As we start here, I do want to jump back into the time machine for just a moment. Let’s travel in time once again this week. Long ago I matriculated at the University of Florida. And if you don’t know what the word matriculated means, I really don’t either, but it sounds really smart.
Besides attending lots of football games at the University of Florida, I did take a few classes. I took a philosophy course. I took a psychology course. And in my classes I read many classic novels. Or at least I should say I read the Cliff Notes of those classic novels.
And as I matriculated, my professors wanted me to dig deeper and discover the meaning of life. And I didn’t care so much at the time. I cared more about football, pizza, and finding a girlfriend.
This is in direct contrast to my twelve year old daughter, my ten year old daughter. They are already discussing the meaning of life, so they’re way ahead of me.
Anyway, I believe all of us at some point in time, especially if we believe in God. We have contemplated these important questions. Why am I here? And what does it mean to be human? And our libraries are filled with books that explore these questions.
This is the next slide. Universities reward thousands of diplomas to students who research this topic. So since the beginning of time, mankind has always pondered the meaning of existence. Now here’s the good news. The word of God is far from silent on this matter.
In fact, the book of Hebrews answers these profound questions. So please turn with me in your Bibles in Hebrews chapter two.
Last week we began our study of Hebrews.
The author is unknown. We did begin last week and this is a brief review. The author is unknown. We do know he or she absolutely loves Jesus. And as you see there from the picture, the author is an Old Testament gunslinger.
The audience is also unknown. But we do know from the context that they have been Christians for quite a while. And unfortunately they are slipping. And the theme of Hebrews is simply this. Jesus is better.
Six times in his sermon, the author of Hebrews warns us about the dangers of drifting, the futility of looking for something or someone better than Jesus. And the first warning last week, Jesus is speaking to you. Pay attention. So a reminder, we do have a shared resource folder on Hebrews. Please make sure you get that link.
It will greatly enhance the Hebrews experience for you and for your small group. So now back to our original question. Why am I here? What does it mean to be human? Let’s look now at Hebrews chapter two, verse five.
We’ll hopefully find some answers right there. Hebrews two, verse five.
For it was not the Angels that God subjected the world to come of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere. What is man that you are mindful of him or the Son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the Angels. You have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.
Now putting everything in subjection to him. He left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.
So we’ll stop right there. Verse five, this reflects back to Jesus is superior to Angels, which I hope you studied last week. We provided some resources on that for you. The author tells us it’s not the Angels that God wants to rule the world, even though they’re very powerful. He has someone else in mind. Then verse six, here comes the Old Testament gunslinger.
It’s a quote from Psalm eight. It’s a Psalm of David that Jews would have grown up reciting, singing and praying. It’s a Psalm that reminds God’s people of their unique, God given purpose in this world. And it’s where we find the answer today to our question, Why am I here and what does it mean to be human? I think it’s worth our time to take a look at Psalm chapter eight.
You can turn there. We’ll put it up on the screen for you as well. Let’s go back to Psalm chapter eight and see the point the author is trying to make here. Let’s begin in verse three of Psalm eight. David writes, When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him and the Son of man, that you care for him?
So first, David expresses amazement at God’s creation. He’s literally starstruck. Then he’s blown away with such a massive universe that God actually notices humans, that God cares for him, that God cares for you. And the next, there it is. It’s highlighted in yellow in verse five.
Not only does God notice humans, but he crowns us with glory and honor. In verse five, yet you have made him a little lower than heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. So why are you here? What does it mean to be human? Number one, we’re here to reflect God’s glory.
That’s us, that’s humanity that’s you and me. This echoes Genesis chapter one, verse 26. When we’re told that humans are made in God’s image, we reflect something about God that no other created thing does. Each one of us here today is a little reflection of God.
That’s why he wants us to be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth. The more human beings there are, the more God’s image and God’s glory will spread. That’s God’s plan. God deeply desires that we take our gifts, our talents that he’s given to us as humans and reflect his beautiful image. But that’s not all.
Check out verses six through eight. David writes, Here You have given him Dominion over the works of your hands. You have put all things under his feet. All sheep and oxen, all the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name and all the Earth.
So why are we here? Why are we humans? What’s our purpose? Well, if we’re humans, number two, we’re designed by God to rule the Earth.
