Chosen to Bring Justice
God’s Blessing on Israel
But now hear, O Jacob my servant,
Israel whom I have chosen!
Thus says the Lord who made you,
who formed you in the womb and will help you:
Do not fear, O Jacob my servant,
Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my spirit upon your descendants,
and my blessing on your offspring.
They shall spring up like a green tamarisk,
like willows by flowing streams.
This one will say, “I am the Lord’s,”
another will be called by the name of Jacob,
yet another will write on the hand, “The Lord’s,”
and adopt the name of Israel.
Warning to Pay Attention
Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the message declared through angels was valid, and every transgression or disobedience received a just penalty, how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? It was declared at first through the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him, while God added his testimony by signs and wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, distributed according to his will.
Exaltation through Abasement1
Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels. But someone has testified somewhere,
“What are human beings that you are mindful of them,
or mortals, that you care for them?
You have made them for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned them with glory and honor,
subjecting all things under their feet.”
Now in subjecting all things to them, God left nothing outside their control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them, but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
One of my favorite television shows over the last decade has been Leverage, a show which was a modern day take on Robin Hood with elements of Mission Impossible (Condolences extended to the family of Martin Landau), one of the stars of the original Mission Impossible television series – a great show of that time period). Unlike the superhero movies which have grown in popularity since the Marvel Universe took off just prior to 2010 (Iron Man, Captain America, and Avengers) the team of “heroes” on Leverage do not have superpowers. Well, that is not entirely true… they have super skills, sometimes impossibly good skills in computer hacking, acrobatics, martial arts, and cooking. They represent a buffet of the height of human potential that always threatens to veer off that pinnacle and crash upon the rocks of self-interest and villainy. Essentially, they constantly struggle with the cross of being “good at” something and being “good for” something, as they seek to use their abilities to right wrongs and bring justice to those who have escaped or been denied it.
All of these shows have reflected and inspired our culture with the idea that one person can make a difference and that a team of people can make a real difference in the world, and furthermore, that you and I should be out forming teams to make a difference in the world. In comparison with the popular law enforcement shows of the 90’s and early 2000’s, this new brand focuses on you and I taking over when the official instruments of justice fall short. Pulling back out of the television, we also have seen a rise of publicized protesting and violent attacks – some in the name of justice and others due to a variety of other factors. There is backlash again as supporters of law enforcement counteract these cultural forces in a vast cultural discussion across the nation about justice and our role in it as citizens, written not with ink or type, but with blood on the streets. Going further, if we are to be honest, this whole discussion would probably take place with real words instead of guns were it not for the heavy influence of drugs and money – and the interconnectedness between them – that has permeated our society. In a very real sense, I fear many are fighting in the name of justice, but have crashed upon the rocks of self-interest, having been pushed off their pinnacles by drugs and money, the real villains of this story.
Scripture reminds us, and Hebrews in particular, that we all, as God’s children, are given a special privileged place in the world, along with responsibilities that go with it. God places us above the angels themselves in value, even if we do not have the supernatural power given to them. If we choose just a few verses of scripture, we can make a case that God created us to be super-powered instruments of justice, out to set the world right. But if we read more thoroughly, God expands that thought and shows us how in a way that may surprise us.
The ultimate example of a superhero is not Batman or even Superman, but Jesus Christ. Yes, I know that sounds like a Sunday School answer, but here is why. It is not because Jesus is more powerful than any of them. It is not even because Jesus is without sin and they all have faults and failures. It is because, while they all embody power of some kind, Jesus Christ embodies – meaning he shows it all His very being – humility. Humility and Justice do not sound like good friends, but in fact, there has never been a better marriage than between the two. Looking at race riots in our nation, whose legacy lives on stronger: the Klan, the Black Panthers, or Martin Luther King, Jr.’s? The battles continue, yes, but only one of these groups has streets and buildings created in honor of them, and it was not because of power, but because of following the model of humility. Internationally, dictators vie for power to win the hearts of their people through fear, but one woman, Mother Theresa won the hearts of the world, Catholic, Protestant, and non-Christian alike… through humility.
Our challenge today, while the world charges us to fight for power, the many of those in power got there and fight to stay there, is to watch the example of Jesus in the scriptures and in our lives, and find ways to use humility to bring the much needed justice to our world.
How do you experience the humility of Jesus?
Where do you see the need for justice?
How can you reflect the humility of Jesus in your own life to make a difference in those lives that need justice?
- (Cp Ps 8:1–9) ↩