“For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Heb. 2:5-10).
William Shakespeare wrote concerning man, “What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! In action, how like an angel!”
William Gladstone said, “Man himself is the crowning wonder of creation; the study of his nature the noblest study the world affords.”
Carlyle would agree. “He is of the earth, but his thoughts are with the stars. Mean and petty his wants and desires, yet they serve a soul exalted with grand, glorious aims – with immortal longings, with thoughts which sweep the heavens, and wander through eternity. A pigmy standing on the outward crest of this small planet, his far-reaching spirit stretches outward to the infinite, and there alone finds rest.”
In Hebrews 2, God sets before us three pictures of man. In verse seven there is the picture of man at creation. The Bible teaches that as man is now constituted, he is not the highest of all creation. He was not created first, nor was he created as the angels.
The word angel means messenger. The Bible teaches that angels are a higher creation than man. The angels are more intelligent, they do not reproduce, they move with the speed of thought, and they behold the throne room of God.
The Bible also teaches us that angels are divided among themselves. On one side are the Elect angels who are holy and pure, and on the other side are the fallen angels. The leaders of the Elect angels include Michael and Gabriel, while Lucifer alone reigns over the Fallen Angels we know as demons.
We do not know all the details, and the Scriptures do not present an exact view of what happened but many conservative Bible teachers believe that prior to the creation of man, or at least soon after his creation, Lucifer led an angelic revolt against God. Lucifer wanted to be like God, and persuaded at least a third of the multitude of angelic host to be partners in crime.
When he was disciplined, and sentenced to an eternity in hell, Lucifer tried to get man to join in his rebellion. Man would have been a worthy ally, for in his original state, though he was lower than the angels in many respects, he was still crowned with glory and honor.
The glory and honor of man is manifested in Adam. Consider the following.
His great intelligence. Endowed with wisdom and a vocabulary, Adam was commanded to name all of the animals. This is not an easy task, but I believe Adam did it.
His creativity. The Bible says, if you read the text carefully, that Adam was created outside the Garden of Eden so that he could be brought into the Garden and instructed to cultivate it. Adam was the first horticulturist and landscaper as he made a beautiful place for himself and his wife, and his God to fellowship together in.
May I suggest that what Adam did all God’s children should strive to do. Let us use the intelligence. Let us use the resources. Let us use the creativity that God has endowed us with to create and cultivate a beautiful place of fellowship and worship. Let the place where God and man meet be a Garden of Eden. It can happen, but it requires hard work but then man was made for work. Quite frankly, the Biblical account of creation exalts man, and honors him better than the heathen doctrine of spontaneous generation. The ancient Greek and Roman philosophers argued that the earth “was pregnant with the germs of all living organisms, which were quickened into life under favorable circumstances.”
No one ever observed spontaneous generation, but blind belief reached out in faith to embrace a philosophy of life which could exclude God. The centuries continued, and the foolishness of man was passed on to each godless generation until the year 1859. In that year an Englishman by the name of Charles Darwin amazed the scientific community by publishing a book suggesting that one species formed into another species through an evolutionary process he called natural selection. The evil genius of Darwin was not in the theory of evolution itself, but in how the theory of evolution could best be worked out. Darwin taught that only the fittest survived and passed on the strongest characteristics.
Charles Hodge, a contemporary of Charles Darwin, wrote in his systematic theology that, “it shocks the common sense of unsophisticated men to be told that the whale and the hummingbird, man and the mosquito are derived from the same source. Not that the whale was developed out of the hummingbird or the man out of the mosquito, but that both are derived by a slow process of variations continued through millions of years. Such is the theory with the scientific feathers plucked off.”
When Darwin lived the ungodly scientist who embraced his theories of natural selection believed that the final record would prove evolution correct by showing a gradual transition from one species to another. Unfortunately, some good scientists who were Christians, got caught up in the excitement of the day and came up with Theistic Evolution. Stick with the Bible! Over a hundred years have passed. Men have dug all over planet Earth, and today the fossil record is complete. And the fossil record says, “NO!” to evolution. There are no transitional forms, but rather distinct gaps between species just as the Bible predicts.
Man, made in the image of God, crowned with honor and glory, is how the Bible pictures man in his original state, and there is no compelling reason to believe otherwise.
