The Savior Who Knows Our Struggles
I hope you find as much enjoyment out of going through the book of Hebrews as I do preparing for these sermons. It is so spiritually refreshing to sit down and study through God’s word to see what He has to say to me. I just wish that time allowed for me to share with you everything that He shows me during my time of studying the Bible. That’s one reason why it is so crucial for all of us to study God’s word privately, because there is no way you can get your daily dose of God just by listening to me for twenty-five or thirty minutes. So as your pastor, I truly pray that you are spending time every day reading the best book that was ever written.
And out of this entire amazing Bible, the book of Hebrews is one of the most outstanding. I’m not sure if it’s okay to rank books of the Bible, so I’m not going to say that it’s better than another book, just know that your pastor thinks that Hebrews has a wealth of gold for our lives. Last week’s passage was no exception. The writer reminded us that all people naturally drift away from God, and we would be crazy to neglect the salvation offered through Jesus Christ. And this week’s passage continues to make the case for Christ. This week’s passage focuses on how Jesus is a truly amazing counselor, because He understands the stuff we are going through, and He has the power to help us.
And as we’re thinking about counselors, I know that you all know just as well as I do that there are some really bad counselors out there. I’m not going to ask you to raise your hand if you’ve watched these people; but there are many talk show hosts like Oprah, Dr. Phil, and Maury who give a whole lot of advice that isn’t worth a hill of beans. Or you can dig even lower in the barrel and find a guy like Jerry Springer. You know, Jason and I get along pretty well, but if we did have an argument, do you honestly think I would go to a guy like Jerry Springer? Can you just imagine us on there getting into a fist fight?
But we live in a world that loves to hear bad counselors. And no doubt, one of the reasons some of these people are such bad counselors is that they really have no idea what you’re going through. But the Bible says in Hebrews chapter two verses five through eighteen that Jesus knows exactly what we’re going through, because He became just like us in every way. So if you’re not already there, I ask you to turn in your Bibles to Hebrews two, and we’ll be reading verses five through eighteen. Again, Hebrews 2:5-18.
“For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, ‘What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of Thy hands. Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.’ For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; 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. For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of One: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, ‘I will declare Thy name unto My brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee.’ And again, ‘I will put my trust in Him.’ And again, ‘Behold I and the children which God hath given Me.’ Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.”
The morning’s sermon is called “The Savior Who Knows Our Struggles.” As we’re looking through this passage, I think the easiest way to understand it is to break it down into three points. Point number one is “The Promise.” Point number two is “The Adoption.” And point number three is “The Mediation.” So without any further ado, let’s look at what God’s word has for us this morning.
Point #1: The Promise
Point number one encompasses all of verses five through eight, but for now, let’s read just verse five again. “For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.” What is this verse talking about? Well, the author is saying that angels are not going to be the recipients of the new Heaven and the new Earth. Two weeks ago we talked about how angels are essentially ministering spirits that God sends out to do His bidding. As such, they will not be the rulers of the new world. So if it’s not angels that God puts in charge of the new Earth, then who is it? Well, to see the answer to that, we need to look at verses six through eight again. “But one in a certain place testified, saying, ‘What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of Thy hands. Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.’ For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.”
In this verse, did you catch who the writer says will be in charge of God’s creation in the new world? It’s us! Hopefully your Bibles have footnotes that point out where a verse is quoted from, because these verses are a direct quotation of Psalms 8:4-6. In Psalm 8, David is looking up into the night sky, and when he sees the beauty of the moon and the radiance of the stars, he is simply taken aback at the place God has given mankind. And it really is amazing, isn’t it? Just think. God has made an entire universe of galaxies, pulsars, quasars, black holes, and supernovas. And yet, in the midst of a universe that even our smartest scientists cannot grasp, God has said that we are His prize creation. That thought is truly humbling. To think that the God of the universe looks at you, and then He looks at the most beautiful star in the sky, and He says that you are more precious to Him. I don’t understand it, but I sure do love it!
And notice some of the things that David says about man. First, He is in awe that God even thinks about mankind, but then notice what David says. David says that God has visited man. It’s amazing how prophetic David is in some of His psalms. David was probably talking about how God had visited Moses and gave Him the law, or about how God had visited Elijah in a still, small voice. But aren’t you glad that one time, about two thousand years ago, God not only visited, but He stayed awhile?
After David says that God visited mankind, He said that man has been made just a little lower than the angels, and that God has crowned mankind with glory and honor, and has put all things in subjection under Him. Those are some pretty impressive things, aren’t they? And yet, it doesn’t always seem like all things are in subjection to us, does it? I mean, whenever Paul’s arm is hurting, when Morris’s neck is bothering him, when Stacy’s back is bothering her, or when Cary’s lupus is acting up; they probably don’t sit back and think about how all things are in subjection to us. So what is going on here? Well, look at how the author finishes up verse eight. “But now we see not yet all things put under him.” What does this mean? This means that all of the stuff that David talked about; well, it hasn’t been fulfilled 100% yet! I mean, in a certain way all things have been subjected to us. Clearly we are at the top of the food chain. We have been given the privilege to harvest food from the seas, drill oil from beneath the ground, and even fly rocket ships through space. And yet, things have not been truly subjected to us, because of what happened in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve sinned, they really messed up the great plan that God had for us.
