As I am reading through the upcoming lectionary texts for Sunday, the two passages from Hebrews stand out. They give us a unique glimpse into the mystery of the incarnation.
In Hebrews 1:1-4, we see the exaltation of Jesus. He is the divine Son through whom God pre-eminently speaks in these last days. Through him God created the worlds, and he is the rightful heir of all things. He is the perfect reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and all things are sustained by his powerful word. Since making purification for sins, he now sits in the position of penultimate authority at the right hand of God.
That’s quite a list for just a few verses! It’s also quite a thing to say about a man who lived only a generation before.
Hebrews 2:5-18 gives the other side of the incarnation coin, the humility and even humiliation of Jesus. He was for a little while made lower than the angels. He is not ashamed to call us his brothers and sisters, entering into the same life as us, being of the very same flesh and blood. He has tasted of the suffering of death for us—for everyone, in fact.
This, too is quite a list. It’s quite a thing to say about the one “through whom all things were made,” the perfect “reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being.”
The mystery of the incarnation is one of the central mysteries of our faith. It’s also one of the most significant, and one of the most immediately helpful.
We worship a God who lovingly created us and sustains us—through Jesus. We worship a God who speaks to us and guides us—through Jesus. We worship a God who purifies us from our sin—through Jesus. And this God whom we worship has become one of us—in Jesus—sharing in our flesh and blood, participating in our frailties and fears, our sufferings and sorrows, in order to bring us into the very life of God.
May this holy mystery encourage us as we walk through this week in our flesh-and-blood lives. God our Creator has become flesh and dwelt among us in Jesus of Nazareth, and the Spirit of the enfleshed and crucified and risen Jesus is with us still.