9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
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. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.[g] 12 He says,
“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the assembly I will sing your praises.”[h]
13 And again,
“I will put my trust in him.”[i]
And again he says,
“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”[j]
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them,[k] fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
If every family is not really or actually a family, then not every group of believers is really a ___________ _____ _______________.
Become a real family of believers.
How Jesus feels about us
How we feel toward each other
What we can say to make it happen
Verse 11 “Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.”
Jesus wants to _____________ with you.
Verse 14 “he shared in their humanity … to break the power of death … and free those … held in the fear of death.”
We _____________ people into the group.
Verse 18 “he[Jesus] is able to help those being tempted.”
You got to say here is what is going on in my life. What is God trying to tell me.
You gotta say, here is what I read in the word. What is God trying to say to me?
Ask someone for help with your ________. That’s how you become more of a family.
Some creatures can reproduce asexually – worms and such. Every human being has to be part of a family. Humans bare minimum have a mother and father. There is at least a family by blood.
Similarly, Christians don’t reproduce all by themselves. Everyone has a spiritual father or mother or siblings. There is a spiritual family. That comes from a real physical connection. That comes from Word and Sacrament. That’s just a fact.
Some of you have lived in families that aren’t really families. Even though you are related by blood, the families have been broken. Abuse is probably the worst. Neglect. Absenteeism. If you describe your family life, you would say, we’re not really a family. I fully recognize that not every family actually is a family.
Here is the push today.
The same is true of a group of believers. Not every group of believers is genuine group of believers, a spiritual family.
There can be spiritual abuse. Neglect. Absenteeism. We’re not really a family.
You can’t expect family dynamics in a congregation. People will frequently say, “we’re a family of believers”. That’s true. What they mean is, we share a physical connection by baptism and the Word of God. We also share a nonphysical bond. Large group dynamics will never be the same as family dynamics. You can’t expect the same intimacy. You can’t expect the same transparency. If you do, you’re setting us all up for disappointment.
Let's push on that. Not every group of believers is really a family. Immorality can hurt a group of people. Take the biblical example of Jacob who married both Leah and Rachel. 2 wives and 2 concubines made for a tough life. After Leah had her first kid she said, “Surely my husband will love me now.” Wow, that is a lot of pain. The poor woman. About money there is the reminder that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. These things easily hurt or damage the physical connection a group of believers has. Baptism and the Word start to mean different things when immorality and greed are commonplace in a group of people.
Most of us, we can’t do a whole lot about the physical things that challenge a group of believers. You can’t do much about someone else’s moral choices. You can’t do much about someone’s financial choices. You can make a huge difference to a group of believers when you focus on the nonphysical connection.
The writer to the Hebrews here today, he challenges us and he says, if you’re good at dealing with immorality or greed in a group of believers, what you’re really saying is all we have to do is protect the physical connection and we’ll be just fine. We’ll really be a family of believers. What he says is, you need to be good at dealing with the deeper, spiritual connection. That’s the way to be a real family of believers. That’s his invitation
Let’s become more of a real family of believers. Let’s deal with this deeper spiritual connection and become more of a family. And he has this great progression for us that helps us become more of a family. First, how Jesus feels about us, then how we can feel toward one another, and lastly, what we can say both to him and each other. Those three things, how Jesus feels about, how we can feel toward each other and lastly, what we can say to make this happen.
First, how Jesus feels about us. He says it pretty plainly. “Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.” (Verse 11) Wow. Incredible, isn’t it? Jesus isn’t ashamed to call us brothers and sisters.
One part of the Bible that everyone skips over quickly is the genealogies. Literally. I actually tell people when they start reading the Bible to skip the book of Numbers except for the first 10 chapters or so. It will kill your happiness. I’m sorry. Save that until you’ve read the Bible 5 times or so. Same with huge chunks of 1 Chronicles.
But there is one genealogy you need to know something of. Here is the genealogy of Jesus.
Do you know any of these names? Do you know these people?
Rahab – prostitute from Jericho
Solomon - polygamist son of David
Ruth – widow foreigner, eager to remarry
Tamar - incest
David – murder, adulterer
These are the people Jesus is not ashamed of. These and many more. I know there are many times where I have either jokingly or seriously said, “Them? I don’t know them.” Jesus says, “they’re my brothers and sisters.”
What’s he doing? He is identifying with us. If someone loses a key for the church, we might make them feel badly. Maybe badly enough that they don’t want to be around anymore. Jesus says, I gave up my key to heaven for you. Threw it down into hell. We might say something that makes someone feel badly about how they clean, so badly they don’t want to clean again. Jesus says, I came into the mess of life. I am okay with rolling around the muck of life with you.