So what does that make verses six through eight? Whenever David says that God is mindful of man and God has crowned man with glory and honor, and yet we can see with our eyes that that is not always apparent; how can we understand this? What does it mean that God has subjected all of creation to us human beings? Well church, it’s a promise of our future! It is a promise that one day, all of creation will be given over to us to protect and to use for our benefit. I don’t want to speculate too much, but in my mind’s eye, that means that astronauts will be able to go much, much farther than the moon. I believe that the beauty of the entire universe will be put in our charge.
So as we are thinking about this theme of Christ understanding our suffering, the first thing that will help us as a church is to know that one day, there isn’t going to be any more suffering. No more financial troubles, no more pain, no more disease, no more losing a loved one. While suffering is a horrible thing, for Christians, it is not going to last forever! So point number one is that mankind has been promised a very, very bright future. Now of course, you know full and well that this bright future is only promised for Christians. For people who die without Christ, suffering will be a grim reality for all of eternity. But for the people who have been forgiven by Christ, suffering will be nothing but a distant memory. So if you are here this morning and you simply cannot understand why things happen the way they happen, I hope the sure knowledge that there is a better day coming helps you in your struggles. Let’s now look at the second help for the suffering believer.
Point #2: The Adoption
We begin to see this great adoption in verse nine of our text. Verse nine reads, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man” Wow! What an amazing verse to express the gospel. In my opinion, little children should learn this verse right after they learn John 3:16. I love the first four words of this verse. “But we see Jesus.” You might be wondering why that is significant. Well, the writer had just got done explaining that even though mankind has been promised dominion over all creation, we cannot obtain that dominion because of Adam and Eve’s sin. But then, we see Jesus. Sometimes the word “but” brings horrible news, doesn’t it? Your mother lived through the surgery, but… Your application looked great, but… Your dad and I love each other, but… Sometimes that little three-letter word brings horrible news that can ruin our lives. Sometimes, however, the word brings amazing news. We do not currently see all things put in our subjection, but… we see Jesus. This verse tells us that Jesus was made a little lower than the angels. Who remembers who else this passage said was a little lower than the angels? Yes, us! Jesus became one of us! Why? Look what the verse says. “that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Praise God for what our Savior did for us!
But look at what verse ten says about our Jesus. “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.” Another great verse. This verse says that it “became” Jesus to die for us. What does that mean? It means that it was fitting that the One who created everything should die for us. I know that sounds crazy, but look at how the verse concludes, “to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Now, you know as well as I do that Jesus has always been perfect, so what do you think this verse means? Does anybody remember what else the word perfect means? Yes, that’s right, it means “complete.” The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus was made complete because of what He did. He was made the Captain of salvation, because He fulfilled His mission. If you’ve ever wondered why God didn’t just leave the Old Testament sacrificial system in place, here’s a big part of your answer. Jesus wanted to be the Hero. Jesus wanted to put Superman and Batman to shame with His sheer act of heroism. The God who created the world came down to be the Captain of our salvation, because He was willing to die for us on the cross. Praise God.
Let’s look at verses eleven through thirteen again. “For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of One: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, ‘I will declare Thy name unto My brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee.’ And again, ‘I will put my trust in Him.’ And again, ‘Behold I and the children which God hath given Me.’” Look at that first sentence. “He that sanctified and he that is sanctified are of One.” What does that mean? In case you don’t remember, the word “sanctified” means that we have been “set apart for God.” It’s another way of saying that we’ve been saved. So, someone tell me, Who is it that did the saving? Yes, Jesus. And who is it that has been saved? Yes, us and everyone else who has trusted in Christ. In other words, this verse says that Jesus and us are of One. Now what does that mean? It means the same thing as “Jason and I are of one.” It’s a fancy way of saying we have the same father. This verse says that because of what Jesus did, we have the same Father! And verses twelve and thirteen reiterate that point. Because of Jesus, we have been adopted into the family of God. You know, most of us call God our Father on a daily basis when we pray to Him; but do we ever really think about the implication of that? God is our Father! We are His children! When we placed our faith in Jesus Christ, we were not only saved from our sins. We were also saved to the family of God!
And you know, I haven’t forgotton that today is Father’s Day. I’m really glad that most of you got to meet my dad last week. He’s an awesome dad, and I wouldn’t trade him for anyone in the world. But whether or not you have a father that loves you, if you know Jesus, then you have a Father that loves you more than you can imagine!
If you are here today, and you are struggling in ways that I cannot even begin to comprehend, I pray that this simple fact will give you comfort. If you have trusted in Christ, then you are officially a son or a daughter of the God of the universe. Jesus says that He is your Brother. Now clearly He is still God, and He is still deserving of our awe and our allegiance, but He has also said that He wants to spend the rest of eternity with you, because you’re family. Whether today is the best day of your life, or the worst day of your life, it does not change the fact that you have a Father in Heaven who cares immensely about what happens to you. Let’s move on to the final point of this sermon.