It describes God as putting everything under our feet. God made human beings to be his vice Regents, the protectors and the rulers of this world. We are the true Guardians of the Galaxy.
So to answer this age old question, what does it mean for you and me to be human? To be human means we reflect God’s glory and we rule the Earth.
So if that’s what it means to be human, how are we doing thus far?
How’s that going?
Since the beginning of time, this has gone horribly wrong for us as human beings. Our track record is not good on this one. We’ve consistently abused our Godgiven power. That’s why rule, Dominion and authority have such negative connotations today. They trigger us because we’ve messed it all up.
The truth is, we’re not reflecting God’s glory and we’re not ruling God’s world as he intended us to.
That’s why in Hebrews two eight, and you’ll see this on the next slide, there at the bottom. It says, at present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. And the him here, and it’s easy to get confused with the author, we’re talking about human beings. The him here is us. In other words, if humans are supposed to be reflecting God’s glory and ruling the Earth as God intended, we just don’t see it right now. Psalm eight is missing from humanity.
In fact, we’ve broken God’s creation.
We’ve broken ourselves.
I haven’t been to the movies in a while. I believe my son’s seen this one. Who here has seen the new Spider Man movie? All right. Good.
Is it worth my time? Is it good? It is. It’s worth my time. All right.
Well, it’s already number six all time and best selling movies. Number six. Now, maybe that’s because there’s more people and I don’t know, but the new Spiderman movie, it’s already up there to number six. Now we have The Avengers. And Spiderman is part of The Avengers.
And you’ll see them up here on the screen, right? So I did some research. Five. And this is not including Spiderman, right? Five of the top 13 best selling movies of all time are Avengers movies.
Five of the 13.
So it means that the world enjoys these movies for the most part. You may not, but the greater world does. We’re spending money on this. Five of the top 13 all the time. Now, I enjoy The Avengers movies, but we must admit, and I’m not being a hater here, okay?
But we do have to admit they are very creative, but they all have the same basic plot, all right? It’s the same plot of every action hero movie you’ll ever see. And here’s what I mean. Here’s the way of life for the Avenger. If you threaten us, if you threaten to take over the world, we will fight you, and we will beat you up.
I know I’m getting this very base level here, but we will destroy you if you mess with us. That’s the hero that we’ve come to expect in all of our movies, right? This is the best hero we can come up with to inspire us on the big screen, right? And the Avengers. Okay, think about them.
They represent the best, the brightest, and the strongest of society. They are super human heroes.
And yet this is the best storyline we can come up with. If you hurt me and you hurt my people, I will hurt you, and we pay for it. We love it. It’s entertaining. It inspires us.
Why? Because it’s exactly how we think.
It’s how we rule the Earth. It’s our ingrained mindset with our Godgiven Dominion as humans. If your will crosses my will I will put you under my shoe. We’re fine until you cross me.
Don’t cross me or you will regret it? This new song? A-B-C-D-E-F-U.
If you hurt me and my people, I’ll beat you up and kill you. Payback is how we roll. That’s how we think. If your tribe messes with my tribe, if your family messes with my family or you hurt my family, I will avenge.
Let’s be real. As humans, this is the best we can do to solve our problems.
It’s so natural, and it’s our instinct from a very young age, and you can try this experiment with someone else’s child or your own, later today, just snatch away a toy from a three year old, and you see what happens.
They will throw a tantrum. Snatch a toy from a 48 year old. They will throw a tantrum. All right. This is how we solve our problems.
It’s in all of us. We’re broken human beings. As rulers of the Earth, we’ve created a world of conflict, power grabs, and violence, and we pay money to see it on the big screen. Why? Because it’s so normal for us.
But the biblical narrative says this way of humanity is completely abnormal. According to God’s plan for us, this is actually subhuman behavior. We’ve strayed so far away from reflecting God’s glory and ruling God’s creation. So this begs the question, who will rescue us? Who will restore our humanity?
Let’s now read in verse nine of Hebrews two.
Verse nine, Hebrews two. But we see him for a little while was made lower than the Angels, namely, Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the Grace of God, he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he for whom and by whom all things exist in bringing many sons to glory should make the founder of their Salvation perfect or completely like us through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. And that is why he’s not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, I will tell of your name to my brothers in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise. And again I will put my trust in him. And again, behold, I and the children of God has given me. So who will rescue us? Who will restore our humanity?
