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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“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."—Hebrews 2:10 (NIV)
“That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." These are the famous words of astronaut Neil Armstrong as he became the first man to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969. No matter what happens in the future, Mr. Armstrong will always be remembered as the first, the pioneer of space exploration.
In today’s verse, the writer of Hebrews tells us that Christ Jesus, the perfect, sinless Son of God, is the pioneer of our salvation. His work made it possible for us to be restored, to experience life as it was meant to be experienced. And through this, Jesus became the first of a new humanity, a new leaven in the life of mankind.
According to M.A. Smith, “Jesus is the first of a new humanity. God has been fully united with the flesh of man in Jesus, and therefore those who come to Christ are incorporated into a new race.”
How did He accomplish this? By paying the price for our sins, dying in our place, and taking our punishment, the debt of sin and death, upon His shoulders. And in that, He became “perfect through what he suffered.”
Now, please understand that this doesn’t mean Jesus was sinful before and was made holy by His sufferings. This verse isn’t saying that He wasn’t in every way perfect before enduring the cross; instead, it’s saying that Jesus’ sufferings—His carrying of our cross and dying in our place—made Him qualified to be a Savior of people. Albert Barnes put it this way: “Christ was not made ‘better,’ for He was before perfectly holy, but He was completely endowed for the work which He came to do, by His sorrows . . . He was rendered ‘complete’ or ‘fully qualified’ to be a Savior by His sorrows.”
If not for His sufferings, we wouldn’t be saved. If not for His defeat of sin and death, we would not be ushered into the newness of life, into the new humanity. If not for His sacrifice, we would still be stuck in our sins, under God’s righteous judgment and wrath. Had He simply come to earth, lived the perfect sinless life, preached the message of God’s kingdom, and then gone back to heaven, death would still reign and Jesus wouldn’t have been our Savior; we’d still be under the law. It was by His sacrifice and resurrection that He completed the work and became the pioneer. That’s someone I would follow to the ends of the earth!
DIG: Read Hebrews 2.
DISCOVER: Think about people you follow: leaders, pioneers, founders, authors. Why do you follow them? What qualities do you admire in them? How do you relate this to Jesus?
DISPLAY: Write down all the reasons you follow Jesus. Consider all the qualities and character traits of our Savior that you admire and that have made you fall in love with Him.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.