Christ's Helplessness

February 16, 2014
He Arose, Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Great is Thy Faithfulness
Psalm 68
NT Text:
Hebrews 2:11-14
11For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12saying,
“I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
13And again,
“I will put my trust in him.”
And again,
“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”


  1. Last week, we looked at verse 11 and concluded that because of Christ taking our nature and sanctifying us he is therefore unashamed to call us brothers.
  2. This week, in the ensuing verses, the apostle references 3 verses from the Old Testament to confirm this brotherhood.

Three Confirmations

Christ Exults God to his Brothers

Ps 22:22 I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:

  1. The reason why the apostle produces this testimony, is to confirm what he had said immediately before regarding Christ being one with the children, and thus unashamed to call them brothers.
  2. Note:
    1. Note that Christ as soon as he is saved from his oppression, the immediate response of deliverance is praise.
      1. That which was principally in the heart of Christ upon his sufferings, was to declare and manifest the love, grace, and good-will of God unto men, that they might come to an acquaintance with him and to acceptance before him
      2. If we look back, most of the psalm contains the great conflict that Christ had with his sufferings, and the displeasure of God against sin
      3. Verse 22, represents a shift. The Psalmist, representing Christ, is no sooner delivered from his sufferings, but instantly he engages in this work of praise.
      4. As he lands upon the shore from that tempest and storm wherein he was tossed in his sufferings, he cries out, "I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise you."
      5. As soon as Christ was resurrected, he did not immediately ascend into glory, but first he declares the name of God unto his apostles and disciples, and so ordered it that by them the greatness of God should be declared and published to all the world. This work was on his heart to do, it was his joy and privilege and he entered not into his glorious rest until he had performed it.
    2. Note the cheerfulness and joy of Christ in this work
      1. This is Christ entering into his joy. He came to glorify God and herein he glorifies his name. (Psa 22:22)
    3. Note that Christ praises God by declaring the name of God to his brothers.
      1. There is no way whereby the praise of God may be celebrated like that of declaring his grace, goodness, and love unto men; whereby they may be won to believe and trust in him, whence glory redounds unto him
      2. The Lord Christ, by declaring that he will set forth the praise of God in the church, manifests what is the duty of the church itself, namely, to praise God for the work of his love and grace in our redemption by Christ Jesus. This he promises to go before them in; and what he leads them unto is by them to be persisted in. This is indeed the very end of gathering the church, and of all the duties that are performed therein and thereby
        1. Missions exist because worship doesn't
    4. Note the trust and helplessness of Christ
      1. Psalm 22:19–20 19But you, O LORD, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! 20Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! ESV

Christ, Like Us, Trusts God

Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. ESV

  1. This whole Psalm is literally about David in his troubles and sufferings.Yet David here serves as a type of Christ.
  2. The point Paul is making is that Christ was one with us in that he was brought into a condition where it was necessary for him to trust in God. repeat
    1. This is amazing!
    2. First Fruits
  3. More sufferings than only at his Crucifixion
  4. The Lord Christ, the captain of our salvation, was exposed in the days of his flesh unto great difficulties, anxiety of mind, dangers, and troubles ... There was upon him a confluence of every thing that is evil or troublesome unto human nature.
    1. Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. ESV
  5. The Lord Christ, in all his perplexities and troubles, betook himself unto the protection of God, trusting in him
    1. So much so, that his enemies mocked him with it in his greatest distress
    2. Matthew 27:43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” ESV
  6. He both suffered and trusted as our head and precedent ... And he is a precedent unto us in trusting as well as in suffering
    1. He took on everything that is evil and troublesome unto human nature that herein he might be our example, that we should think no kind of sufferings strange to us.
      1. John 15:20a Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
  7. The pointChrist's taking our nature brought him into such a condition as it became needful for him to put his trust in God, and to look for deliverance from him.

