Hebrews provides a wonderfully rich depiction of Jesus. He is highly exalted, already enthroned as ruler over the coming new world.
And Jesus is thoroughly human. Hebrews’ pretty “earthy” description of Jesus may leave readers incredulous.
In the days of his flesh, he offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the one able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his piety, even though he was a son. He learned obedience from the things which he suffered. And having been brought to completion, he became to all those who obey him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 5:7-10).
The church in certain eras has struggled to come to grips with different aspects of Jesus’ identity. Some in the early church couldn’t reckon fully with Jesus’ divinity.
It seems that in our day, many hesitate to come to grips fully with Jesus’ humanity. Our imaginations are shaped by the familiar depictions of a serene and placid figure calmly and assuredly walking through life unaffected by events unfolding around him, head halo-encircled.
Because of that, we flinch at Hebrews’ depiction of Jesus’ humanity. It’s too threatening. Can it really be that Jesus was like us “in every way” (Heb. 2:17), and that his experience of the complexities, difficulties, and temptations of life was fully like ours (Heb. 4:15)?
It’s unfortunate that we’ve lost sight of the full humanity of Jesus because it is the basis of serious comfort and encouragement for God’s people (Heb. 4:14-5:3).
Perhaps our vision of Jesus ought not only to be threatened, but completely dismantled and rebuilt according to the Scriptures.