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045 - O Captain, My Captain

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
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June 19, 2021 1:00 pm

045 - O Captain, My Captain

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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June 19, 2021 1:00 pm

Episode 045 - O Captain, My Captain (19 June 2021) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

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You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages. Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, in a hero movie, there's always that moment when the hero seizes the enemy's weapon and turns it back on him and uses it to destroy him. Yeah, that's awesome.

Well, that's going to happen today when we read in Hebrew about what Jesus did when he used his own death to defeat the power of death. Today, on More Than Ink. Well, good morning. We're glad you're joining us at our dining room table. I'm sitting across from Dorothy.

And I'm sitting across from Jim. There you go. And we would love for you to join us as we take a deeper dive into Hebrews 2. We're in the second half of Hebrews 2, and we got halfway through Hebrews 2 last week, and he ended with a fascinating phrase.

And that phrase was? That he would taste death for everyone. Jesus would taste death for everyone according to God's gracious mercies for us. Well, that whole idea that God's sent one would die was one of the things that the first century listeners gagged on. They just couldn't get their head around the fact that Messiah would die. And so the argument coming up here is that, well, it's appropriate, fitting, and necessary to accomplish God's purpose that Messiah would die. And actually, Jesus even, if you think about this, when he encountered those two on the road to Emmaus and said, Oh, you're so foolish and slow to believe in what the prophets have said. This is Luke 24, 24 and 25. He says, Oh, foolish men and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and enter into his glory? So that's the backdrop.

Yeah. And for a Jewish audience, which is what Hebrews is written to, that would be the biggest sticking point is that we know what the Messiah is supposed to be like. We know what he's supposed to, the kind of power he has, the control he has. Everything is subject, and we know all that stuff.

You don't have to teach us about that. And the writer of Hebrews has already underscored all of that stuff. But the whole issue about him having to die, that is just a terribly difficult thing to swallow. So that's what we're starting into.

So that's what we're starting into. And it'll be a theme throughout all of Hebrews, in fact. I mean, how is it that the Messiah, who now we also know is the one who created everything, holds everything together, and to whom everything is going to go, and he dies? So he's made the Messiah even bigger than they were thinking, but still it's necessary that he should come into his creation and die. Wow. So we start off with verse 10 in chapter 2.

Okay. 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. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That's why he's not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, I will tell of your name to my brothers in the midst of the congregation. I will sing your praise. And again, I will put my trust in him.

And again, behold, I and the children God has given me. Okay, we got to stop there. We do. Because like we said last week, a couple of those quotes from Isaiah kind of break the rule that we understand about you ought to be able to put two and two together immediately if a writer is going to use a quote. It ought to demonstrate right up front what he's saying. Right. But it's a little bit hard for us to make the connection when he grabs these fragments out of Isaiah 8.

Yeah. So the Psalm 22 quote makes a whole lot more sense in its context, but we have to let Scripture interpret the Scripture as we said before. Exactly. Exactly. And don't get too hung up on exactly the interpretive connections between Psalm 22 and verse 12 here and Isaiah 8 and verse 13. Right, because we can get a view of the argument of the writer, even if we don't understand why he's using these quotes the way he is. But let me tell you what he's trying to point out in this. The key word in verse 12 is this word brothers.

Right. Because here he's saying that the Messiah is calling mankind his brothers. His brother.

Now that's a very odd thing. And then in verse 13 he uses another familiar term, children. So I and the children God has given me. So here's someone who's saying his role in humanity is a filial one of actually being part of humanity, part to the degree that he's brothers and children as well. So that's an interesting thing because if you think about it, go back to like Zeus and Greek mythology and stuff like that. You know the separation between the superhuman gods and the menial little human beings, you know, and they just barely touch and they don't. It would be just crazy to think about this superhuman god like Zeus, according to that mythology, of actually mingling with humans, let alone calling them brothers. So here what the writer of Hebrews is doing is he's spanning this huge distance. Yes indeed, God is huge and big and outside of creation, but he did something quite unique to actually come into the middle of humanity and call them brothers. And that thing he did was become a man.

