Where do humans fit in? What is our place in the universe? Some would like to see us as just one species among many, inclined to throw its weight around. Others tell us we know little of the universe, and need spiritually superior beings to guide us – or perhaps enslave us. Today we begin reading from the letter to Hebrews (we read Hebrews 1:1-4 and 2:5-12), and chapter 2 quotes from Psalm 8. That Psalm celebrates God’s creation, and mankind given “dominion” – a word not meaning “in charge to do as you like” but given a leadership position to exercise as a responsible manager. It’s a picture which recognises the pre-eminence of humanity – clearer now than it was 2000 years ago, without allowing abuse.
Hebrews 2 uses this quote to remind us that heaven is not controlled by angels. On the other hand, neither the next world nor this seem to be under our control, so what is happening? The answer is Jesus – in one sense he is the “true man” taking his proper place. But also he is the one who is now honoured because of his death which brings us freedom
Why is it fitting that Jesus should suffer? (verse 10). Not because God enjoys that sort of thing, but because this makes his identification with us complete. Jesus is indeed our brother, though also much more. As our brother, he has experienced life as we experience it, with its ups and downs, its joy and pain. He understands temptation, weariness, loneliness, as well as the details of creation and all that involves.
So where do humans fit in? Yes, in a wonderful place with responsibility for creation. Yes, with Jesus, who leads us out of confusion to true human life and status, helping us to find our real place.