man?”

In the midst of an extended section on the person and work of Jesus Christ, the writer of the Book of Hebrews provides us two answers to today’s topical question. First, Jesus Christ is the God/Man so He could deliver sinners from the consequences, or penalty, of their sin.

This deliverance, or help, was provided for the offspring of Abraham. The literal meaning of “help” is to “take hold of.” The sense of “giving help” is from the picture of a taking hold of someone in order to push or pull them to safety in order to rescue them.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, that, “There was no thought in Judaism that the Messiah’s entrance into the world would be to give help to the angels. The contrast, using this translation, is weak in comparison with all that has been previously said about Christ’s superiority to the angels. The context presents the identification of Christ with mankind in his incarnation—he took upon himself a human nature (vv. 9–14, 17). When the writer wished to express the concept of giving help, he chose a different Greek word in v. 18 (also, 4:16). Therefore, the translation, “take on the nature of,” is to be preferred.”

The offspring of Abraham refers to the fact that Jesus Christ is that promised descendant of Abraham (Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:16).Since the original audience of this epistle were Hebrews, they would certainly identify with this description. The Messiah had been born in the line of Abraham in fulfillment of the OT prophecies (Matt. 1:1). One of the chief purposes for the incarnation was the salvation of Israel (Matt. 1:21). Yet another purpose was the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant in regard to the promised descendant (Genesis 49:8-10; Numbers 24:17; Isaiah 11:1-5). Of all peoples, the Jews should have been the first to recognize the significance and importance of the incarnation.                                    

It is because of the substitutionary atonement which Jesus Christ alone provided on the cross that He is ready, willing and able to deliver all those who through the fear of death (physical, spiritual and eternal) were subject to a lifelong slavery. That is why Jesus is God Incarnate. That is why the God/Man.

Merry Christmas.

Soli deo Gloria!!

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