As a military veteran, I often have a particular way of understanding things that I read in the Scriptures. Many times this assists me in understanding complex theological ideas because I can easily relate them to my experience in the Marine Corps. One of these complex ideas that I would like to discuss with everyone here today is picking up from where I left off on my last message. From my last message, you learned how many Jewish people worshiped the angels and many of them were even paying homage to them. Now, I would like to move forward and explain why Christ had to come to earth in the flesh and not simply as a heavenly being. To do this, I must explain the Marine Corps terminology of a “mustang.”
In the Marine Corps, there is a lot of discipline. Marines of every rank are taught to respect those of a superior rank, regardless of their feelings, they are appointed over them for a reason. For the most part, this operates flawlessly. However, even with such a disciplined armed force, there is a major separation of respect between the enlisted Marines and the commissioned Marines (officers). On both sides of the fence, so to speak, some biases range from officers seeing the enlisted Marines as uneducated personnel. Then, on the enlisted side, Marines can think of officers as people who get promotions and awards off the backs of the hard work the enlisted men and women do. As you can see, even though there is respect for lawful orders that are given from a superior ranking officer, respecting the person behind the orders can be difficult. Since officers go to college and start in the military in rank above all enlisted Marines from day one, they can be looked as inexperienced by the enlisted Marines who often have spent 10-15 years already working hard in the service.
The reason why I am sharing this is that there is an officer that the Marines like to call a “mustang.” That “mustang” automatically earns the respect of both the enlisted Marines and the officers. The reason for this respect comes from the relatability of that officer. You see, a mustang is an officer who was once an enlisted Marine. They worked hard within the ranks of the enlisted personnel and went to college. Earned their degree while working full time and then earned a commission. These mustangs can fully understand the joy and the hardships that come from being an enlisted Marine. However, they also understand the joy and the hardships that Marine Corps officers must face as well. Thus, their wisdom and experience are counted on heavily and they are some of the most respected Marines in the service. These mustangs usually walk a thin line and they look out for the troops (junior Marines) and ensure that the mission assigned gets accomplished (the orders and directives sent down by senior officers).
This is important to share with you all because I can relate Jesus Christ to humanity’s ultimate “mustang.” As to the Jewish people during the time that Hebrews was written, they found joy in following what the angels have shared with humanity. However, the important thing that I want to address is that angels have fallen from heaven and because of this simple fact, they are not perfect nor worthy of praise, only Jesus is. Jesus could have come down with all His heavenly power and authority. He could have commanded heavens armies to execute His lawful orders. Similar to an officer, everyone that is under his authority would follow Him but would their hearts truly hang for Him? Knowing this, Jesus with all His wisdom and authority came down to earth in human flesh.
It is written, “But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 12 He says,
“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the assembly, I will sing your praises.”
13 And again,
“I will put my trust in him.”
And again he says,
“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death,” (Hebrews 2:9-15, NIV).
By Jesus humbling himself and temporarily subjecting himself to a lower rank under the angels, Jesus did something that could only be done by Him. He became human for all humanity. In other words, He put himself in the trenches to not only fully understand what humanity goes through but He also experienced the fears and the daily temptations to sin that that humanity faced. He become flesh to experience our pain and our very fear of death. Jesus had to come down to be able to not only understand but relate to anything that we will ever face. Then, He died on the cross so that we could all have the perfect mediator. Our perfect “mustang,” so to speak. Someone who would not be ashamed to represent us to our Heavenly Father, and someone humble enough to run to us and shield us from heaven’s wrath, because of our sinful nature. When Jesus became flesh, He became all humanity. He became me, He became you, and He became every human that will ever come after Him. He knows our struggles because He lived them and could fully relate to us. However, once Jesus went back to His heavenly throne, He sits as the scepter of righteousness and must hold all of humanity accountable for their sins.
With this understanding, Jesus is both over all the heavens and all the earth. He understands the commands that our Heavenly Father expects us to do, and He understands the real emotional, physical, and spiritual trails that we face. He became everything for us. The person who the heavens and the earth were created for and through cared enough about each one of us that He put Himself through pain and even death to conquer it for us! He took our nature to lets us know that there is a way to righteousness and eternal life, and it can only be found through His sacrifice, His mediation, and His sanctification. This is why He died for us so that we could live “in” Him. Thanks to Jesus, we are no longer haunted by the fear of death because we have eternal life in Him (1 John 5:20), and what a life we have!
This is why Jesus could not come down as the angels did, He knew that He would have been worshiped religiously and the people’s hearts would not truly revere Him. So what I am trying to say is simple. If the angels that came down and helped humanity come to know God have risen and fallen, why do we follow things created by God instead of God himself? If we follow this world or any spiritual being that is not Jesus, we will remain without hope or help. Jesus did not come to save fallen angels but to save humanity, and this is why His birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection is so important to all of us. It is this love for us that has Him come to us every time that we suffer and cry out to Him, in fact, when we do this He comes running to us (Hebrews 2:18).
So, if you feel like you are not worthy of being forgiven, or feel that you can never be enough, call out to Jesus and allow Him to hold your hand. Allow Him to be the Lord over your life, and allow Him to mediate to God the Father on your behalf. Allow Him to be the lord over your life, and accept His gift of life everlasting. Be filled with His Spirit after baptism and live a life free of the shackles of death and bondage because He has to lead the way for you already. Yes, He is a “mustang” like no other.