Why Christ Became Flesh

Neal Pollard

The writer of Hebrews exhorts that Christ should be faithfully served, not abandoned, because He is a superior messenger to all other heavenly messengers (chapter one). Then, he gives another reason for holding fast to Him in chapter two. His readers were apparently struggling in their faith and gradually slipping back into the religion they had left. They lacked incentive, but the epistle gives reason after reason for why it should be restored.

In chapter two, he refers to Jesus’ humanity. Through it, He perfectly fills the role of High Priest in a way no Levitical priest could do under the old law. He enumerates the reasons why Jesus became flesh, and each reason was for each of us as individuals.

  • He became flesh to taste death for every man (9). He exercised God’s grace on our behalf. He was willing to make God’s understanding of our frailties empirical (experienced by human senses) by tasting death in a human body.
  • He became flesh to render the devil powerless (14). Before the cross, where Jesus gave up His physical body in death, the devil had the power over man. All mankind sinned and there were various sin offerings provided by God in the different ages. Yet, they could not “take away” sin (10:4,11). But, when Jesus died and was raised from the dead, He rendered the devil powerless over those who faithfully obey Christ and remain faithful unto death.
  • He became flesh to deliver the enslaved (15). Knowing no hope of deliverance from the horrible state of sinfulness makes for a miserable experience (Rom. 7:25). Christ came to deliver us from the awful slave master of sin (John 8:34).
  • He became flesh to become a merciful and faithful High Priest (17).  12 times in Hebrews, Jesus is called the Christian’s High Priest–the High Priest of our confession (3:1), in Heaven (4:14), sympathetic and sinless (4:15), appointed by the Father (5:5), without predecessor or successor (5:10), who went before us (6:20), holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens (7:26), seated at the Father’s right hand (8:1), an offering priest (8:3), and offering His own blood (9:11). His service in administering His blood on our behalf is merciful (kind, forgiving, protecting) and faithful (trustworthy and sure).
  • He became flesh to come to the aid of the tempted (18). He well remembers what it is like to suffer in a human body. Not just that greatest moment of suffering, up on the tree, but the daily discomforts (Mat. 8:20), abandonment (John 6:66), and betrayal (John 18:27; Mark 14:45). Therefore, He can help me right now with my problem. Nothing is too big, too mysterious, or too difficult for Him.

Five reasons from Hebrews two are given for why Jesus became flesh, but all of them are for me (and for you)! What a thrilling though. Let’s serve this wonderful Savior!

Love The Lamb

NOTE: One of our brand new Christians (Jeff Wiant) has an extensive music background.  He has written a song, “Live Like Jesus,” that we will be learning at Bear Valley very soon (Kathy Petrillo is doing the musical note composition for his melody now).  I’m very excited for you to learn it! While the following will probably be adjusted by Jeff with his considerable knowledge of meter and music, here is the poem that will at some point become a hymn.

Neal Pollard

When Moses and the Israelites were crying and enslaved

God shared His plan to free them and help them to be saved

The plan spelled the difference, and none of them were lost

But the way of their deliverance must come at a great cost.

The price was a little animal, flawless and innocent and young

He lived with them for four days before his blood was hung

Across the door. And through that step the obedient were spared

The lamb that saved their lives showed them that God cared.

They loved the lamb, The gift of the Great I Am,

They killed the lamb, And their faith passed the exam

No other way would have saved them on that night

The cherished sacrificial lamb led them to the light.

Each year the lambs were slaughtered to take care of their sin

Thousands upon thousands, a river of blood again and again

But God had a better solution, though more costly than them all

His Son, a Lamb without defect, who would save us from our fall

He came and lived among us before His blood was shed

The people, filled with anger, hung Him until He was dead

And by the gift of His perfect life, God gave us a door of hope

If we will follow His great plan, we have the way to cope.

Do you love the lamb, The gift of the Great I Am,

Do you see His love, the love of that Precious Lamb,

No other way can save us from sin’s dark night,

Obey the lamb to walk in the Son’s pure light.

Mission Accomplished

Neal Pollard

Reader’s Digest tells the story of Walter Wyatt, Jr., an amateur pilot whose plane goes down in the Atlantic between the Bahamas and Miami, Florida.  He’s in the deep all night, fighting off bull sharks and feeling he will not survive.  He does live and a ship, the Cape York, rescues him after sunrise the next day.  He wearily climbs on board and kisses the deck.  He is saved, but he needed outside help to save him from the depths and from certain death.

