Almost every job posting you look at has a list of qualifications. It’s a way for the applicant to determine if they should even bother applying for the job, but this list doesn’t fully qualify you for the job. The truth is you’re not fully qualified until you’ve actually done the job. Your resume may be a perfect fit, but it’s getting in there and doing it that makes you the most qualified person for the job.
Jesus had a perfect resume, but it was fitting that God sent him here and “perfected” (fully qualified) him to be
The founder of our salvation
The destroyer of death
Our merciful high priest
Founder of our salvation
It was fitting—it made perfect sense—that Jesus would walk down the path of suffering and be perfected through it. Why? Because He was all in for us—all in for every human experience. And a real human experience for those who follow Him is sanctification—perfection through suffering. As we live this Christian life, by His grace we are being sanctified, and I think we can all agree this is not always a walk in the park. The Westminster Shorter Catechism says that sanctification is the process of dying to ourselves more and more. In John 17:17, Jesus prayed that we would be sanctified in the truth—God’s word. Jesus didn’t pray that we’d be happy and comfortable. He prayed that the truth of God’s word would kill our sinful nature. And he knew that would be a painful, ugly process sometimes—He knew because he bore the crushing weight of our sin on his body. He knew because he is the founder of our salvation.
Jesus didn’t pray that we’d be happy and comfortable. He prayed that the truth of God’s word would kill our sinful nature.
This is why He’s not ashamed to call us his brother. Did you catch that? Jesus—creator, eternal, sitting at God’s right hand, God—unashamedly calls us family. Have you ever had that family member you were embarrassed to be associated with? Maybe you’ve felt like you are that family member that no one wants to acknowledge. Well, not with Jesus—there are no black sheep in His family.
Destroyer of death
Because Jesus has tasted death and made us family, he is fully qualified to “destroy the power of death—the devil”. Though we will experience physical death, there is no power in it—the wages of sin is death, but Jesus has paid them in full. The devil can no longer act as our accuser (Col 2:14-15)—Jesus has delivered us from the soul-crushing, enslaving fear of death. Satan loves hopeless and fearful people—they are easy to ensnare, they are easy to embitter, they are easy to paralyze.
We can all breathe a collectively huge sigh of relief because Jesus has destroyed the power of death.
When I was little, I went to a workshop with my mom about poisonous household plants. I ended up figuring out that one of the plants in our house (and it was large for a house plant, taller than me at the time) was poisonous. Even the tiniest piece of this plant would cause a swift and horrific death. I developed such a fear of this plant I wouldn’t go in the same room with it; I had nightmares about accidentally eating a piece of it and my throat swelling shut and suffocating me. Over a few weeks, this fear became all-consuming. Finally, I told my mom about it. She threw away the plant. This is what Jesus has done with the power of death. We can all breathe a collectively huge sigh of relief (bigger than I did when my mom got rid of the plant) because Jesus has destroyed the power of death.
Our merciful and faithful high priest
In the Old Testament, the priests were set apart from the rest of the nation of Israel for special service to God and the people. They were chosen by God’s grace to “make propitiation for the sins of the people”. It’s a long story (it takes the whole Bible to tell it properly), but to get at this word “propitiation” the basic story is that our holy, just, good, almighty, creator God has every right and reason to be angry (beyond angry, really) at sinful humans. If you propitiate someone, you appease them or satisfy them in order to assuage their anger. The role of the priest was to present offerings to God on behalf of the people to satisfy his wrath. Jesus has become the high priest for us. God’s wrath was poured out on him—he consumed it; he appeased it completely; he fully satisfied it. He is our merciful and faithful high priest.
- In what area is God sanctifying you? Is it painful? How is that fact that Jesus was perfected through suffering comforting to you?
- Are you fearful? Of what? Why? How might this be affecting you spiritually?
- Do you ever buy into the lie that God is still mad at you? If you are in Christ, this isn’t true. How does this passage reassure you?