Enter the new human. Enter the new hero. And his name is Jesus. And the author here has brilliantly built up to this crescendo because here, in verse nine, this is the first time the name of Jesus is introduced in Hebrews. First time. Jesus becomes what the human we have failed to become.
Right? Jesus becomes that human that we never became.
Jesus demonstrates perfectly how to rule the Earth and reflect God’s glory. Jesus is the hero of humanity. Jesus fulfills Psalm eight. Jesus saves the world from evil. And how did he do it?
By the suffering of death.
That’s the upside down gospel.
It’s the most beautiful counter intuitive story you’ll ever hear.
This hero conquers, saves, and wins by giving up his life.
We create this world of death with our selfishness, conflict, and power grabs. Jesus then comes into our world, absorbs the consequences of our evil, and dies on the cross.
Unlike the Avengers, unlike us, it is by dying for his enemies that Jesus defeats the enemy.
Jesus redefines for us what it means to be human.
He didn’t come to this Earth to avenge. He came to this Earth to forgive his enemies, to lay down his life for them, and to seek our wellbeing above his own.
Now let’s look at verse ten. Let’s isolate just verse ten here where it says, for it was fitting that he for whom and by whom all things exist. And bringing many sons to glory should make the founder of their Salvation, that’s Jesus, perfect or completely human like us through suffering.
I love this because God is in the business of bringing many sons and daughters to glory. That’s what God does. He’s all about it. And that’s a line from the song we’ll sing in a few moments. How deep the Father’s love for us that he would bring many sons to glory.
And this glory actually is not talking about heaven here, although that’s very glorious. All right? It’s not that this glory, it’s talking about restoring our humanity. Right now, what Jesus does is he brings you and me the glory we were promised long ago in Genesis One and Psalm eight. We get to fulfill that with Jesus.
You see, in Christ, God transforms all of us into the kind of humanity he originally designed. In Christ, we can become glorious, honorable human beings as God intended. God is now making new humans out of us by way of Jesus. In his love, in his great mercy, God is bringing many sons and daughters to glory.
And we see at the end of verse ten, we’re told, Jesus is the founder, the pioneer, or the author of Salvation.
In other words, Jesus is the hero, the ultimate hero. Jesus is the hero who preserves our dignity and saves our glorious humanity.
Jesus is humanity’s hero.
And what Jesus does is Jesus carves a path forward so that we can now follow in his footsteps. And here’s the stunning point that the author is making in this passage. If you trust in Jesus, if you follow Jesus, what’s true of him is now true of you.
Did you hear that? If you follow Jesus, if you trust in Jesus, what’s true of him is now true of you? So Jesus was crowned with honor and glory. You’re now crowned with honor and glory. How does that feel?
Sinners deserve to die, but Jesus died in our place, so you and I can experience his death in baptism.
Jesus is Holy, and he now sanctifies us and makes us Hol. In becoming human like us, suffering like us, Jesus now has the same origin as us, the same source as all of us. We see this in verses twelve and 13. The author quotes from Psalm 22 and Isaiah eight to reinforce that we now share the same family as Jesus, same source, same origin. Jesus is now humanity’s brother.
And that’s why the Son of the Almighty God, it says, is not ashamed to associate with broken people like us.
Why? Because we’re his own flesh and blood. Literally. If you trust in Jesus, if you follow Jesus, what is true of him is now true of you. Jesus is humanity’s hero.
I want you to hear this. No matter where you’ve been, no matter what you’ve done, no matter how broken you are, Jesus has restored your dignity. Jesus has crowned you with glory and honor. And not only that, Jesus is now redefined for all of us what it truly means to be human.
So let’s get to these questions to ponder now in light of this extraordinary good news. Here’s the challenge I give to all of us, myself included. What kind of human are you becoming?
That’s a tough one for me. There’s so many crazy examples of my sin that I could share. It comes out in different circumstances. I was just thinking this morning of last October, get the whole family going over to the soccer field for my daughter’s soccer match. Set up the camp chairs right there next to the field where it’s all going to start.
And then I get to watch her play and I just hear someone behind me cursing at me, right? And my daughters are there, too. And my wife.
And apparently I had set up right in someone’s view of a flag football match that they were watching two fields away. Yeah. I was like, what? This person was laying down. That was their area.
