Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Intemperance of Jesus

"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...Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest..." (Heb. 2:9, 17a)

Jesus did not do anything sparingly or half-way. You and I must be cautioned to practice moderation because of our sinful nature, but there was no reason for Jesus to be bound by such restriction, since everything He did was right. Sinlessness requires no temperance.

Verse 9 tells us that Jesus tasted death for "every man." I take this at face value...because I can. Some may argue that His atoning death was only accomplished for a limited few; but, to me, its efficacy does not limit its sufficiency. Just as the sun rises for both the evil and the good, and as both the just and the unjust are recipients of the refreshing rain (Matt.5:45), so, too, Jesus tasted death to the very dregs for those who would benefit from it as well as those who would not. To question this "waste" is to underestimate both God's limitless resources and His unbounded love.

Then, in verse 17, the writer of Hebrews lets us know that to God it was not good enough simply to understand or sympathize with us, He had to become us (7:26), not in some things, or even most things, but in "all things." It is not the Deity of Christ that I find unfathomable; it is His Manhood that overwhelms my mind. That He would choose to take upon Himself flesh and blood, only to have that flesh torn, beaten and put to death, and that blood completely spilled out, not just to please His Father, but to save my unworthy soul—I tell you; this is love unbounded, and, yes... intemperate.

All glory to the One who was truly "all things to all men”!

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