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God, the universe and all that: Part 5

From the Sola Panel

This is the fifth instalment of a five-part series (Read parts 1, 2, 3 and 4)

We’ve been looking at Psalm 8 and Hebrews 2, and have discovered that Jesus provides the solution to the puzzle of Psalm 8.

Where do we see Jesus? We see him in the Gospels, those records and witnesses to Jesus’ life, death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. The Gospels form the first four books of our New Testaments. And as we look at this man Jesus Christ in those Gospels, we see something very significant: we actually see (if we look at this testimony closely) that God himself became human: Jesus, the Son of God.

This is the reason that we are important to God. It’s because God actually became one of us. God, the creator and designer—the one who is far above and beyond even the 70 sextillion stars—the one whose hands hold the universe—the one for whom and by whom this same universe exists—became human. He became one of us—one of the specks of dust—one of the small, pitiful creatures. He became a baby and grew. And he did it “because of the suffering of death” (Heb 2:9b).

Just as our very existence and value in this universe is a real problem, so too is the fact that suffering and death is also a problem. The Bible doesn’t give us final and neat reasons for suffering and death—especially when it comes to individual cases. But it does tell us that suffering and death are all finally bound up with our rejection of God himself. The fact that we have abandoned our responsibility and ceased to live as God desires means that we are subject to death.

Death is not the way the world should be. It’s wrong. You will know this if you have ever experienced the death of a loved one, relative or friend, as well as thought about your own impending death. But the Bible says that death is all bound up with this terrible reality—the reality that we, as individuals and as a race, have taken our importance for granted and have used it to pretend that we are God, choosing to define our own lives. Death is, in the end, God’s judgement against our rejection of him—our abandonment of who we are, our ignoring of him and our playing God ourselves. Death now; death forever.

But what has Jesus done about death? Again, take a look at the same verse: “so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (Heb 2:9c). God’s Son became one of us because of God’s grace—his lavish, undeserved love for us. The reason you matter to the God who made the countless stars and supernovas is not because you’re big or good or important to the running of the universe; it’s simply because he decided to love you. And he showed his love in an incredible way: Jesus, in becoming one of us, tasted death for us. Although he was God himself, the perfect human being, he also suffered. He died. He died, in fact, an agonizing death on a Roman cross. And he did it for us, in our place.

What does that mean for us? “For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Heb 2:10). Jesus died to bring us back to God. Because Jesus has suffered the consequences of God’s judgement, we don’t need to face God’s final judgement against us. Because Jesus died, he has made us ‘sons’, which means heirs—children of God. Those who trust Jesus—those who belong to Jesus—will have ‘salvation’, which means escape from God’s judgement—escape, in the end, from death itself.

Jesus died to bring us to glory—to finally ‘crown us with glory and honour’, as the song goes (Ps 8:5). This means everlasting life in a new creation that God will make—a place where there is no suffering or death, where there is no judgement from him, where we live rightly as God’s children and where we will know him finally and perfectly.

Jesus, who has suffered and been made perfect, has risen from the dead and is now alive. He himself is crowned with glory and honour. One day those who trust in him and know him will see him as he is.

What is your response to this? Do you know Jesus? Do you trust Jesus? Do you believe that the riddle of our existence is actually found, not in yourself, but in him?

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