Hovering over Hebrews 5 this morning. And a fresh sense of awe and wonder rolls over me as I realize how little I’m able to really grasp of the mysterious nature and workings of a Triune God. Not just how God is one and yet presents Himself as three, but how all three are equally God and yet willingly submit to functioning within an hierarchy. That God submits to God doesn’t really compute. Hence, cue the awe and wonder.
For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. . . . And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not exalt Himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by Him who said to Him, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You.”
(Hebrews 5:1, 4-5 ESV)
In the beginning was the Word. He was with God, what’s more, He was God. And the Word became flesh, God taking on human form in the person of Jesus the Christ. Revealed as the Son, though still the radiance of God’s glory and bearing the exact imprint of God’s nature. The fullness of God encapsulated within the body of a man.
And through the Word all things were made, nothing having been brought into existence apart from Him. He created the world. And in Him all things hold together. Even while walking this earth for 33 years He “moonlighted”, upholding the universe by His power. (John 1:1-14, Heb. 1:2-3, Col. 1:15-17)
And maybe I can kind of get that this Second Person of the Trinity is one of a tri-part, equally-divine Being if I camp on the fact that He is Eternal and He is Creator and He is Sustainer. But then consider that He is appointed? That He is assigned duties? That He operates under the direction of another? That He submits Himself to Another’s will? Well, that’s a little more than this puny brain can really process.
But I read this morning that the Son was appointed by the Father as a high priest.
Though, if anyone would be justified in exalting themselves to the highest religious role in heaven and earth it should be the Creator and Sustainer of heaven and earth, Christ did not take upon Himself the glory of becoming a high priest (NIV). Instead, He was appointed. God the Father determining the assignment for God the Son. Saying to Him, You are my Son and You will be a priest forever.
And maybe I can somehow reconcile “equally God” with “being appointed” if it’s to a highly exalted role such as eternal High Priest of the universe. But then I get thinking about the other appointments the Son has received by the will of the Father.
Appointed as Shepherd. Receiving those the Father has given Him, ensuring that they are never again lost. Not quite High Priest, but still an appointment of leadership and authority.
But also appointed to be a Servant. Come to earth not to be served but to serve–that’s a little harder to fully understand. The King of Kings the Servant of All? Nice poetic ring, perhaps, but really? How does that work?
And what’s more, He came to serve AND to give His life as a ransom for those He created. God, fully God, was also appointed to be a Sacrifice. “Behold the Lamb of God,” John would proclaim, “who takes away the sin of the world.” What?!?!
That God, or any member of God’s triune being, should take orders from any other is hard enough to grasp. Maybe made a bit easier if He’s submitting to being exalted as High Priest. Perhaps palatable as gentle Shepherd. But lowly Servant? Once-for-all Sacrifice? Unfathomable, really. Just awe and wonder.
And don’t even get me going on how He is perfected as He learned obedience through suffering (Heb. 5:8-9). He’s God! All-knowing God. What’s to learn? He is holy, holy, holy. What’s to perfect?
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent Me.” ~ Jesus
(John 6:38 ESV)
For God so loved the world.
Awe and wonder.
What amazing grace. To Him be eternal glory.