So it was with us.  As the song suggests, we were sinking deep in sin and far from the peaceful shore.  Jesus lifted us, and He did so through Calvary.  Yet, He saved us from a fate infinitely worse than death by a physical predator.  Each Lord’s Day, we have the opportunity to remember this as well as He who rescued us.  As Paul once said, “Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death” (2 Corinthians 1:9).  In Hebrews two, we consider three important truths about the Man who saved us from death.

First, He is over us (Hebrews 2:1-10).  He is our Lord and Master.  He is over us by right of accountability (1-3).  In other words, we are reminded that each of us are accountable to Him.  We cannot escape if we neglect so great a salvation!  He is also over us by right of approval (4), namely God’s approval (cf. Matthew 17:5).  During His ministry, Jesus demonstrated His power to prove His identity (cf. Acts 2:22-24).  Further, He is over us by right of authority (5-8).  We read, “For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him.”  Then, He is over us by right of arrangement (10).  He is our Creator.  He made us.  He knows us.  Finally, He is over us by right of affliction.  By virtue of His passion, Christ has compassion.  For all these reasons, we see Jesus as One who is on a par with none.  Before He was in a manger or up on a cross, He was in the beginning with God and as God (cf. John 1:2).

Second, He is like us (Hebrews 2:11-14).   No matter how much we like or dislike a king or president, we may feel like he or she is unreal or unlike us.  We cannot relate to their lives, and we are certain they can relate to ours.  Yet, Jesus, though King of kings, is a Savior who is like us.  We are of the same family, the human family (11).  He associates Himself with us (11-12).  Then, He shared in our humanity to the fullest, to the point of experiencing death for us (14).  Nobody can rightfully say to God, “You don’t know what it is like!  You don’t understand!”  He is fully divine and became fully human, making Him uniquely able to relate to both the Father and humanity.

Finally, He is for us (Hebrews 2:15-18).  The last few verses serve as final pieces of evidence proving how Jesus is on our side.  He has done His part to take the fear out of death (15; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:19-20).  Of all created beings, He gives His aid to us (16).  He longs to be our High Priest (17).  He wants to help us when we are tempted (18).  Of all the Great Cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1), who do you think is leading the cheers for those of us trying to make our way through this world and up to heaven?

A decade ago, I said a sentimental goodbye to the “Black Bullet,” my 1985 Chevy Custom Deluxe pickup which I traded in on a “new” 1992 Dodge Dakota.  I had to go to the DMV and transfer my tag and title.  They did not charge much for vanity plates, so I chose “PRCHNG1.”  This seemed clear enough to me.  As I picked up a number at the front counter,  I had my tags in hand and the receptionist saw them.  She said, “Oh, I’ve always wanted to try that. I bet that’s so fun. Is it scary?” I was confused. She said, “Your tags. How long have you been parachuting?” PRCHNG1 stands for “Preaching One.” I thought it was clear, but apparently my fellow motorists had been concluding that I was in some airborne division or maybe purchased hand guns. This dear lady misunderstood me, my work, and my interests.

Let us not make that mistake with the Savior we pause to commemorate each Sunday.  He is over us—He’s our King!  He is like us—He’s our brother!  He is for us—He’s our friend!

What If He Wanted YOU Hung There?

Neal Pollard

What would happen if God changed the “plan of salvation” in this dramatic way? What if the voice of God parted the skies and spoke a new revelation to us, saying, “If you are crucified on a cross for your sins, you will be eternally saved!” Would you do it? Assuming that every human living heard and understood His mighty voice, don’t you suppose countless millions would line up to fulfill this requirement?

The Bible says with Divine credibility that death on the cross was absolutely necessary for the saving of mankind. Many may scoff at that, but that truth must be believed. Yet, no one could save himself by dying on a cross for his own sins. God would reject that sacrifice! Such a sacrifice is blemished and flawed by the filth and disease of sin. The only spotless and unblemished sacrifice that could ever be offered was Jesus (1 Pet. 1:18), who condemned sin in the flesh (Rom. 8:3) and “put away sin by the sacrificing of himself” (Heb. 9:26). He was “once offered to bear the sins of many” (Heb. 9:28) upon the cross.

If Christ had taken the mockers’ challenge to come down from the cross to prove His deity (Mk. 15:32), all mankind would have lost all hope of heaven. He endured the shame and pain of Calvary (Heb. 12:2) to make heaven possible for all who obey Him (Heb. 5:9).

