Lent Devotion for March 17
"Jesus Humiliation and Exaltation"
Reader: “For a little while you made them lower than the angels."
Response: “and crowned them with glory and honor."
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 8:5-6
4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them?
5 Yet you made them only a little lower than God
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You gave them charge of everything you made,
putting all things under their authority
SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 2:5-9
5 And furthermore, it is not angels who will control the future world we are talking about. 6 For in one place the Scriptures say,
“What are mere mortals that you should think about them,
or a son of man that you should care for him?
7 Yet for a little while you made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
8 You gave them authority over all things.”
Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority. 9 What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us, he is now “crowned with glory and honor.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
Have you ever thought about what it would be like to have been Jesus, living in a perfect heaven for all of eternity in the community of the Father and the Holy Spirit? No sin. No conflict. No hate. No misunderstanding. No jealousy. Perfect love. And then, you willingly condescended to come to earth beginning your time as a baby with all the limitations of a human life? And doing so because you loved the people and realized they were in an impossible situation? It is very hard to imagine or draw a parallel experience because we have no idea of the true glory of heaven…at this point. (That comes later!) Though having many traits of God, having been made in his image, people have willed themselves into a rebellion against God. Look at the world and the amount of hate so freely being exhibited these days. There was no hope for humans. Think about it. The Creator of the universe had to learn to walk and talk on this planet! The Hebrew reads, “yet you made them only a little lower than God.”(Elohim) (Some translations read “angels.”) Humans bear the image of God. The writer of the book of Hebrews applies these words to Jesus as the perfect man who fulfilled God’s plan for humankind. In order to do so, Jesus had to bear the humiliation and degradation of carrying the sin of the world, enduring the wrath of God toward sin. Jesus was so committed to the salvation of His people that He humbled Himself in obedience to the Father to the point of death. Having journeyed from the heights of heaven to the depths of hell, the Father therefore, “highly exalted Him and gave Him a name that is above every other name on earth. That at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father." (see Phil. 2:5-11). The love of Jesus is never more clearly displayed than in this great exchange the glories of heaven traded for the humiliation of earth, only to eventually reign in heaven as the King of kings and Lord of lords. Spend some time thinking about this exchange, words are in short supply. To God be all the glory!
MUSIC: “Glory to God in the Highest” from Messiah, by Robert Shaw
God of compassion, in Jesus Christ you did not disdain the company of sinners but welcomed them with love. Look upon us in mercy, we pray. Our sins are more than we can bear; our pasts enslave us; our misdeeds are beyond correcting. Forgive the wrongs we cannot undo; free us from the past we cannot change; heal what we can no longer fix. Grace our lives with your love and turn the tears of our past into the joys of new life with you to whom be glory and honor, majesty and dominion now and for all eternity. Amen.
–The Worship Source Book. P.564, no.12