But then the Bible tells us what happened to honorable man. He was to have dominion over all things. “But now we see not yet all things put under him” (verse 8) and we ask why? What happened?
The Bible explains. Man rebelled against his Creator. Consciously, deliberately, with eyes wide open, Adam disobeyed God. His inner motive is uncertain. Perhaps he was afraid of being separated from Eve, for the Bible teaches us that she sinned because she was deceived. Adam was not deceived. By a free act of his will, Adam disobeyed God. Immediately, both Adam and Eve knew they had committed sin for their inner eyes were opened and they were ashamed.
That evening when the Lord Jesus came, as was His custom, to fellowship with Adam and Eve, the Bible says they ran away and they hid from God. They hid in fear. They crowded together in shame. Like little children, honorable man and noble woman huddled close to the earth from which they came. “Oh! How have the mighty fallen.”
We should not be too hard on Adam and Eve for if the truth were fully told you and I would have made the same choice. In fact countless millions are making the decision of Adam and Eve day by day, year after year.
God has set up His commandments. Read them with me (Exodus 20: 3-17). As God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the forbidden fruit, God is telling man today to keep His moral law. Like Adam, man violates the known will of God for man is a fallen creature. Depraved in his nature, man is just unable to control himself, let alone creation. The Scriptural view of man is accurate. “We see not yet all things put under him.”
Before anyone despairs let the Scriptures be searched again. If there is excitement and joy in finding man made in the image of God, if there is sorrow and shame in having that wonderful image debased, let the good news of the gospel go forth to the ends of the earth, “God still redeems sinful men.” There is hope for mankind but, “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. (Read verses 9-10).
Behold, the third picture of man as you behold the man Christ Jesus. Here we must be careful, for with the passing of time the gospel has been perverted. Leighton Ford comments, “To the early Christians, that God could forgive was the amazing thing. Can it be that we need again to see the God who is ‘high and lifted up’ before whom the angels, covering their faces cry, ‘Holy, holy, holy!’
A new gospel can now be heard throughout the land declaring that all men are already redeemed. People are being told that through self esteem inbred sin is conquered. Individuals have the answer to all life’s problems within them for the spark of Divinity still burns. So, people are told.
Jesus said, “You must be born again.” The author of Hebrews said, “But we see Jesus.”
I desperately want you to see Jesus. I want to see Him myself. The way we see Jesus is with the eye of faith as we behold Him revealed in sacred Scriptures.
See Jesus then as the God-man, deity wrapped up in humility.
See Jesus as sinless man, perfect teacher, loving Person.
See Him as the Lamb of God sacrificed for your sins.
See Him as King of all kings and Sovereign over death and the grave. All He is, all He has done you can share in.
Created man: Man as God has made him.
Fallen man: Man as sin has marred him.
Redeemed man: Man as Christ can mend him.
These are the three biblical views of man.
An important question arises.
“How do you see yourself?”
For a person to see himself merely as the crowning act of creation is too limited and too prideful.
For a person to look only upon themselves with contempt or failures is unhealthy. God would have you be realistic but better – redeemed.
Behold Jesus Christ. Look at Him. Love Him. Put your trust in Him. Believe that God has raised Him from the dead. If Christ has not redeemed you then He has judged you. You are condemned already. God allows you to repent. Then let the redeemed of the Lord say so.
Many years ago, a great Southern Baptist preacher wrote a sermon called, “Through the Eyes of a Thief.” As a fourteen-year-old boy I read that Sermon and have never forgotten the main point as Dr. R.G. Lee urged people to look at Jesus through the eyes of a thief.
To look at Jesus through the eyes of a Pharisee is to see Jesus as a false Messiah.
To look at Jesus through the eyes of a Scribe is to see Jesus as a violator of the Law of Moses.
To look at Jesus through the eyes of a Herodian is to see Jesus as a Lawless Revolutionist
But to see Jesus through the eyes of a dying thief on a bloody brutal cross is to see Jesus as who He claimed to be, the Savior of Souls.
“Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
2 Replies to “Seeing Jesus Through the Eyes of a Dying Thief”
I love this message.
FANTASTIC SERMON PRESENTATION….. BROTHER STANFORD, JUST SO YOU KNOW, I AM GOING TO USE SOME OF THIS!!!