Flesh & Blood
Christmas is over. I am filled with all kinds of preservatives and saturated fats. I have a few more PEZ dispensers to add to my collection. I’ve seen my fair share of sappy Christmas movies.
I’m feeling quiet, meditative and reflective. So muse with me…WHY?
Not WHY did I eat that whole bag of Chex Mix in one sitting, but why?
Why Christmas in the first place?
Why did Jesus come to earth and become a man?
Why didn’t God come up with some other plan for our salvation? Why the incarnation?
This morning we’re going to let God answer that question in his Word according to Hebrews 2. (It’s kind of a follow up to Hebrews 1 – which went through on Christmas Day. If you haven’t heard that sermon yet, check it out online after this.) Page to Hebrews 2 in your Bibles and let’s get ready to come up with 5 answers from Hebrews chapter 2 alone as to WHY Christmas.
1) To Call you Brother/Sister
Check out verse 11 and 14. “Both the one who makes men holy, that’d be Jesus, and those who are made holy, believers in him, are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers…Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity.”
If you have been getting any Christmas cards or been on Facebook these past days, then you’ve probably noticed how families look alike. They might share in the same color hair. The same eyes. The same jawline. The same love for Duke basketball!
I saw a Facebook post from my seventh grade teacher (yes, I’m Facebook friends with my seventh grade teacher) and he’s about 7 feet tall. Now his kids are all grown up and in his family’s Christmas picture, all five of his kids are just about as tall too.
For Jesus and us to be a family, we needed to share in some traits too. For that to be the case, he needed to have something in common with us. He needed to become human.
Because it doesn’t work the other way. In spite of what the Mormon church teaches, human beings cannot become God.
Did you do any miracles this Christmas?
Did you snap your fingers and clean up all the Christmas wrapping paper like that?
Did you heal your kids’ runny nose with a wave of your hand?
Were you able to make it a white Christmas just by walking outside and saying, “SNOW.”
We can’t become God.
Or to think of it another way, we can’t become perfect. Have you ever tried that? Have you tried to be perfect? Were you even perfect over Christmas Day? Honestly the only way you will have succeeded in being perfect is if you are lying….which is a sin…and means you’re imperfect.
We can’t become like God; so God became like us.
2) To Destroy the Devil.
"Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power over death, that is, the devil.”
This goes back to the Garden of Eden. It was the devil who walked away from God. It was the devil who dressed up as a snake. It was the devil who tempted Adam and Eve to sin. It was the devil who got them to take a bite of forbidden fruit. It was the devil who brought sin into the world. It was the devil who brought death into the world.
He still has that power today.
It’s kind of like how someone might tempts you with some leftover fruitcake OR a nice sausage. “C’mon. Have a bite. Don’t you like it? Do you think I’m a bad cook? Prove it by eating twenty pieces.” Their temptation causes you to put on calories. In a sense, they have power over the calories you eat.
Same thing with the devil. He tempts. He causes to sin. Sin causes death. He has the power over death.
That’s a sobering reality. Thought about that lately? Death doesn’t come from cancer. It doesn’t come from terrorism. It doesn’t come from drunk driving, smoking, overeating, or icy roads.
It comes from sin. Sin comes from the devil.
But here’s the good news in the above verse. Jesus came to earth to destroy the devil. NOT to beat him. Not to rough him up a bit. Not even to put him in a full nelson for awhile.
Jesus came to destroy the devil. To annihilate him. To completely wipe him out forever! To take him out of power.
Did you watch the Poinsettia Bowl? Boise State 55 Northern Illinois 7. It wasn’t even close.
It wasn’t even close with Jesus and the devil. It was a route. Jesus blanked him.
3) To Free Us from Fear
He shared in their humanity so that by his death…he might free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
It’s interesting how that’s stated. All their lives held in slavery by their fear of death. It’s true, isn’t it? Death casts a looming shadow over all of us – from childhood to adulthood to seniorhood.
When you’re young and grandpa passes away, "Why is he in the casket? Why can’t his body move?”
When you’re a teen and see your first rated R movie with a scary murder scene that keeps repeating as you drift to sleep.
When you’re an adult and see another terror attack reported on the nightly news.
When you’re at your Doctor’s appointment and he says “This is more serious than we thought.”
When you’re at the hospital – surrounding by the sanitized smell of death – will this be my last night alive?
