God’s Children

The first reading for today is taken from the Letter to the Hebrews, chapter 2 that begins an exhortation to remain firm in the faith and not simply drift away. The exhortation is rooted in Hebrews 1 which argued that since the Son is superior to the angels, the message of salvation he brought is even more to be obeyed than the law of Moses, which came through angels.  Here in Chapter 2, the argument takes a new angle to argue that Christ is superior to the angels. Previously it was argued that Christ was superior as the Son of God; here he is superior because he is a human being.

What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor, subjecting all things under his feet.” (Heb 2:6-8) (Ps 8:5-7 reference)

Two features of his interpretation are important. First, he understands the passage as referring not to humanity in general but to Jesus the man. And second, he reverses the meaning of the original psalm, which had said that God created human beings “a little lower than the angels.” For Hebrews, Jesus the man is superior to the angels but was made “for a little while lower” than them in that he suffered death (v. 9). In this the text declares the true humanity of Jesus, a humanity shared with all human beings, who in v.10 are called God’s “children.” In order that Jesus’ death might be for all a liberation from slavery to the power of death (vv. 14–15) as Jesus shared their human nature fully.

I mention this as a simple reminder that while the gospel focuses on the divine nature of Jesus as He opposes the unclean spirit, evidence of evil in the world, the first reading reminds us that because it is also because of his humanity, our humanity, that He is Savior.

God is ever mindful of us. Because of Christ we are, for a time, a little lower than angels, but the glory and honor of Christ awaits us.

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