That's the amazing thing. Okay, but where we live, the central religion where we live has made this idea of Jesus as our brother an utterly blasphemous construct. That he's just a bigger, better me and he is literally our brother.

Right, so we have to be careful. We have to be careful here because that's not what the writer of Hebrews is emphasizing, but he is emphasizing that the unseen God, the God who is spirit, took on flesh to become like us. And in that sense is our brother. And in that sense is our brother, exactly. Yeah, where they go off the rails is the fact that they claim that Jesus and us are the same species and kind of elevates us and that's heresy. But the writer of Hebrews has already made it very clear that Jesus is of a different kind. Yeah, so much so he's even bigger than angels.

So come on, get over it. So if we go back to verse 10, it says it was fitting that he, I mean this was needed, this was appropriate, it was fitting that he for whom and by whom all things exist. So we're back to the Creator.

I mean he's in charge of everything. But it was fitting that in bringing many sons to glory, he should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. So let's stop there for a minute.

There's a lot of turquoise right there. Again, we're on the edge of real theological trouble. But it was fitting, it was necessary. So he's saying this is the necessary part of the Messiah. Even though he is the Creator, to bring many sons to glory, that means to bring many of this humanity into a place of fellowship with God himself.

Into glory is what that is in the presence of God. And that death was necessary to make the founder of their salvation perfect. Now a lot of people trip over that perfect word right there. Well, because we immediately jump to sinlessly perfect. And if he was made perfect, he must have not been perfect. Right.

So did he go through a process to become perfect? That's not the meaning of this word. That's not what it means.

No, that's not what it means at all. In fact, this perfect word comes up many times in different ways. It means kind of the end of a long process. Usually you want something to achieve something.

I always talk about using it in the verb form to perfect the recipe. To perfect something. Yeah, to get to a point.

You're getting to a point. And so what he's really getting here is that for the Messiah to be the Messiah, one of the things he has to include in his portfolio is dying. And the only way he can do that is if he's a man. To carry through completely with identifying with humans in order to bring about our salvation. So it really completes the purpose and the end and the goal of who the Messiah is, is for him to become a man. That's what completes the whole idea of Messiah.

He wasn't made sinless by being made perfect. That's the wrong interpretation. And that would come through suffering.

That suffering would eventually end in death. By the way, before we leave that verse, I love that word founder. Because it literally is, and this is, you know, if you've got some Greek word study things, it comes out pretty clearly.

It really is putting two words together. The two words is arch, which means first, and ego, which means to lead. So he's the first leader. He's like the pioneer. He's the first guy forward. So in a way, or actually, I love many places, I think it's in King James, it translates to this captain.

Right. I like that translation, captain. So he's the one that takes the lead, goes forward, and we follow. So Jesus is indeed our captain in this salvation process.

He's the first one out, and we follow behind him. So what does he do, verse 11? He sanctifies. He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. And that's why he is not ashamed to call them brothers. So here we are again, he's in the midst of mankind as a man, as a human being, and that's why he's not ashamed to call us brothers, because he came to be a man amongst men to save men.

That's the point he's making right here. And to be sanctified is to be made holy. Right. So the holy one himself became one of us in order to invite us into his holiness and open a way for us to be made holy. Yeah. And we need to define holy again. To be set apart for God's purpose.

Yeah. For God's own purpose. And to be different from this place.

I mean, if you live in a place that's completely riddled with sin and evil, you don't want to be part of that place. Separated. So being holy is separated from that. Separated and set apart.

Yeah. So many times when you think about God and the fact that he created this creation, but it fell and so it's contaminated by sin. God's not contaminated by the sin. He's holy. He's set apart from that stuff. But God has called us to be part of him, to be part of fellowship with him.

And in doing so, we have to have none of that taintedness of this place with us. We need to be set apart so that we can be with him. So that's the set apart to be holy, to be with him. Well, Jesus, who already was as creator sinless, never sinned, came into the fallen creation, the sinful creation, became a man. So now he calls us brothers.

