Word for the Week
Short reflections on Bible passages, with a frontline focus...
There is a place where someone has testified: ‘What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honour and put everything under their feet.’ In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
It sounds great, but it doesn’t ring true. The apparent upshot of Psalm 8 – that men and women are crowned with glory and honour, that we are given dominion over creation – simply doesn’t match our experience. At the same time as the psalm calls us to have a high-enough view of ourselves, it also provokes us to have a realistic view of ourselves.
Though formed in the image of God, our representation of his rule and authority in the world is distorted. To be sure, threads of beauty, compassion, and productiveness are woven into the fabric of our existence; but so are threads of darkness, disease, and disorder. In our more honest moments, we don’t need to go further than ourselves to be confronted with the twists and turns of the human heart. We walk tall, but fall short.
Plus, on top of everything else, death so clearly thwarts human dominion in the world, and no-one has found a way through that barrier.
Except, as the writer to the Hebrews tells us, there is one human being who has fulfilled the destiny for which we were made. Jesus, himself made lower than the angels. Because of his suffering and death on behalf of others, he has now been crowned with glory and honour, and reigns over all things, breaking even the power of the devil and death itself (Hebrews 2:14-15). We don’t yet see God’s final plan for humanity and creation completed, ‘but we do see Jesus’. The rule of Psalm 8, which so easily eludes us, has become a reality in him.
It is sometimes suggested that Jesus has completed the command to rule given to our first parents, and so it no longer applies to us today. But, if anything, his dominion over all things makes the creation mandate even more significant. As Christians, we are being remade in the image of Christ, restored under Christ’s lordship to what was lost in Adam and Eve so as to bring glory to God in all we do!
Precisely because we see Jesus crowned with glory and honour, whatever realm the Lord has placed us in – whatever family, job, school, course, church, and hobby – we can bear fruit in it, as men and women made and then remade in God’s image to represent and reflect the glory of his grace in all the earth.
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