Hebrews 2:10-18: The God with the Scars on His Hands
September 4, 2019
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
There is indubitably no greater trial for most mortals than the trial of suffering. By its very nature, suffering not only causes us physical (or mental or emotional) pain, but it also seems to raise profound philosophical and theological questions at the same time. Why am I suffering as I do? Have I done something wrong? Is this my fault? The frequent companion to suffering, then, is guilt, or at least shame. When we add to that – as many Christians in their own experience are wont to do – a questioning about the goodness of the God they worship when they suffer even as they serve him – well, then, it can all appear simply too much. You wake up again and say to yourself again, “I cannot do this.” You feel as if you simply cannot keep on going. The pain. The anguish. The terror. The unbidden doubts that pollute even your prayers.
Easy answers (“God’s got this,” “no pain no gain”) are only slightly better than easy solutions (“Just believe,” “pray more”). What is the remedy to the trauma of suffering?
For the Christian, there can only be one answer to that question, and that answer is exposited in the verses we are looking at today. Look at verse 10 and then compare it to verse 18:
Verse 10: “In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.”
Verse 18: “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
The author of Hebrews is teaching us that because Jesus suffered, he is uniquely qualified to not only give us power (for he is God) but also help (for he suffered as we do). He understands. He does not simply fix it. He knows what it is like and is able to bring us through the greatest grief, the sorest trial, and the darkest night. Why? He died and rose again and suffered to bring us salvation.
Many of the profoundest Christian thinkers have dwelt long and hard on the reality of suffering in this world – and realized that it is there that the Christian message has a unique message to our embittered and anguished world. While the Buddha sits enthroned with a peaceful expression on his face, the Christ is crucified. While Allah is distant and untouched by our pain, the Christ weeps and bleeds. We worship the God with the scars on his hands.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
To receive God Centered Life devotionals directly in your inbox, as well as other resources, enter your email address in the form at the bottom of this page and click "subscribe."