In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
This passage describes humanity’s present state of futility. Here is the whole story of human history in a nutshell: God created us to exercise dominion, but we do not yet see everything in subjection to us. We attempt to exercise our dominion, but we no longer can do so adequately. We have never forgotten the position God gave us. Throughout the history of the race, there is a continual restatement of the dreams of humanity for dominion over the earth and the universe. This is why we cannot keep off the highest mountain. We have got to explore the depths of the sea. We have to get out into space. Why? Because it is there.
Humans consistently manifest a remarkable racial memory, a vestigial recollection of what God told them to do. The trouble is that, when we try to accomplish this now, we create a highly explosive and dangerous situation, for our ability to exercise dominion is no longer there. Even in the individual life this is true. How many have realized the dreams and ideals you began with? Who can say, “I have done all that I wanted to do; I have been all that I wanted to be.” Paul in Romans puts it, “…the creation was subjected to futility,” (Romans 8:20 RSV).
“But, we do see Jesus,” the writer says. This is our one hope. With the eye of faith, we see Jesus already crowned and reigning over the universe, the man, Jesus, fulfilling humanity’s lost destiny. In the last book of the Bible there is a scene where John beholds the One seated upon the throne of the universe while thousands of angels are crying out in unending worship before him. The call goes out to find one who is able to open the book with seven seals which is the title deed to earth, the right to run the earth. A search is made through the length of human history for someone worthy enough to open the seals, but no one can be found. John says he wept because no one was found worthy to open the scroll. But the angel says, “Do not weep for the Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered and he can open the seals” (Revelation 5:5 RSV). When John turned to see the Lion, to his amazement he saw a Lamb, a Lamb that had been slain. As he watched the Lamb stepped up to the throne and took the book, and all heaven broke into acclaim, for here at last was found One worthy to own the title deed of earth.
This is what the writer sees here. Here we see Jesus, who alone has broken through the barrier that keeps us from our heritage. What is that barrier? What is it that keeps us from realizing our dreams of dominion? It is put in one grim word: Death! Death is more than the ending of life. Death, means uselessness; it means waste, futility. Death, in that sense, pervades all of life. You can see the signs of it all along.
But Jesus fulfilled the qualifications to realize humanity’s heritage. He became lower than the angels, he took on flesh and blood, he entered into the human race to become part of it, Here we see Jesus, who alone experienced death. “He tasted death for every man,” and in doing so he took our place. He thus made it possible for those who throw in their lot with him to find that he has removed the thing that gives death its sting. In Jesus Christ mankind has that one ray of hope, given him to realize the destiny God had provided. Christ has come to begin a new race of people. That race includes himself and all those who are his, and to that race the promise is that they shall enter into all the fullness God ever intended man to have.
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Thank you, Father, that you sent your Son to die for me, so that I could be restored and joined with you in that dominion that you created me for. Open my eyes that I might see him more clearly.
God’s loving, sovereign plan is that we as His subjects should reign in life. How has He provided for this possibility? Are we living by means of the resurrection power of our indwelling Lord Jesus Christ? If not, why not?