For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. – Hebrews 2:10
But why did He need perfecting? (Or for my PA Dutch friends … Why did He need perfected?) Well, as most of us armchair theologians know, this word perfect is not talking about flawless, though Jesus eternally exists without spot or wrinkle, the flawless lamb of God. It means complete.
The writer argues throughout the letter, that Jesus held the office of our Great High Priest. Before the incarnation, (OK – this might get me in trouble,) Jesus lacked one thing to effectively carry out His duties as High Priest. We face a paradox here. Jesus, eternal God, immutable–unchanging–the same yesterday, today and forever–needed something added–something changed..
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. – James 1:13
He could not be tempted. He could not identify with the weakness of our flesh. And without this key point of identification, He could not present us to God. Without this change, Jesus would always have more in common with the One on the other side of the bench.
Yes, Jesus sits on the judgment seat. But He also sits beside us as our defense attorney–our Advocate with the Father.
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; – 1 John 2:1
Jesus could not advocate for our release if He had never faced our temptation. He would find Himself on the side of the accuser, with no comprehension of what we face.
One flaw of our justice system comes from this same shortfall. Those standing beside the accused can’t identify with them and act as advocate for them from a point of superiority, rather than identification. They share more in common with the judge than with the one whom they defend.
Ok – back to Hebrews.
The Father saw this problem. (Allow me to place God in a finite light, knowing full well it falls far short of the reality and brilliance of His forethought and foreknowledge in the plan of salvation. I understand that Jesus’ crucifixion in 33 AD was the working out of a plan that predated creation. But work with me here.) He saw that man could not be changed by the law because of the incapability of flesh to keep it. The law was weak through the weakness of the flesh. (See Romans 8:3-8.)
This sacrificial system solved nothing. On the Day of Atonement, the blood of the sacrifice would cover the sins of the nation, but by Wednesday they defiled themselves again and had to wait another three hundred sixty days to once again be clean.
We needed a Savior who could identify with our weakness. So the Father took His very Word–His complete Will–His express image–and sent Him to heal us–to save us. Jesus emptied Himself–took on the weakness of our flesh and faced death as a man.
In the prior verses (Hebrews 2:9) he says Jesus “faced death for every man.” He took on
death and faced it without fear, so we can too. He faced persecution from every side. Who crucified Jesus? Was it the Jewish leadership in the guise of the temple elite? Was it the Jewish political system headed by Herod? Was it Rome, with pilot pulling the strings? Was it God Himself, turning His back on His own Son?
Jesus faced the rejection of everyone…His own received Him not…we have no king but Ceasar…Why have You forsaken me?
In all this, the immutable, eternal Son of God, became the perfected Lamb of God.
He can identify with our weakness, with our sorrow, with our pain, with our loneliness, without hurt, and,
…He is not ashamed to call them (us) brethren, – Hebrews 2:11
See you soon,