What Is Man?
. . . “What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You graciously care for him? You have made him for a little while lower [in status] 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.” Now in putting all things in subjection to man, He left nothing outside of his control . . . Hebrews 2:6–8
Such profound declarations regarding our identity and placement in God’s order of things! God is mindful of us, not in a relaxed and informal sort of way; He’s fully engaged, with hands-on commitment. After all, we are His handiwork, masterpieces created in His image and likeness. A class act, indeed! Crowned with glory and honor, “invested with a sovereignty little short of Divine”. [i]
Displaced by the fall.
Reinstated through the cross of Christ.
Regarding our mandate, we have some extremely big shoes to fill. We are to rule over the works of God’s hands. All things are placed in subjection under our feet. Nothing is left outside of our control. Concerning status, we are lower than angels for a little while—mind you, just a little while—until we grow into our collective spiritual skin. Then we will judge angels. After all, it wasn’t to angels that God subjected the world to come; it was to us. [ii]
An impressive bio like this makes a person want to pull those shoulders back, lift that chin, and confidently cross swords with whatever obstacle and trial dares to block their way. God said it. We believe it. End of discussion. Come what may, we’re going hard after that heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. [iii]
But at present we do not yet see all things subjected to us (vs.8)
Well now! This certainly explains certain inconsistencies, and some of those muddled thoughts and glitches we face in our faith walk. But—such a teensy-weensy word. Yet, it butts right in and disrupts the powerful flow of what God just said about us and leaves us braced for some not-too-welcome change in thought. But, in this instance, gives the impression that the pedal is to the metal while the emergency brake is still on. It cries, “Full steam ahead!” without firing up the boiler furnace. It’s noticing for the first time the Batteries Not Included on the back of a long-awaited Christmas gift you just tore into and there’s not a battery in the house. All these wonderful things God says about us—the honor and dignity that comes with sonship, the authority and dominion, the glorious victories—they are ours through Christ. Amen! So be it! But—even so, nevertheless, all the same, be that as it may—we don’t yet see them in operation.
Awkward. It's ours now . . . but not yet. Sounds like a standoff, a deadlock, an impasse.
But all is not lost. There’s another but. This particular But comes on the heels of the first but, disrupting the undermining power of that first but so that our thoughts are redirected toward the redeeming second But, which is far superior in power to the first but. This But changes everything.
But we do see Jesus. (vs.9)
Jesus was God’s redemptive plan from the foundation of the world. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. He is the game changer in every but situation. [iv]
Jesus—who in the beginning was with God and who was God, the One through whom all things were made, and who upholds, maintains, guides and propels the universe by His mighty word of power—became a baby in a manger. [v] The One worshiped by angels and a multitude of the heavenly host was, for a little while, ranked lower than the angels so He might partake in our humanness. [vi]
Jesus was no stranger to weakness and infirmity and the assaults of temptation; He shared in them all. He laughed, cried, rejoiced, groaned, and sighed. [vii] He was passionate, compassionate, was provoked to anger, moved to jealousy. [viii] He fasted and feasted, was thirsty and refreshed, felt bone-tired, sleep deprived, motivated, energized. [ix] He was betrayed and slandered. He grieved, sorrowed, agonized over lost souls, loving us to the extreme of death on the cross. Yet sinned not. [x]
Christ suffered once for all time, the just for the unjust. The Sinless One became sin so we might become the righteousness of God. He was cursed and oppressed so we can be blessed, was rejected so we can be accepted, was broken so we can be healed, was emptied so we can be filled. He died so we can live. [xi]
Through it all, He was not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. [xii]
As a reward for His suffering, God crowned Him with glory and honor, and seated Him at His right hand as supreme authority over everything in this age and the age to come—a rank far superior to that of angels. [xiii] As Captain of our salvation, He fulfilled “all that David had said (Psalm 8:1–9) of the dignity and honor of man”, and thus leads many sons into glory. [xiv]
Jesus is the redeeming But over all other buts in life. With Him, all emergency brakes are off, all boiler furnaces are at full steam. He is the Battery Included that empowers God’s sons and daughters to come full circle back to His original, glorious design for them. [xv]
So, what is man that God is mindful of us? I’ll tell you what we are—we’re recipients of the most gracious, the most extravagant Gift ever given!
Merry Christmas everyone and God bless!
[i] Hebrews 2:6–8 Pulpit Commentary [ii] 1 Corinthians 6:2–3; Hebrews 2:5 [iii] Philippians 3:14; Revelation 5:10; Daniel 7:27; 2 Timothy 2:12 [iv] Revelation 13:8; Isaiah 9:6 [v] John 1:1–3; Hebrews 1:2–3; John 1:14 [vi] Luke 2:13–14; Hebrews 2:9 [vii] Hebrews 4:15; Matthew 9:15; John 11:35; Luke 10:21; John 11:15; Mark 7:34; Mark 8:12; John 11:33 [viii]John 2:13–17; Mark 1:40–42; Joshua 24:19; Psalm 78:58 [ix] Matthew 4:1–11; John 2:1–12; Luke 7:34; John 19:28; John 4:7; John 4:6; Matthew 8:20; John 2:13–17 [x] Mark 14:18–20; Matthew 12:24; Isaiah 53:3; Matthew 27:46; Phil 2:8; Hebrews 4:15 [xi] 1 Peter 3:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Isaiah 53:7; Isaiah 53:5; 1 Corinthians 11:24; Isaiah 53:12 [xii] Hebrews 2:11 [xiii] Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:21; Philippians 2:9; Hebrews 1:4–9 [xiv] Psalm 8:1–9; Hebrews 2:9 – Barnes Notes on the Bible; Hebrews 2:10; Colossians 2:15; Ephesians 2:1–6; 1 Corinthians 15:26–27; Hebrews 4:14 [xv] Hebrews 2:10; Ephesians 4:13; Colossians 2:9–10