Death is scary. Maybe this is why we treasure times like Christmas so much. It might be our last time together as a family. It might be our last time to enjoy each other. It might be our last time in merriment, because…you never know.
But what if you did know?
What if you always knew there would be another day?
What if death wasn’t really a threat?
What if someone made it so that you would always be?
Understand this: That’s exactly why Jesus came. So you…wouldn’t have to fear. So you…would always be.
How did he do it? Why did he have to be human to do it? (I told you we would come back to this.)
4) To Sacrifice…Himself.
Check out verse 17 He had to be made like his brothers 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.
A high priests. High priests were an integral part of Old Testament Israelite life. They were Old Testament pastors. They were go between between the people and God. They would sacrifice for the people’s sins.
Day after day this happened.
A man comes in tears because of the sin he has committed. The priest sharpens his knife. Grab the rope. Leads he goat, lamb or cow by the rope. Walks through the eerily quiet hall ways of the temple. Stop at the steps of the altar. Grabs the knife. Sharpens the knife. Take a deep breath and kills the animals.
It’s kind of disgusting to think about.
But it illustrated a very important, eternal truth: The wages of sin is death. Death is the only payment that God will accept to allow a sinner back into his family.
Enter Jesus. Jesus came to earth to be a high priest. He came to make atonement for the sins of the people. But nowhere in Scripture do you ever hear of Jesus offering a sacrifice. Not a bull. Not a calf. Not a goat or even a lamb.
What did he sacrifice?
This is key in answering why he needed to become human. Because God is eternal. God doesn’t die. God can’t die. God is unending.
But the moment, Jesus became a one celled little organism within the body of his mother Mary, Jesus could die. In fact, he would die. He did die to make atonement for the sins of the people.
To make atonement for the sins of you.
It’s amazing too. We struggle to sacrifice for the sake of reconciliation. The holidays teach us that.
5) To Help You BEAT Temptation
This last one is kind of a BONUS result. Because number 4 was key. Being a sacrifice of atonement was definitely Christ’s number one goal in becoming man. But number 5 is a pretty neat byproduct.
Verse 18, “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Because that’s what happens when you are a human on this earth – you are tempted. The same was true for Jesus.
Case in point:
Jesus is 12 years old. He is in Jerusalem – the big city. He came with his mom and dad, his aunts and uncles, his cousins and all his family. They were to stay for a few days, do some religious things, and then return home to Nazareth.
But when the family left for home, Jesus wasn’t with them.
What should a 12 year old boy do when his parents aren’t there?
There certainly are plenty of temptations:
I wonder if Mary and Joseph’s minds did think about any and all of these behaviors as they rushed back to Jerusalem frantically searching for him.
But they found him in the temple.
With the religious teachers.
Telling them about the Bible.
That’d be like discovering your kid's light on way past their bed time, rushing in to see the iPad on, expecting to find Subway Surfer being played, but instead seeing Biblegateway.com up on the screen.
Same with Jesus. This time. Every time. He beat temptation every time. It’s why the whole sacrifice thing worked. If He had had sinned, then ”The wages of sin is death.”
But he didn’t. He took on our sins. He beat them for us.
AND he knows exactly what you’re going through.
It’s easy to feel like no one does. If you are struggling against a sin, it’s easy to feel like no one understands – addition to drugs, homosexual attraction, not sleeping with your boyfriend, not being so greedy, doubting God’s Word at every turn.
True or false: It’s easy to feel like no one will get you?
Still. That statement is dead wrong. When no one else gets you, Jesus does. He gets it. He gets you. He gets your temptation.
AND he beat your temptation.
This isn’t like like trying to get advice from a drunkard on how to stop drinking OR how to stop looking at porn from a porn director. This isn’t like trying to get advice from me on how to eat less Doritos. I have no idea. I haven’t mastered it.
Jesus wins every time. He’s on your side. He’s got your back. Whatever you’re struggling with, he has set you free from sin’s consequences and he will set you free from temptation’s power!
This leads us back to where we were Christmas Eve night. Because all these reasons for Jesus becoming a baby on that first Christmas – lead back to you. To be your brother. To destroy the devil’s power over you. To set you free from fear. To make atonement for you. To help you beat temptation.
These are all a result of Jesus’ work.
Jesus’ work is all a result of Christmas.
Christmas is a result of you. It happened because of you.
Keep that in your heart. Meditate on it the rest of the week. That’s how much God loves you.
Why Christmas? Because…you. Amen.
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