And by doing this, what he has done. He has shifted our attention from all the stuff we thought was hurting our physical connection. What hurts he says is shame. What helps you, he says, is me identifying with you.
We think immorality, greed hurt our physical connections. They do. They cause problems without a doubt. We hurt our spiritual bond just as much when we’re ashamed of someone who cleaned the church.
What he feels about us, what he feels about you, can totally change how you feel about yourself. It doesn’t matter how bad you think you are. Jesus wants to be with you. He wants to connect with you. He wants to identify with you. He feels so strongly for you. That’s how he feels for you.
How should we feel for each other.
In verse 14, the writer says, “he shared in their humanity … to break the power of death … and free those … held in the fear of death.”
What he is saying, he is saying that people live in fear of death. You and I, we live in the fear of death.
I think most of us would say, no I don’t. It’s been a while since I’ve thought of death and been afraid for myself. I do a lot of funerals. I often think of death. I realize my life is short. I’m afraid of the insignificance of my own life. But I’m not usually afraid of death.
If I had to admit, I would say that I am afraid of the death of other people. I think about the loss of my parents and what it would be like without them. My family. Some of my friends.
So you know what does dominate my thinking? The fear of the loss of connection. That’s shame. Shame is the fear of the loss of connection. This is incredibly corrosive to our lives.
The German psychologist Sigmund Freud actually has a comment here that helps us. He points out that the fear of death dominates our consciousness. On the one hand, he said, we have a death wish – feelings of guilt, shame, not living up to what we ought to; on the other hand there is an enormous fear of death, it seems like the end of everything; the unknown. Our response is to repress the whole conflict. We hate to think about it.
If you come home at the end of the day and someone says, And so instead of incorporating people into our lives by telling them what is going on, we leave people out. We experience guilt, shame, and judgment and fear death. We hate it all. We repress it. We push it down. We step by step separate ourselves from other people instead of letting them in.
What Jesus does then is incorporation. I’m going to take away the fear of death and death itself and bring you in.
Jesus defeats death. He puts death to death. And not only that he raises life to life.
What he is giving you is a family where there is no shame and guilt. You’re forgiven really and truly, so there is no death wish. Plus there is no death itself. Life lives. So there is no fear of the loss of connection.
Believers in Jesus will live forever. You can stop repressing and hiding all the stuff you’re thinking about. This is a good place to talk about it. There is no shame. Come be part of this family.
His resurrection naturally brings people. It says all that fear that drives doesn’t need to anymore.
We got to see a pretty unique example of all this in the last few weeks, but it took three people to pull it off which shows us just how special what Jesus does actually is.
As a country we have experienced the trial of Amber Guyger who shot Botham Jean. That was pretty awful.
What Amber is experiencing now is shame. She was afraid that she would lose her position as a police officer, as a family member, and as a part of society,
Everyone noticed when Brandt Jean forgave Amber. He was giving his testimony. He said this. He said, “I forgive you, and I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you.” It was an incredibly powerful moment. Great compassion. People have praised him to no end for what he said.
A few people noticed what his mom said. Allison Jean who lost her son, watched Brandt forgive Amber. She hugged her. She also said, “Forgiveness for us as Christians is a healing for us, but as my husband said, there are consequences. It does not mean that everything else we have suffered has to go unnoticed,”https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/october-web-only/botham-jean-forgiveness-amber-guyger.html
She is right. The sorrow, the guilt it’s incredible.
Who is paying those consequences? She is. Allison is. Amber is. Brandt is. And the country is. We’re all slowly taking away Amber’s shame. Brandt got to hug her. We take away the shame.
What Jesus does, he is all three roles. Jesus is all the Jeans. Jesus has done what it took Brandt and Allison and Botham to do. Jesus made himself the sacrifice. He gets to incorporate you into a family where there is no fear of death because he died himself.
The way we should feel about others is no shame. Incorporate them. Bring them in.
We incorporate people into the group.
What we can say
So what do we say to make this all a reality.
The last verse of our lesson says, “he[Jesus] is able to help those being tempted.” Verse 18
Sometimes you get help you don’t want. It’s called unwelcome or unsolicited advice. How many of you are good at taking help that you didn’t ask for? (Show of hands)
Most of the time help goes better if you as for it. It just does.
If you want to be a family, a real family, you got to ask for help.
You got to say here is what is going on in my life. What is God trying to tell me. You gotta say, here is what I read in the word. What is God trying to say to me?
Here is what I want you to do this week along with all the other homework I give ya.
Take one of those two questions and ask someone else.
Ask someone for help with your heart. That’s how you become more of a family. You ask someone for help with your heart.