Today’s Bible reading is Ezekiel 12 and Hebrews 2.
The record of human history is full of men and women who accomplished amazing things. We can study their past, analyze their actions, discuss their legacies, and express appreciation for the benefits we enjoy today because of the significant marks they left on the world. But we speak of them in the past tense, and rightfully so. They’ve come, impacted their era, and gone into the pages of posterity.
Scripture similarly speaks of Jesus of Nazareth in the past tense. Consider Hebrews 2 as an example and notice all of the things he accomplished.
- He “was made” lower than the angels for a little while (2:9)
- He “partook” of flesh and blood so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death (2:14)
- God “bore” witness to his Son by signs, wonders, and various miracles (2:4)
- A great salvation “was declared” by the Lord (2:3)
- He “was crowned” with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone (2:9)
Jesus of Nazareth accomplished some amazing, matchless, world-changing things. In the past.
But it’s the change of tense at the end of Hebrews 2 that I’d really encourage you to think about this week.
For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (2:18)
Yes, we can learn about and analyze and discuss the contributions of countless men and women from generations past, but we understand the limits of their impact. Legacies live on and ripple effects continue to be felt, but we don’t think of Alexander the Great, Queen Elizabeth I, George Washington, Amelia Earhart, or even the members of our own families who have passed on as “being able”–present tense–to help us on a Monday in January of 2021.
But Jesus? Jesus is different. Jesus is truly unique. Yes, he “partook” in the past. He “was” tempted. He “bore.” He “suffered.” He “was” declared and “was” crowned. But in Hebrews 2 (and throughout the New Testament), we’re being led to think of and speak of and share and align ourselves with the Jesus of the present tense. He “is” alive. He “is” seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven. He “is” able to help those who are being tempted. He always “lives” to make intercession for those who draw near to God through him.
Our Savior and King is–present tense–and that changes everything about our past, our today, and our future.