Get Your Head Up! (Hebrews 2:5-9)
Humanity was supposed to wear a crown — not one made of gold and jewels, but of God's glory and honor. We were supposed to be a regal people, free and self-controlled. Love and joy and goodness were intended to flow from our lives and hands and hearts. No impurity, no sin, no crime or death or ugliness was to ever come from any of us. Ever. We were intended to be the pinnacle of God's created order.
We were made a little lower than the angelic realm but were crowned with glory and honor. And as for the rest of God's creation, it was to be placed firmly at our feet. Everything in this world was to be in subjection to us. We were to fill the earth and subdue it, governing the planet with equity and grace. Justice and rightness would be our only experience, all we'd ever know.
The author to the Hebrews knew this and quoted from Psalm 8 to make his appeal. Glory, honor, a crown -- it was all God's intention for us.
The language harkens back to the book of Genesis. There, in the first chapter, and on the last day of creation, God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion..." (Genesis 1:26). Genesis continued: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth" (Genesis 1:27-28).
Dominion. Subjection. In the purest and holiest manner, humanity was to preside over all of God's created order. Pollution, wars, disease -- all of it was far from God's mind. The dominion we were supposed to have was to be glorious in nature and for the good of every part of God's created order. Hebrews says it like this: "Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control."
Unfortunately, however, there is another movement to the story. Hebrews continues, "At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him" (Hebrews 2:8). You see, when sin insidiously and deceptively entered into God's created order through the waywardness of humanity, humankind lost the subjection of creation.
After Adam's sin, chaos unraveled its ugly clutches upon the planet. In a word, the partnership ended. Men and women, previously in beautiful partnership with each other, entered into hostility one against the other. The ground, which previously partnered smoothly with man, began to produce thorns and thistles. Brothers, meant to live in harmonious partnership with one another, began to war and divide and clan up. Life, meant to be an endless stream of fellowship with God, began to turn into a never-ending death parade. The waters, meant to partner and sustain us, flooded the earth and took life. Even the animal kingdom, meant to thrive under humanity's care and oversight, began to dread the very humans who should've cared for them. Humanity, it seems, lost the crown they were meant to wear.
It ought to be evident that we still live in that chaotic lack of subjection. Life is still a struggle, in many ways, for survival. The wrestling match with creation started back at the fall of man and still exists today. Natural disasters still press upon us. The physical limitations of sickness, injury, and death still haunt us. The utterly fragile state of the human mind still chases us. And we respond the best we can with health care and hospitals and medicines and physicians. We start insurance companies, develop pesticides, embed fire departments, and build funeral homes to help us cope with the chaos. We develop city codes and disaster plans. We do what we can to survive this battle with the very creation we were supposed to subdue. But we often lose, and now, in our modern times, we know creation is also losing, groaning for our redemption so that it can experience its own (Romans 8:21).
Is there a savior for humanity who is so broken and cursed? Can a people who fell so far short of the divine intention ever possibly find restoration? Is there any chance we can get our crown back?
Jesus is the only answer. Hebrews speaks of him this way, "But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone" (Hebrews 2:9). We were created by God a little lower than the angelic realm, but Jesus chose to step out of eternity to become, like us, a little lower than the angels. We were created to be crowned with glory and honor, but we lost it through sin and entered into suffering and death. Jesus, though, came into suffering and death so he could defeat sin and get the crown back.
"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" (Hebrews 2:10). This is Christ's mission and means. His mission is to bring many sons to glory, and he did this through the avenue of his suffering. His pain is our gain. Since God's original plan for humanity was to live with a crown of glory, it makes sense that he would devise a means for us to be saved, brought back to glory. This salvation requires that we are unified to Jesus and the new humanity founded in him. Jesus shared in flesh and blood with us so he could alter our relationship with death. He founded our salvation. He made a way for us to regain our crown.
What does Jesus do for us now? Well, he calls us his brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2:11-12). He sanctifies us (Hebrews 2:11). He unfolds that glory which should've been ours originally for us today. We fumbled it away through sin, but now he helps us recover it through sanctification.
Humanity has a magnificent calling but yielded it over to death through sin, so Jesus became one of us to lift us up back to our rightful place with God. By Jesus' blood and sacrifice, we now have a future and hope.
What does this do to you today? It should get your head up. You were not created to be tossed to and fro by the passions of the flesh. You were not made to live in subjection to sin. You were made to subdue; creation was to exist in subjection to you. You were made to be crowned with glory and honor. Alas, it was lost because of sin, but Jesus came! He suffered so that you could get your crown back so that you could regain the glory and honor God originally intended for you. One day, if you are a believer, you will, but even now, today, through sanctification and growth with Christ, you can wear your crown. You can win victories over the flesh. You can live as he intended.
Get your head up! Realize the glorious destiny God has in store for you. Don't succumb to the lie that you are an accidental mass of cells with urges beyond your control. It isn't true. You were made, for a little while, lower than the angels, so that you might be crowned with glory and honor. That destiny, impossible by our own might, is now possible by the might of Christ and his cross. Receive it.