Sunday, 30 March 2014


Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.
11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers,
12 saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
13 And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”
Once of Bristol's most famous citizens is Banksy. He was raised in Bristol. He has taken graffiti and raised it to a new level of art. One of his murials taken from a pub wall in Brighton sold in Miami for $575,000. another Slave Labour taken form a wall in London sold for $1.1m.
You can now get an App for your phone that will give you a map of where to find his work in Bristol.
There is nothing new in graffiti. Last year we had a few days in Rome, and went to the small Palatine Museum. I was quite excited for I was looking forward to seeing a piece of 3rd Century graffiti.
I found the place where it hung, but it wasn't there! Just a small photograph and a sign saying it had been loaned out for display elsewhere!
It is a very crude drawing, far below the standard of Banksy, of a man on a cross with the head of a donkey.
The writing in translation says: "Alexamenos worships his god"!
It is a reminder of how the early Christians faced abuse and mockery for believing in Jesus Christ and him crucified. The cross was a scandal.
The writer has just mentioned the death of Jesus - Hebrews 2:9
Today the scandal we get mocked for is believing in creation and not evolution! Maybe we need to say more clearly that there is a much bigger scandal in the Christian faith than creation and that is the cross!
To the Jews it was a scandal because it meant Jesus died under a curse.
To the Gentiles (that's everyone else) it was a scandal because the whole idea was sheer madness!
The Hebrew Christians had suffered - 10:32-34
They were suffering - 13:2-3
And were facing maybe more intense suffering - 13:13-14, 12:4
Our writer is saying: Don't be intimidated by the graffiti on the walls, by the Jewish opposition, or the Gentile philosophers and intellectuals, or the suffering you face.
Do not give up the faith. Do not go back! Keep going. Endure.
Because the Suffering and death of Jesus is fitting:
[1] Fitting for the Glory of God - Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist,
Why does he do that?
Because he wants to bring to our minds the greatness and the glory of God.
So rather than just saying God, or the Father, he describes him as "he, for whom and by whom all things exist." God is the reason why the world, and men and women, exists in the first place - all was created for him.
Romans 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Rev 4:11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
The world was created for the glory of God. We all exist for the glory of God. It is why God made us.
And we will bring God glory. Even if you do not believe in him, you will bring God glory.
Romans 9:22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory--
God has done this says the writer, the one for whom and by whom all things exist, so we can be certain that this was all for his glory.
Men may mock the suffering of Jesus. Let them draw their little graffiti pictures and write their slander. One day they will see that all Jesus did through his suffering brings great glory to God.
What did he achieve by his suffering? That brings us to the second reason why it is fitting:
[2] Fitting for Jesus is bringing many sons and daughters to glory!
Heaven is a glorious place, but what gives it the glory is not the streets of gold, but the glory of God. Jesus is bringing us to see his glory.
The writer has already spoken of his glory: 1v3, 2v7, v9.
John 17:5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
v24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
The Christian is being brought by Jesus to glory. We are on the way to glory!
WE are going to see the glory of Jesus. Not as a tourist sees something they have long desired to see, spend a while looking at it and then leave, perhaps never to return. No, we shall see his glory and live with him in that glory for ever.
Re 21:23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
How can it be that we who are sinners can live glory? That brings us to the third reason why it is fitting:
[3] Fitting for Jesus to be made perfect through suffering.
The way to glory required Jesus to suffer.
Peter O'Brien, "Christ is led by God through suffering to glory, so becoming the leader of his people on the journey to salvation."
So Jesus becomes the founder of our salvation. The word for founder can mean the initiator, the originator, the author or pioneer. He is the one who defeated sin, death and the devil, he brings salvation.
To do so he had to first be made "perfect through suffering".
Now do not misunderstand this. Jesus was never imperfect. He was without sin. It is the perfection of the rosebud compared to the greater perfection of the Rose flower. Both are perfect, but the flower has a maturity in it's perfection.
So Jesus suffered so that he would be perfect to save his people.
Jesus' suffering culminated with the cross, but did not begin with the first hammer blow on the nail through his hand that held him there. His suffering begun, perhaps even whilst he was in the womb.
If the mother is suffering then her unborn child is aware of it. Mary must have suffered in becoming pregnant before she was married, although she knew she had done nothing wrong, that the child was of the Holy Spirit. Yet the reaction of others must have pained her.
She had the difficult journey to Bethlehem. Giving birth in a stable. Jesus was laid in manger, a cattle trough. Herod tried to kill him. He became a refuge in Egypt. He grew up with the stigma of the circumstances surrounding his birth; his temptations in the wilderness, the abuse - he's in league with the devil they said. The plots to kill him. Rejection by his own people. Sometimes he had no where to lay his head, he slept rough. Finally, betrayal, Gethsemane! An unjust trial, and all the events of good Friday.
Yes, Jesus suffered much before the cross.
All his suffering brought him to mature perfection for the time when that first nail was struck by the hammer and driven through his hand into the wood. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. He had been made perfect through suffering.
Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.
So never be ashamed of Jesus, the cross, or the gospel.
Then the writer says something so encouraging:
11b That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers,
Jesus is not ashamed to bring you to glory, to present you before God his Father, and every living creature, and call you his brother or sister.
Why is he not ashamed? Aren't you ashamed of your sin? How can you be worthy of Jesus calling you his brother or sister?
The answer is in the first part of v11. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin.
Jesus sanctifies every believer. He makes us holy. That doesn't mean that we will be without sin. It does mean there will be visible changes in our lives towards holiness.
Later he will say: Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
What does he mean all have one origin? Jesus and his brothers and sisters share the same origin. The explanation is found in the word brothers. Jesus was made like us, yet without sin. He is God the Son, and through the incarnation becomes also man.
He is of the same origin as us. A claim he proves from three quotes:
[1] Psalm 22:22. v12 saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
It is a Psalm that gives us an insight into the cross. But it doesn't end there. It goes on to thanksgiving after suffering has been completed.
To tell the name of God to his brothers means more than just his name! It means to make God known.
[2] Isaiah 8:17 - v13a And again, “I will put my trust in him.”
The King and the people were not receiving the message of salvation. They were dark and difficult days. Well if no one else believed, Isaiah would believe his own prophecies, for they were the word of God. He would trust God to keep his word.
Jesus trusted in God in the darkest times. He trusted him in Gethsemane. He trusted God's will. He trusted him on the cross, even though he felt abandoned.
Lu 23:43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Luke 23:46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.
How fitting that one who so trusted in God should be the one who leads us even through the dark valleys of the shadow of death.
[3] Isaiah 8:18 v13b And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”
Isaiah presents his family, his wife and children. His sons have names full of significance. They are signs to the people.
7v3 And the LORD said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub your son, (A remnant will return.)
8v3 And I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the LORD said to me, “Call his name Maher-shalal-hashbaz; (Quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil.)
Jesus presents his family, his brothers and sisters. They too are a sign showing how fitting his suffering was. Here is the fruit. Here are those who were sinners, n ow fully sanctified, made holy, presented to the Father.
Here are those the Father had given him.
John 6v37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
v38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
v39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
You may be despised by society but Jesus is not ashamed of you.
The Father has given you to him that he may one day present you before him as his family, and that you may see, and dwell in, his glory.

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