In our previous study we looked at how man, being in the flesh, was not limited by the flesh in the realm of authority. This was important, because those in opposition to Christ had used aspects of His fleshly existence to bring His authority into question (ex. Mark 6:1-6, Luke 4:16-30, and John 6:41-42). In this study we are going to talk about Jesus being in the flesh. We will be talking about Him being in the flesh several times throughout our study of this context and later again through the book of Hebrews. Here is our text for study now: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:9-10).
We know, from our previous studies in this letter, that Jesus is/was never beneath the angels when it comes to authority (Hebrews 1:1-14). It is Jesus that our Heavenly Father said man is to listen to (Matthew 17:1-5). His being made lower than the angels is a statement about His fleshly existence being in the form of a servant. Consider this as inspired commentary: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:3-11).
Did that mean that Jesus ceased to be deity? No! Consider these Scriptures: “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us… I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen… And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (Matthew 1:23, Romans 9:1-5, and I Timothy 3:16).
When Jesus came into this world, as deity, He put on the flesh of man so that He could die (Hebrews 10:1-18). This was necessary (Hebrews 9:11-28). In dying in the flesh, for every man, Jesus became the author [source] of salvation to all that obey Him (Hebrews 5:1-9). Paul wrote: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:1-3).
After the death of our Lord, He was crowned with glory and honor (Acts 2:33 and Revelation 5:13). However, that does not mean He was without glory and honor while He was in the flesh. In fact, Peter stated that Jesus was glorified and honored by the Father during the transfiguration that Peter witnessed (II Peter 1:16-19; cf. Luke 9:28-36).
It became [was suitable] for Jesus to suffer (Isaiah 53:1-12, I Peter 2:21-25, and I Peter 3:18). His suffering was not without purpose (Galatians 1:4 and Titus 2:11-14). Through His death, Jesus became the captain (Acts 3:15) of salvation (Acts 5:30-31, I Thessalonians 5:9, and Hebrews 12:1-2). He made those that obey Him perfect through His death (Colossians 1:21-28).
Even in being subjected to death, Jesus’ identity did not change. While man has long desired to limit the authority of our Lord by the fact that He came in the flesh and died; He still was/is and will continue to be the Lord of all (Acts 10:36 and Revelation 1:5-18). He still was/is the one by whom all things exist (John 1:1-14 and Colossians 1:12-18). He was/is He in whom all things are in subjection to (Ephesians 1:19-23).
It is really sad that the deity of Christ has been and continues to be attacked by those whom do not want to acknowledge our Lord. Sadly, those people are lost. Jesus said: “And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:23-24). Lest we end up being eternally condemned, we need to be sure we always keep the authority of our Savior at the forefront of our minds. We need to always be mindful that He is our Judge (II Corinthians 5:10). Even though we shall be joint-heirs with Him (Romans 8:17), don’t lose sight of who He was, now is, and will be (Isaiah 9:6-7, I Timothy 6:13-16, and I John 5:20). As the Hebrew writer will declare later in this letter: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8).
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