They were there first, but it was on the sideline of the soccer pitch. It was not anywhere near. But this person apparently was there to watch flag football on a faraway field. Yeah. And even as I tell it, I’m just like,argh, so the cursing continued and that’s when you start seeing my broken humanity. Now, I think I’ve matured to the point where I didn’t want to take it in the parking lot with him, but my heart is still bad. I’m thinking, hey, hey, I’m doing my best to follow the spirit, but the spirit is like, where are you now? Here comes the flesh. And it’s just like, hey, watch the language.
And it brought more language. I was like, well, hey, can’t you watch the game over there? Like, this is the soccer game. My daughter- more cursing. He stands up in one of those positions, and I’m just like, Whoa.
And everything in me, and I’m sure it came out was to at that point, I wasn’t going to fight him, but I definitely wanted to make him look like an idiot in front of everyone else and condescend to this person who has clearly lost their mind.
But as I think about that, I was like, man, I am broken, too. Because the first thing I wanted to do was to make him look bad and to feel awful for being like that.
And if I had to rewind it, I would just say, oh, I’m sorry, and moved somewhere else. But something in me was stirred that broken humanity that Avenger inside of me.
I’m fine. I’m a great Christian until you try to mess with my family. Well, then I got to take action somehow. It wouldn’t be right for me to fight him as a Minister or as a Christian, but I certainly can’t put him in his place.
So I share that it’s a process for all of us. But you really do have to consider, what kind of human are you becoming? And it may sound creepy, but imagine if a camera was watching you 24 hours a day. What would we learn about humanity from your everyday choices? What kind of human are you behind closed doors?
What kind of human are you on social media, when you text, when you send emails? How you spend your time, your money, your resources? What does this reveal about your humanity?
What kind of human are you when you’re in the car and you interact with other drivers? When people offend you, threaten you, oppose you? What story does your humanity tell if you claim to be a follower of Jesus, if you’ve been forgiven by the Grace of Jesus, what kind of human are you going to be?
And we have to remember and be inspired and understand how Jesus sees his power and conquers his enemies is by laying down his life.
Jesus constantly teaches and trains his disciples on this. Are we paying attention? You want to be at the top of the heap? Jesus says you got to go to the bottom of the heap. You want to be first in line? You better get your tail to the back of the line. You want to be the most influential person here? Then you must become the servant to everyone here. Run as fast as you can to finish last. That’s the humanity that Jesus wants to restore.
So here are some practical challenges for this week. I’d say, number one, recommit yourself to learning from Jesus. We love that scripture in Matthew 1128 to 30. My yoke is easy. My burden is light.
He does say in there. Learn from me.
Learn the daily rhythms of the life of Jesus. Learn how he treats people. Learn how he treats his enemies. Learn how to be human from me, says Jesus. Number two, read the Sermon on the Mount.
You want to know what it means to be human as God intended. You want to know what it means to live in harmony with other people. Make those three chapters your new Constitution. Read those Hebrews resources we provide. And last but not least, for some of you, for the first time, I appeal to you that you make Jesus the Lord of your life.
Deep down, you know something is broken inside.
Come to Jesus. Come to Jesus today. There are tons of broken people here. Can I get an Amen? Tons of broken people who could humbly help you to do that?
And here’s why. Jesus is the hero of humanity. Jesus wants to restore our humanity, bring many sons and daughters to glory.
So let’s now close out this section and then we’ll share a Communion together. We’ll look at Hebrews chapter two, verses four through 18. And I really don’t have the time this morning to do justice to this last paragraph. But please drink in these words of truth now as we read them, dig deeper into them this week. What the author is doing here is he or she is going back again to Jesus as the ultimate high priest and the eternal impact that now has on us.
It says, since therefore the children, and that’s us, since therefore the children shear in flesh and blood, Jesus himself likewise partook of the same things. I love this, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death, were subject to lifelong slavery.
For surely it’s not Angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham that’s you and me. Therefore, Jesus 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, that means to make atonement or in other words, Jesus satisfied God’s wrath for the sins of the people.
Verse 18. For because Jesus himself has suffered when tempted. Jesus is completely able to help us. Who are being tempted?
Jesus shares in our humanity. Jesus is the hero of humanity. Jesus defeated death, hell and the grave. And if you trust in Jesus and if you follow Jesus, what’s true of him is also true of you.