And in so doing, transformed us who are tainted by sin. That's the sanctifying process so that we can be with him. And now he calls us brothers. He calls us brothers. I will tell of your name to my brothers in the midst of the congregation.

I'll sing your praise. And so as a result, we put our trust in him. And now we are considered the children of God.

Any comments on that before we turn the page? I'm stunned. I just always come to a screeching halt here when I think about the reality of the uncreated one subjecting himself to his own creation for the sake of those he created. Yeah.

That's just amazing. And the point in Psalm 22 where this little fragment comes from, I'll tell of your name to my brothers, comes after. Psalm 22 has this very graphic description of what Jesus went through on the cross. Yeah, it's the cross. And it comes after this cry in the Psalm that says, Oh God, hear me. Be near me.

Help me. Which is going to be important later when the writer of Hebrews says, He gives help to the seed of Abraham, to the offspring of Abraham. So I just have all of this. I'm just totally captivated by his becoming one of us so that we could become in fellowship with him. And from the Jewish mindset, there was always some questions about this Messiah. There's so much written about the Messiah.

But the debates would rage all the time between the rabbis. Well, was this Messiah, is he human or is he kind of God? Is he an angel? Is he some kind of supernatural being? Does it fully qualify him to be human? I mean, there was always this talk about he's clearly something more than a man, but is he still a man? So that debate raged on and on.

And it basically came back to a ping-pong discussion. Is he man or is he God? Which is why when Jesus claimed before Abraham was, I am, they said, Well, you're just a man. That's blasphemy. And they picked up rocks to stone him. And those two ideas cannot coexist in their minds.

They couldn't make sense of those. How can you be God and be man, which is part of your own creation? How can that be possible? But the writer of Hebrews is saying that's exactly what happened. And it was necessary and it was fitting because that was what was required in order to pay the price for the death that we incurred because of our sin. And no angel could do that. And no angel could do that. And no mere human could do that.

And as a result, we put our trust in him. And that's what he says. Well, let's move to the next section.

It's got even more stuff going on. Oh, my gosh. In verse 14. Let me start reading this.

Okay, go ahead. Well, since therefore the children, you know, that's us, share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death. That is the devil. And deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it's not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. So therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he's able to help those who are being tempted. Oh, my goodness. It's just like a freight train full of content.

Where do you start? Well, you know, I would read it again. That's a good way to read it. If I was coming to this to study it for the first time, I would come to the end of that section and go, oh, I'm not sure I really grasped what was there. Let me read it again slowly.

I often stop and read something aloud to myself and see what words I emphasize in the reading aloud. And so, you know, we see death, death, death, death, death repeated. We see slavery, fear of death, brothers.

He became one of us. He partook flesh and blood. All those things, it's emphasizing his humanity so that he could actually die, that that was totally appropriate and necessary for Messiah to die. And the Messiah that died had to be a human being.

That's the issue. That's why he says, you know, when he starts it out, he says, he just talked about children. So, you know, since they're for the children sharing flesh and blood, we all have flesh and blood. He's flesh and blood. He partook of the same things, flesh and blood, and then he comes, you know, down in the middle and says, he's made like his brothers.

That's what he just emphasized from those other passages. He's fully a man. He's not just a demi-man or a sort of man. He's fully man. And that he needs to be fully man so that the dying, tasting death for everyone, works in terms of the justice.

And that's what he gets at in 14. Through death, he might, and this is interesting, through death, he might destroy the one who has the power of death. That is the devil.

Well, wait a second. If the devil kills you, how is it that you've destroyed him? The devil has the power of death, but you're going to use death to destroy the guy who has the power of death?

What is that all about? And that's the mystery, isn't it? That's the incredible mystery.

And, you know, he will unpack this some as the chapters go on. And we, you know, if you grew up in the church, you knew that this is what happens. Jesus dies for you.

