Jesus: Our Friend in High Places (Hebrews, Part 2)
The second chapter of Hebrews is perhaps the most explicit reference in the scriptures to the remarkable reality of the incarnation. The writer to the Hebrews explains the significance of the incarnation on several levels. Firstly, he describes the mystery of Jesus intersecting divine and human life and the tension between his glorified humanity and our yet-to-be-glorified humanity. Nevertheless, the glorification of Christ establishes hope in us for our future glory. Even so, in the here and now this hope empowers us to live lives that are no longer governed by fear and remorse. We have the surety of being in the family of God; or as the author of Hebrews has it: “Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family” (Heb 2:11).
Through the incarnation Jesus stands in our place; as our representative; as our high priest; and thus make us fit for fellowship with God (Heb 2:17-18). This is what is meant by the ‘vicarious humanity of Christ.’ The life he lived and the death he died was for us, and in our stead. He has done what we could not do, and has gone where we cannot go, but in so doing he has enabled us to have free access to God the Father in Him.
In ancient times alliances and treaties were often sealed through a marriage between two families. The bride and groom vicariously represented both families to each other. Their union meant that the two disparate families were now related. In a similar but more profound way the incarnation has forever joined humanity and divinity in the person of Jesus Christ. We are now related. Part of the human family is divine and part of the divine ‘family’ is human. This divine/human overlap in the life of Jesus Christ changes everything—not least of all the way in which we worship.
No more are we to approach God as some distant monad in the sky or to see ourselves as abandoned and helpless. We are connected in Christ to the highest royal court and so we have friends in high places. Worship begins at this point. While we are still living in a fallen broken world we are not without hope and help. We can borrow against our future inheritance here and now and live in the freedom of a secured future. We are free now from the fear of death (Heb 2:14-15). So be of good cheer—your sins are forgiven.