“The head that once was crowned with thorns is crowned with glory now …” So wrote the poet perhaps in meditation or reflection of the Hebrew writer’s words: “But we behold him who hath been made a little lower than the angels even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor …” (Heb. 2:9).
These words are part of that Hebrew section which affirms that God has made Jesus to be Lord of all things. This elevation of Jesus came as a result of Jesus’ abasing Himself to, for a little while, be made a little lower than angels; to, for a little while, walk upon the earth in the form of man He made.
Both the fact of Christ’s sojourn in the flesh, along with the purpose of it is often written of in wonder by New Testament writers. Paul said: “Have this mind in you, which also was in Christ Jesus, who existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself becoming obedient unto death, yea the death of the cross, wherefore God also highly exalted him …” (Phil. 2:5-9). John recorded the praise of the myriads of angels who praised Jesus as worthy to open the seven seals of the book which none other was worthy to open, which praise was thus expressed, “Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might and honor; and glory, and blessing” (Rev. 5:12). Peter’s conclusion to his mighty Pentecost sermon was, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God hath made him Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified” (Acts 2:36).
It was reason that God should crown Jesus with glory and honor because of His noble and self-denying advent to this world. The Hebrew writer tells that He suffered the death He did so that by God’s grace “he might taste of death for every man” (Heb. 2:9). Jesus said, “The son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mt. 20:28) John revealed this aspect of the Master’s life by saying, “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world” (Jn. 1:29). Isaiah wrote 700 years before Christ, “Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrow, yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:4-5).
Why? Let the Hebrew writer explain. “For it became him, for whom are all things and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Heb. 2:10). Elsewhere the Corinthian letter states, “But we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumbling block and unto Gentiles foolishness, but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:23f). In God’s wisdom the death of Christ was needful to make salvation complete.
At least two things were accomplished through Christ’s fleshly sojourn and ultimate death. “Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he also himself partook of the same; that through death he might bring to naught him that had the power of death, that is, the devil and might deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb. 2:10). Through His death Jesus went into the domain of captive spirits, unable to escape the power of death. Christ triumphed over Satan: Hades could not hold Him. Peter said, “Whom God raised up having loosed the pangs of death; because it was not possible he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:24). His triumph over death gives hope to all others that they can triumph over death through Him. “Wherefore God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11). Little wonder then that Peter said: “And in none other is there salvation, for neither is there any other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).