From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” Matthew 16:21-28 NKJV
Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ” Matthew 13:24-30 NKJV
Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Matthew 13:36-43 NKJV
Hebrews Chapter 2 continues to reveal so many amazing truths. Imagine if we had to live a life following God’s word 100% of the time without failure. Now imagine that every time we disobeyed God, through thought and action, it was recorded. Now, I stand before God at the end of my life ready to receive my rightful reward. I know that for myself, this would not be something I would look forward to.
Hebrews 2 describes the “escape” from this snare.
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him… Hebrews 2:1-3 NKJV
We must cling to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the anchor that keeps us from “drifting away”, or forgetting what we’ve heard and living a life separate from Him. The only way for me to escape my sin (and death) is for me to trust in the salvation that Jesus shared with us. He experienced death so that we may live.
Who am I that should receive Christ? Who are we that God gave His only Son to save us? We were made “a little lower than the angels” and yet, He has put all things of this world under us.
For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. But one testified in a certain place, saying:
“What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?
You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” Hebrews 2:5-8 NKJV
If we trust the message of Jesus Christ, we become the “seed of Abraham.” Jesus calls us His brethren. Satan had the power over death and accused us to God, but Jesus destroyed his hold over death that we might escape bondage. What an amazing honor to partake in such a gift as this. He is loving, merciful and faithful. I also pray, let us not forget what He has done, what He has shared and who He is.
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. Hebrews 2:14-18 NKJV
This weekend, I visited with my son about angels and the great battle between Lucifer and Michael, the archangel. Wondering how he would respond to all of this, he asked me whether or not I was making up a story (as I sometimes do when we read together because he loves stories) or if I was telling him something real. After explaining that the story is real and that this was from the scriptures, he commented how God is the real life superhero. I love how kids are innocent learners. They see the world differently than many adults do, with wonder and possibility.
As we were talking, I was again amazed at who Jesus is and what He had to give up to come to earth as a man. He is God’s son with all of the benefits. However, He gave up His power, became a man on Earth and lived according to what He saw His Father do. He did this perfectly until being crucified by us, man. As I read through Hebrews this morning, this became even more clear. Jesus is the “heir of all things.” It also says that God made the worlds through His son Jesus. Imagine that. Jesus made the worlds with His Father. Jesus is the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His person. We were made in that image.
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. Hebrews 1:1-14 NKJV
That last sentence really sums up what I was trying to communicate with my son. Jesus is higher than the angels. He is God’s Son and has inherited a better name because of it. He has never said to an angel “You are my son.” The rest of Hebrews chapter 1 explains this very well, but I especially like the last two.
To the son He says:
…“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same,
And Your years will not fail.” Hebrews 1:10-12 NKJV
But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? Hebrews 1:13-14 NKJV