Looking upon You (5)
For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. Hebrews 2.8, 9
All things? Really?
When Jesus was on earth, everything obeyed His Word. Sickness, death, demons, winds, seas, wine, fig trees, dead men, fishermen, even Pilate and the rest of the crowd that put Him to death – they were simply doing what God had commanded so long ago, and what Jesus maneuvered them to do (cf. Acts 2.23). Everything was made subject to Jesus and His will. Nothing could resist His Word. He had come to assert the Creator’s rights over all created things; He reconciled the lost world to God (2 Cor. 5.19), and when He ascended to heaven, and took His seat at the right hand of God, He passed that work to His followers, by giving them His Word and Spirit, and calling on them to look to Him.
The writer of Hebrews explained that our great salvation (Heb. 2.3) involved putting “the world to come” – about which he was writing (v. 5) – under the feet of those God had chosen, visited, and saved. He turned to Psalm 8 to recall that mandate, and he applied it to those to whom he addressed his epistle (2.5-8). These readers were beginning to lose sight of their calling from God; they were slinking back – for safety’s sake – into patterns of belief and life that were more agreeable to their unsaved neighbors. The writer of Hebrews wrote to put a stop to that “drift” (v. 1), and to call them back to their task of bringing the rule of King Jesus to bear on all of life, so that righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit would be evident in and through all their relationships, roles, and responsibilities.
The writer was emphatic about this: “For in that He has put all [things] in subjection to him [to His people], He left nothing that is not put under him” (v. 8). Everything in our lives is to be brought under our subjection as we are in subjection to Jesus.
But the writer didn’t see that happening, especially not in those believers who were slipping back into spiritual infancy by failing to hold fast their testimony and do the good works that go with being saved (Heb. 6.1-19). He wrote, “now we do not yet see all things put under him [the believers]…” He was being kind by being indirect – telling the truth, but telling it slant, as Emily Dickinson recommended. He could just as well have said, “Look at yourselves. You’re not living as witnesses for Christ. You’ve stopped working to bring His rule to bear in every area of your lives. I can see that, and if you’ll just look around, you can see it, too. You’re failing in your calling and mission from God!”
“But now,” he said more gently, “we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus…”
Seeing Jesus is the key to fulfilling our mission. Seeing Jesus shows us what we’re supposed to be. Seeing Jesus reminds us that everything we do has the potential to bring glory to God (1 Cor. 10.31). Seeing Jesus renews His light in us, so that we may shine His truth into our world in all our words and deeds. We may not be where we ought to be in our mission, but if we’ll see Jesus – like those Greeks in John’s gospel – then we’ll have the vision and power to continue our work of bringing all of life under His feet and for His glory.
And that means, in the first place, seeing the face of Jesus with the eye of the heart – not the physical eye, but that aperture in the soul that opens to wisdom and revelation from the Spirit, so that what the Scriptures reveal to us about Jesus may shine into our heart, mind, and conscience, floodlighting our souls with glory, and transforming us, from glory to glory, into the very image we gaze upon in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4.6; 3.12-18).
As we see Jesus, we are renewed and refreshed in His Spirit, and under His shepherding gaze, we take up anew the work He has given us to do in seeking and advancing His rule over all things. See Jesus, and you will relish every detail of your daily calling, and put all things in subjection to His radiant, pure, and holy rule.
Pray with David: “One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple” (Ps. 27.4). Let this one thing be your first desire each day, and your constant companion throughout the day (Ps. 16.8; Col. 3.1-3), and you will begin to know more of Jesus stretching out in you and reaching out through you so that His Kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven.
One thing more
We’ve been looking at the revelation of Jesus’ face to the apostle John in Revelation 1; and there is one more aspect of that glorious countenance that we need to see clearly and continuously: The Word of God is in His mouth and on His lips, coming to you with grace and truth for your daily life (Rev. 1.16; Ps. 45.2).
When you enter the Presence of the Lord to see Jesus with the eyes of your heart, you must expect Him to speak to you from His Word. Have His Word open before you as you seek Him. Listen as He points out truths sufficient for your day; as He reminds you of His constant attending grace; and as He helps you prepare to make all your life subject to Him in the day ahead. Whatever you hear from Jesus, in those times of seeking and contemplating His face, will not be contrary to His Word. What you hear will not add to or replace His Word. What you hear and receive from Him will be His Word to you, coming to illumine your soul with understanding, enliven your heart with love, and reinforce your conscience with the holy and righteous and good Law of God.
Our lives and our world may not be what they should be just yet. But if we see Jesus, if we will look to Him and gaze upon Him and listen as He speaks His Word to us day by day, we will find that the Kingdom of Jesus is taking shape within us – soul and life – and coming to expression through us in everything we do. As Nicholas of Cusa prayed, “Of Thine own best and greatest gift, my Jesus, I contemplate Thee preaching words of life, and plentifully sowing the seed divine in the hearts of them that hear Thee.”
Our world exhibits the reality the writer of Hebrews spoke about: We do not yet see all things subject to the rule of King Jesus through His Kingdom citizens and ambassadors. Not yet.
But if we can see Jesus and, as the writer of Hebrews explains twice (Heb. 3.1; 12.1-3), and consider Him carefully, we may expect that the vision of His glory will work glory in and through us, so that the knowledge of the glory of the Lord comes increasingly to light in every facet and aspect of our lives.
1. Which aspects of your life will you be working on today to make them subject to the Kingdom of Jesus?
2. Why is it important that “we see Jesus” for fulfilling our calling to the Kingdom and glory of God (1 Thess. 2.12)?
3. What can you do to keep the vision of Jesus “always before” you each day (Ps. 16.8)?
Next steps – Preparation: Rewrite Hebrews 2.5-9 as a prayer. Pray it often throughout the day. Share it with some friends.
T. M. Moore
You can also now listen, each Lord’s Day, to a weekly summary of our daily Scriptorium study, which is presently working through the book of Jeremiah. Click here for last week’s summary of Jeremiah 16 and 17.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.