It was not under angels that he put the world to come, about which we are speaking. Someone witnesses to this somewhere with the words: What are human beings that you spare a thought for them, a child of Adam that you care for him? For a short while you have made him less than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honour, put all things under his feet. For in putting all things under him he made no exceptions. At present, it is true, we are not able to see that all things are under him, but we do see Jesus, who was for a short while made less than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because he submitted to death; so that by God’s grace his experience of death should benefit all humanity. It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should, in bringing many sons to glory, make perfect through suffering the leader of their salvation. For consecrator and consecrated are all of the same stock; that is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers in the text: I shall proclaim your name to my brothers, praise you in full assembly.
What great honour is given here to the incarnate Son of God, who was humbled among the angels for only a short time – when he was on earth. Yet he was crowned with glory and honour by God, as the text praises, because he suffered death for all of us and thus gave salvation to mankind.
The Lord wants us to share in this glory, as his brothers whom he sanctifies. This is the greatest dignity that we as human beings receive from God. It is not only the dignity of being God’s creature, which he created in his image and calls to live as his child. In Jesus it becomes even clearer: God makes himself a brother to us!
Can this still be grasped?
It is, like everything from God, a gift of his infinite love. There is no other way to explain it, and it is also the most beautiful explanation. God knows no limits, so to speak, to communicating his love to us, only those that we ourselves set for him. If only we could grasp in all our depth how much God loves us, then we would already be happy people on earth and something would enter into us permanently that would be perfected in eternity: The joy in God!
But we are not yet with the Lord in eternity, and before that we have to fulfil our task here on earth.
In the last few days, the life of St Jeanne d’Arc has been set before us – her unusual mission and her martyrdom. This martyrdom was her greatest victory. We know from her how difficult it was for her to accept the death by fire with which she crowned her devotion to God. (“I had to understand this way will set me free. A burning sacrifice is my greatest victory” Sarah music: “The revival of Jeanne”)
Even if not everyone is called to martyrdom, the greatness of the love of the saints shines out for all of us, inviting each of us to give ourselves completely to God. If we give this surrender to God as the response to his love, then we are taken by the Lord into a mission that is not yet complete: “You have crowned him with glory and honour, put all things under his feet. For in putting all things under him he made no exceptions. At present, it is true, we are not able to see that all things are under him”.
In the last sentence, the mission of every Christian is addressed: Everything is to be subjected to God’s reign of love. Only then will that order return to the whole universe which, through the fall of man and its consequences, caused the suffering on earth.
With the coming of the Lord everything can change. If he is accepted as Lord and true King and the fruits of redemption arise in man, then man will be snatched from the empire of darkness and released from the chains of Satan. Man, raised to the status of “brother of the Son of God” is sent out by this King to proclaim the goodness and love of the heavenly Father in word and deed. This is how the Kingdom of God grows.
However, we must not be deceived. True and lasting peace among people can only come about when we accept redemption and thus the Kingdom of God grows among us, or to remain in the terminology of today’s text: “to see that all things are under him”.
The “old” still unredeemed Adam is not able to bring about a world of brotherhood and peace by his own strength. This is an illusion that leads to a bitter awakening, as we have experienced all too often in history. Therefore the most urgent task remains to proclaim the Gospel and for people to follow Christ.
In the present time, however, it seems that the dark powers are becoming more and more prevalent and want to subjugate everything. We must remain very vigilant for the coming of an Antichrist who will exercise universal rule. We have large global institutions that often promote a culture of death, we know of large technical giants that increasingly exert political influence and censor those opinions that deviate from the established line, and much more that contradicts the Kingdom of God and is rather to be assigned to the “empire of the beast” (cf. Rev 16:10).
For our spiritual family we have proclaimed a “Year of the Lamb”, because it is the Lamb who, as the Apocalypse describes, opens the book of the seven seals (cf. Rev 5:1-7). It is the Lamb who wages war and overcomes the “empire of the beast”: “and they will go to war against the Lamb; but because the Lamb is Lord of lords and King of kings, he will defeat them, he and his followers, the called, the chosen, the trustworthy.” (Rev 17:14)
And it is the Lamb we want to follow wherever he leads us (cf. Rev 14:4).
It is precisely in this increasing darkness with its apocalyptic character that we do not want to be frightened and instead consciously fight against a “empire of the beast”. This can only happen in the army of the Lamb and in cooperation in the spread of the Kingdom of God.
Come Lord Jesus, Maranatha!