For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same…
He "took" — he did not inherit, or receive — a body. It is not the language that describes the ordinary birth of a common man. How strange it would sound if we were to speak of our children as if they had a thought or volition respecting their nature, and as if they were pleased to take on them such and such a body, when they were born! It describes voluntary action. It was an act contemplated beforehand. It implies not only pre-existence, but power, dignity, and condescension. But the language clearly indicates a choice of one raised higher than all merely created beings. "He took not on Him the nature of angels, but He took on Him the seed of Abraham." That is, He is more than man. He is more than angel. He refused, when turning in His mind the course He should pursue, to take on Him the nature of angels, but concluded, for a good and sufficient reason, to assume even a lower place, and become a man. Is He less than God, that is more than man and more than angel? Did He create, and does He sustain, the world in which we dwell? The first chapter of John's Gospel unequivocally declares that fact. It is also unequivocally declared in the Hebrews. The practical result, then, of this exposition is this: Christ is presented to us as the comprehensible form of God. He is God translated. They that worship God as a mere spirit worship under the most difficult circumstances in which it is possible for the human mind to worship. It is the Scriptural remedy to worship the Father through Christ. And they that worship Christ as very God are enabled to worship under circumstances which make it very easy. For Christ is God present to us in such a way that our senses, our reason, and our affections, are able to take a personal hold upon Him. It is just the difference between a God afar off and a God near at hand; between a God that the heart can reach, and by its common sympathies understand and interpret, and a God which only the bead and imagination can at all reach or descry — and even these only as astronomers' glasses descry nebulous worlds at so vast a distance that the highest powers cannot resolve them, or make them less than mere luminous mist. Why, then, did Christ come into the world, and take the form of man? Because men were His children, because He loved them, and because the way to take hold of them was to bring Himself down into their condition, so that they should be able to see Him and feel Him, and that by the power of sympathy God might have access to every human soul. That is the reason of the incarnation of Christ. He did the same as we do, in faint analogies. A Moravian missionary once went to the West Indies to preach to the slaves, lie found it in possible for him to carry out his design so long as he bore to them the relation of a mere missionary. They were driven into the field very early in the morning, and returned late at night, with scarcely strength to roll themselves into their cabins, and in no condition to be profited by instruction. They were savage towards all of the race and rank of their masters. He determined to reach the slaves by becoming himself a slave. He was sold, that he might have the privilege of working by their side, and preaching to them as he worked with them. Do you suppose the master or the pastor could have touched the hearts of those miserable slaves as did that man who placed himself in their condition? This missionary was but following the example of the Lord Jesus Christ, who took on Him the nature of men, and came among them, and lived as they lived, that He might save them from their sins. Do any think that this view of God is degrading? If your God were Jupiter, it would be; but if He is the Father of the universe, it is ennobling and full of grandeur. The grandest deeds in his world are the loving condescensions of great natures to the help of weak ones. No crown so becomes a king as the service of low and suffering natures by these that are high and happy.
1. In view of this, I remark that, as it is by the personal power of the Lord Jesus Christ, upon the hearts of His children, that He works all goodness in them, so all attempts to live a religious life which leave out this living, personal, present sympathy of the Christ-heart with our human heart, will be relatively imperfect. Men's lives will be imperfect enough, at any rate; but when they neglect this vital inspiration, it seems scarcely possible to live at all with religious comfort. Our religious joy never springs from the conception of what we are, but of what God is. No man's life, attainments, purposes, or virtues can yield him full peace. It is the conviction that we are loved of God, personally by name and nature, with a full Divine insight of our real weakness, wickedness, and inferiority that brings peace. Nor will this become settled and immovable until men know and feel that God loves them from a nature in Himself, from a Divine tendency to love the poor and sinful, that He may rescue and heal them. God is called a sun. His heart, always warm, brings summer to the most barren places. He is inexhaustible in goodness, and His patience beyond all human conception.
2. All those views of God which lead you to go to Him for help and strength are presumptively true views, and all those views of God which tend to repress and drive you away from Him are presumptively false views. Any view which presents God as a being whose justice shall make sinners, who wish to return to Him, unable to do so, is a false View. If we have done wrong, in Him is the remedy. He is the Sun that shows us, when we are in darkness, where to go; He is the bright and morning Star that makes our dawn and twilight come to us; He is our Way; He is our Staff; He is our Shepherd; he is our sceptred King, to defend us, from our adversaries: He is all in all, to all!
3. Those states of mind, then, in us, which bring us nearest to God, and which bring us to Him most confidingly, are such as honour Him most and please Him most. There are a great many who wish they could please God, and would give anything if they could only be prepared to please Him. Most will you please Him when you confide in Him! If earthly parents can lift themselves up into feelings of holy sympathy for a repentant child, what must be the feelings of God when His children come to Him for help to break away from sin, and to lead lives of rectitude? Read the fifteenth chapter of Luke, and find out what God's feelings are; and then say, "I will arise and go to my Father."
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
WEB: Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself in the same way partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,