“WE . . . SEE HIM WHO HAS BEEN MADE FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS, NAMELY, JESUS, BECAUSE OF THE SUFFERING OF DEATH CROWNED WITH GLORY AND HONOR, THAT BY THE GRACE OF GOD HE MIGHT TASTE DEATH FOR EVERYONE” (HEB. 2:9).
In serving as our substitute, Christ humbled Himself supremely.
Jesus’ death on the cross was not easy or costless—it was a horrific death. It was not calm and peaceful; it was accompanied by outward torture and inward agony. The death He tasted was the curse of sin. In a few hours on that cross, He suffered the total agony of every soul for all eternity. He was guilty of no sin, yet He chose to suffer the weight of all sins committed for all time.
God sent His Son, and His Son willingly came to die to redeem mankind. Paul writes, “When the fulness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law” (Gal. 4:4-5).
Only by tasting death as a man could He free mankind from death. Historically, kings have had someone taste their food and drink before they consumed it. Christ drained to the dregs the cup of poison rightfully meant for us before it could ever touch our lips. He substituted His death for ours, releasing us from the deadness of sin to life with God.
What moved Jesus to suffer for us? Grace. What we did not deserve (salvation) we received, and what we did deserve (death) we did not receive. Unbounded love prompted Christ’s gracious work on our behalf: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
After He accomplished the work of His substitutionary death, He was “crowned with glory and honor” and exalted to the right hand of the Father, where He will reign forever and ever. He is our great Substitute, whom we can thank and praise throughout all eternity.
Suggestion for Prayer
Ask God to give you opportunities to communicate the gospel to new people, even if you might suffer in the process.
For Further Study
Read Isaiah 52:13—53:12 to understand what the God of the universe had to endure at the hands of men.
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993.