Point #3: The Mediation
Look at what verses fourteen through sixteen say. I’m not going to read them again, but verse fourteen essentially says that Jesus took on flesh and blood, because He had to do so in order to conquer Satan. Verse fifteen says that He had to conquer Satan so that we, who were doomed to death, could be freed from our bondage. And I love what verse sixteen says. Verse sixteen says that Jesus did not take on the flesh of angels, but instead took on the flesh of the seed of Abraham. Jesus became just like us! And verse seventeen explains excellently why it is that Jesus became just like us. Verse seventeen reads, “Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” This verse says that Jesus became like us so that He could be a merciful and faithful High Priest for us. In case you are unfamiliar with the role of the high priest in the Old Testament, his role most of the year was to kill the sacrifices that people brought to the temple. But then, on one day of the year, it was the high priest’s job to go into the Holy of Holies and make a special sacrifice that would atone for the sins of the people.
The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus is a merciful and faithful High Priest for us. Now, if time permitted I could preach an entire sermon on how Jesus is a merciful and faithful High Priest, and maybe one day I will; but for now, suffice it to say that Jesus is our High Priest, and He is the mediator between us and God. The concept of Jesus being our Mediator is one that is way too deep for me to understand, but I know that it is true. We know that Jesus and God are both omniscient, which means that They know everything. And we know that They are always in agreement with each other. And yet, in some mysterious way, this verse says that Jesus intercedes to God on our behalf. We don’t know what that looks like, but Jesus is constantly telling God that we are His, and that even though we deserve judgment, our High Priest has already made the sacrifice to cover our sins.
Finally, verse eighteen explains how it is that Jesus is able to be a faithful mediator. Look at what verse eighteen says. “For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.”” If you remember, the title of this morning’s sermon is “The Savior Who Knows Our Struggles.” If you’re wondering why it’s titled that, it’s right here in verse eighteen. The first half of the verse says that Jesus suffered Himself, and the second half of the verse says that because He suffered, He is able to help others that are being tested. Jesus is a Savior that understands our struggles because He struggled while He was on Earth. In some way we can’t understand, He is constantly telling God that He understands what we’re going through, and He asks for mercy on our behalf.
I hope that you see the implication here for the struggling Christian. Christ is able to help you in your struggles because He knows first-hand what you’re going through. Unfortunately, that is not a gift that I have. If you ever have problems in your life, I truly hope that you feel comfortable coming to me as your pastor. I can offer a listening ear. I can offer a shoulder to cry on. And I can offer counsel from the word of God. And while I can do those things, I cannot truly understand what you’re going through, because I have never had the kinds of struggles that some of you have had. But church, Jesus knows. Jesus knows how much pain you’re going through when you don’t know how you’re going to make it out of bed. Jesus knows what it’s like to feel the sting of betrayal from some of your closest friends. Jesus knows what it’s like to have the weight of the entire world of your shoulders.
And I hope you know that this applies to temptation of sin, as well. Jesus knows what it’s like to have the devil pressing down on your back, trying to get you to sin against God. Jesus experienced that temptation in the wilderness when Satan bombarded Him with opportunities to sin against God. Jesus experienced that temptation in the garden when Satan made one last attempt to convince Christ to not die on the cross. And Jesus defeated temptation. Because of His victory, He makes it possible for you to have victory, as well. So if you are here this morning, and you have been beaten down by the devil, and you have already made compromises that never should have been made, I want you to know that you have a merciful High Priest in Heaven that is just waiting to take that burden off of your back. And if you are here this morning, and you are being attacked with emotional or physical pain, I hope you remember well what we’ve talked about this morning.
We talked about how we have been given the promise that one day, we will emerge victorious over all of these struggles, when everything is made perfect in the new Earth. Second, we talked about how we have been made children of God, and how our heavenly Father cares immensely about what happens to us. Finally, we looked at how Christ has become our Mediator, and how He can do so because He has experienced our pains. If you are struggling this morning with pain or with sin, we have a Messiah who can deliver us. And even if He chooses not to deliver us, we can rest assured that He has a plan for your suffering, just like He had a plan for His suffering.
And if you are here this morning, and you have never trusted in Christ as your Savior, then your sole concern needs to be making Jesus Christ your High Priest. You need to acknowledge the One that died for your sins, and you need to follow Him in your life. You need to trust in the One who understands your sin, but you must know that He will not tolerate it. God loves you immensely, but our sin has separated us from Him, and the only way to have our sins removed is by placing our faith in Christ. If you have never done so, I encourage you to not wait any longer. Talk to me or any one of our members, and we’d love to show you what the Bible says about salvation.
Let us all remember that, as the hymn writer said, “Jesus knows all about our struggles, He will guide till the day is done, there’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus, no not one, no not one.”
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