But why does this work? But the bottom line he's saying almost astonishingly is he came deliberately to die. And in so doing, took away the power of the one who has the power of death itself.

He will explain that. Well, and he says that he died to free those who were held captive by the fear of death. By the fear of death. Right, because we know in our human weak state, death is permanent and we don't know what's on the other side of it.

And the fear of that paralyzes us. What's going to happen to me when I die? And Jesus said, you know, if you live and believe in me, you'll never die, right?

In John 11, when he was talking to the sisters of Lazarus. So, you know, Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life. Yeah.

So we're just going to have to wait until he unpacks this one. Because, I mean, it's just, it's true. And I get what he's saying. And also he says the fact that because of this fear of death, it keeps us in slavery during our lifetimes.

And so, and I understand what that's all about, too. When you were worried about, you know, all the bad things I've done in my life, am I going to have to pay for those when I die? There's a certain conscience that tells us that there's going to be a reckoning. Right, there's a day of judgment coming.

So that worries us, that's part of that slavery. But then in 16, as he's still continuing the angel talk, he says, and by the way, he's not doing this to help angels, right? He's doing this to help the offspring of Abraham? So this only applies to Jews?

Well, no, that raises a question. Who is the offspring of Abraham, right? And is it offspring as in all who are genetically of Abraham's line, which is, of course, what the Jews are? Or is there something else? I mean, the New Testament goes on to say that it's not just those who are genetically Jews who are the children of Abraham, but those who believe God like Abraham did.

Right, right. So is it that offspring of Abraham he's talking about? Well, yes, God is our helper.

They're included. But is it also the one seed of Abraham, the offspring of Abraham, Messiah, who God helps? Because that takes us back into Psalm 22, where he says, God help me be near me, in verse 19. So verse 19 of Psalm 22. But God is our helper. God doesn't help angels.

Right. And he's helping human beings, offspring of Abraham. Those who are created in his image and likeness. And he will unpack that some more, too, why he used that phrase, the offspring of Abraham. And, you know, if you want some bonus points, you can go read Galatians 3. Right. He spends the entire chapter talking about that.

Or you can go look at when John the Baptist kind of, you know, hits up the Pharisees when they come out to him because they're looking to be baptized. And he says, look, if you're depending on the fact that you are, you know, genetically... Right. God can raise them up from the very stones. God can come from stones. So, yeah, it's an interesting phrase and it's really relevant.

But let's push on past that. So, therefore, in 17, he had to be made like his brothers, which means he just had to be a human being in every respect, not a sort of respect, in every respect, fully man, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest. High priest.

And now he's introducing another idea, which will take him the book to unpack. A huge idea and central to Judaism. But Jews understand what the high priest is. They understand the high priest.

I mean, it's a code word for a very special person who accomplishes a very special thing. And because that's such a common idea, he'll spend chapters talking about how it is that Jesus who dies on our behalf is not just the sacrifice for us, but he's indeed actually the high priest who somehow mediates the sacrifice. And that he is the only good, true, righteous high priest because of who he is.

Yeah, exactly. So that, again, I mean, this section of verses, he's captured, you know, something like half a dozen chapters he'll discuss later. But for a Jew, this is kind of, this is very intriguing. You mean Jesus, the Messiah, is our high priest? And, you know, just to give you a preview, one of the immediate reactions that a Jew would have hearing this would say, no, I don't think so. Because you know what, the only people in Israel who could be priests had to be literally genetically descended from Levi, and then specifically Aaron.

Through Aaron, yeah. And we know that Jesus came out of Judah, so he's got the wrong blood. He can't be a high priest. Well, we're going to get into that, too, in the next few chapters. Well, he will deal with that issue.

So that's why this is just, it's just very intriguing. For a Hebrew thinker, they're going to go, wait a second, I hear what you're saying, but that doesn't make sense to me. Okay, now think for a minute about what you know about the high priest in Jesus' time. Because the writer here says, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God. Well, in the time of Jesus, the high priest was not merciful, and he was not faithful in service to God.