Now, consider this. Through the Bible, the voice of God rings out, demanding that we figuratively crucify our desires and lives on Jesus’ cross through sincere obedience (Gal. 2:20). He tells us to obey the Sacrificial Lamb, Jesus, in order to have sins forgiven (Rom. 6:17). No one has to die the death of a thousand deaths, nailed to a literal cross, to be saved. No one could! But if we come to the One who did so die, we can avoid the only fate that is worse than crucifixion (see Rev. 14:10-11)!

God does not call you to get up on a cross for your sins. He calls you to take up the cross of self-denial, following Him (Mt. 16:24). In this way, may we crucify ourselves!

What Does It Cost You?








Neal Pollard

Several years ago, a certain group of teenagers wanted to “raise awareness” about the plight of the homeless.  They decided that for a week they would live like homeless people live.  But, the activity was postponed…due to weather!  Isn’t that ironic? They said they wanted to live like the homeless, but don’t the homeless get rained on when it rains?

Most of us are real bargain hunters.  As gas prices go up and talk of general economic uncertainty, we all do well to think about how much things cost.  As good stewards of our finances, we never want to be wasteful!

In the spiritual realm, we are faced with a price to pay in order to become a Christian and then in living the Christian life.  Luke 14:26-35 is devoted to this idea.  Jesus teaches that there is a cost in terms of our earthly relationships (26).  There is a cost in terms of personal sacrifices (27). There is a cost in terms of our moral and spiritual endurance (28-32).  There is a cost in terms of our financial resources (33). There is a cost in terms of spiritual choices and examples (34-35).  You cannot become a Christian until you count the cost and make the decision to obey God rather than men (cf. Acts 5:29).  So many choose family, comfort, compromise, material things, or conformation over the One who gave everything for them.

In what shape is your spiritual life? One way to measure that is by asking, “What does it cost me?”  What does it cost me in terms of time?  What does it cost me occupationally?  What does it cost me in relationships? What does it cost me in fleshly desires?  If we will live a faithful Christian life, we must be prepared to do so when it is sunny and mild but also when it is cold and stormy!  Christian living isn’t a temporary experiment.  It’s, well, it’s a life!

Win The Lost At Any Cost

Neal Pollard

When I was a boy, my parents had several records of acapella singing.  Hearing them played often, and always on Sunday, is a fixture of my childhood.  One of the records was of a quartet, “The Ambassadors” from Texas.  On one of their albums was a chilling, challenging song entitled, “Win The Lost At Any Cost.”  In looking for an audio on the web, (sadly) I could not find an acapella version.  Here are the lyrics from “The Ambassadors”‘ rendition:

As we look all around us, all the fields are white,
Ripened unto harvest, and so quickly comes the night.
Christians must get busy, there is work to do
Here’s an urgent task awaiting you.
Souls are crying, men are dying, won’t you lead them to the cross.
Go and find them, Please help to win them win the lost at any cost.
Go out and win, rescue from sin,
Day’s almost done, low sinks the sun.
Souls are crying, men are dying, win the lost at any cost.

In Denny Petrillo’s excellent, ongoing Wednesday night auditorium class on Hermeneutics, he mentioned that a consequence of the “New Hermeneutic” is that it is killing evangelistic zeal.  It does not know or is not willing to say who is lost.  No longer seeing the Bible as an objective standard with a pattern requiring rational thinking and reasoning to interpret, the New Hermeneutic not only languishes in self-doubt and uncertainty but also destroys the incentive to try and convert those outside of Christ.  Yet, armed with unswerving confidence in the inspiration of scripture, we see outlined there a simple set of truths that must push us to “win the lost at any cost.”  Consider.

(1) All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).
(2) Sin separates one from God (Isa. 59:1-2).
(3) The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus (Rom. 6:23).
(4) Christ died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God (1 Pet. 3:18).
(5) He put away sin by the offering of Himself (Heb. 9:26).
(6) Justified by His blood, we shall be saved from God’s wrath through Him (Rom. 5:9).
(7) He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation (Heb. 5:9).
(8) He that believes and is baptized shall be saved (Mk. 16:16).
(9) We must repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Ac. 2:38).
(10) The one who endures to the end will be saved (Mt. 10:22).

Think souls!  Do not think that God has changed the rules.  The lost are lost.  We must win them back to Him.