He was faithful in service to his own ends. As we know, it was the high priest and his father-in-law who were instrumental in that trumped-up trial for Jesus, and masquerading him as someone opposed to Rome. Not your exemplary high priest behavior. Right, they were not merciful nor faithful, although they kept all of their T's crossed and their I's dotted ceremonially.

But in their hearts, they were not faithful. So in their condemnation of Jesus, the irony meter just pegs right here, because here we have the high priest condemning the high priest. The real high priest. The real high priest, yeah. So we'll get into that.

That's a fascinating thing. The high priest is an important theme in the entirety of Hebrews. And he makes propitiation, that's a word that's just poorly, who knows what propitiation means. Well, you have to look it up in a dictionary. And a dictionary will really help.

That's a good Bible study tool. Because they picked this English word deliberately, although it's a little bit antique to us. It is an old-fashioned word, but it contains the idea of appeasement, of satisfaction. Someone needs to be appeased. To do something so that someone else will be favorably disposed toward you. It hints at the repair of a relationship when you talk about propitiation.

And that he rendered himself this offering that propitiates the wrath of God. Yeah, when you see someone who offends someone else and they finally get back together again and the offending person comes up to them, they'll say something like, what can I do to make things right between us? That's propitiation.

That's a good idea. That's propitiation. That's repairing the relationship and the thing that makes it happen. Well, Jesus is the thing in that particular case that's instrumental to the reconciliation.

So that's what's going on. Well, and maybe before we quit altogether, let's talk about a priest for a minute. Because what is a priest? You know, a priest isn't a guy who just wears a robe and does prayers. A priest, by definition, represents God to humankind. And then he represents humankind before God. And that's the way priests function, both in Christianity and in Judaism and in pagan religions.

Priests represent their God. Yep, yep. Yeah, in early Latin culture they were called pontifexes, which means a bridge builder.

A bridge. So they're a bridge builder between God and man. Yeah. So that's a really good definition. So here you have someone who is in the process of figuring out how to get man and God back together again. And that's what a priest is. That's what a high priest is. And as we'll discover in the Old Testament, you look at what goes on in the temple there and what the high priests do, they're just consumed with dealing with the problems of sin, which separates men from God. Always.

From sun up to sun down. Yeah. Dealing with sin.

Yeah. So because he himself has suffered when tempted, he's able to help those who are being tempted. So Jesus is going to go into exactly the same environment that we are in, which is being tempted by sin and the messiness of sin. He's going to go in the midst of that, be tempted himself, but actually not succumb.

And because of the fact that he experiences the same environment that we are in, in terms of sin, it makes him, again, qualified to be not only our high priest, but someone who can die on our behalf. And not just the temptation, but the suffering associated with sin. And the suffering that comes with it. We've run into that word suffering three or four times now in this chapter. Yeah. And it was essential that Messiah experienced the suffering caused by sin in order to fully identify with the cost.

Yeah. So there's no way in which in the difficulties that you're experiencing right now, if you yell out to God and say, God, you just don't understand, God would say, no, actually I do. I was in your shoes, literally speaking. I was in your shoes. It was fitting that he, for whom and by whom are all things and bringing many sons to glory, should perfect the author of their salvation through suffering.

Through suffering. Well, we are out of time again. We've bitten off big chunks right here.

Oh my goodness. And the writer of Hebrews has bitten off big chunks and largely to intrigue you about what's coming, because he doesn't explain these things here, but if you do particularly, you'll be really tweaked by almost everything he said and you'll want to hear what's coming up next. And you'll want to too. So we're glad you're with us and we hope you join us next time.

You can read ahead in Hebrews 3 and we'll dive into some incredible content. It gets even deeper from here. So I'm Jim. And I'm Dorothy.

And we're delighted you're with us. Do some homework, read ahead and we'll discuss it next time on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, morethanink.org. There we go. That's it. There we go. We knew where we wanted to get to, but that's tricky.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-02 09:12:27 / 2023-11-02 09:24:19 / 12

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