The Potentate of Time Became Impotent

  1. He who has all power
    1. Ps 135:6 Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.
    2. Daniel 4:35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” ESV
    3. Romans 9:20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” ESV
  2. This same one voluntarily became powerless, helpless, dependent, impotent
    1. See Christ, the helpless baby held in the arms of a human who could easily drop and kill him ... absurd
    2. This is why Psalm 18 is referenced to show Christ's trust in God:
      1. Christ was one with us in that he was brought into a condition where it was necessary for him to trust in God
      2. Psalm 18:4–64The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; 5the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. 6In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. ESV
      3. Psalm 22:66But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. ESV
      4. Psalm 22:9–109Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. 10On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God. ESV
      5. Psalm 22:14–1514I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; 15my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. ESV
  3. The question that must be askedWho are you to him, that he would do this for you?

Remember What Sin Is to Him.

  1. The guilt of sin
    1. The chief angel who was made righteous, glorious, beautiful; worshipping God in heaven night and day. For one sin, damned to hell forever.
    2. All for the sake of 1 sin. That is how much God hates 1 sin.
    3. How many sins do you have?
  2. The filth of sin
    1. Think of original creation. A world made good. Everything perfectly as God intended it to be. All the world in perfect harmony. Everything in its right a proper place. Everything in happiness and harmony.
    2. One sin enters the world.
    3. Every bit of evil that you know of is a result of that one sin. Every:
      1. cancer, fatherless child, loss, hurt, murder, adultery, indecency
      2. every time you have wanted to do what is right and find in you a law that prohibits you from doing it because it pulls you towards doing what is wrong with such an alarming consistency and power
    4. All of this entered the world by one sin.
    5. One sin is so powerful, in its filminess, that it can take a world made good by God and destroy the uprightness and harmony of it.
    6. Why Does God hate sin so much? Look at the filth of it.
    7. What are your sins, what are the number of them, what is the consistency of it.
    8. For one sin the world made good fell into the estate we now see it. How would all of your sins effect a world made good?
      1. Imagine...

The powerful God became powerless for you. Who are you?

  1. God looks at you while you are still in your sin and loves you anyway.
    1. Rom 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
    2. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
  2. God, who hates sin and is repulsed by sin, became sin so that sinners whom he ought to hate might be made glorious and lovely in his sight.
  3. He took on our nature that we might share with him in his nature.
    1. 2Pet 1:4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

He is Unashamed to Call Us Brothers Because He Took On a Nature Like Ours

  1. When the potentate of time became impotent on our behalf he was really helpless.
  2. This is what Psa 18 is telling us. Look at the helplessness of the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God.
  3. But in that look at the faithfulness of God.
    1. Look at how God bends his ear to his son. Beams at him from heaven, "this is my Son with whom I am well pleased." Look at the divine smile that the Father had for his Son as Christ obeys all the will of his Father.
    2. Look at the divine help that he receives.
  4. Verses
    1. Psalm 18:4-24
      1. Matthew 27:50–51 50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. 51And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. ESV
      2. The earth did not literally shake when God rescued David from the hand of Saul, but when our David, namely Jesus, was rescued from all his troubles the earth literally shook. This Psalm, though written about David is prophecy about the Christ in his troubles and deliverance from them.
    2. Psalm 22:1-11, 19-21
  5. What kind of help can we expect from God
    1. Romans 8:3232He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? ESV
    2. He who helped Christ in his helplessness will help you in your helplessness as well
    3. Christ himself who was helpless and remembers what it was like to be helpless, himself intercedes on your behalf and is not ashamed to call you brother.
      1. Lifting God up to you saying, "I will preach the name of God to my brothers"
      2. Lifting you up to God saying, "Father, this is my brother who is helpless, remember when I was helpless? You helped me. Help them also."

The Promises of God

  1. Verses:
    1. Jeremiah 29:1111For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ESV
    2. Joshua 1:99Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” ESV
  2. Who are these promises to?
    1. Joshua was commanded to take over the promised land. To defeat all the inhabitants thereof. Is it really appropriate for me to take the promise and command given to Joshua in a certain historical context and apply it to myself and the context of my troubles?
    2. Jeremiah was written to the surviving exiles. God had promised to bring them back out of their exile to return them to the promised land. Can I take these specific words and make them to be about me?
    3. When Daniel was thrown to the lions, God protected him, but how many Christians since have been thrown to their persecutions and have perished therein? Did they trust in God less than Daniel did?
    4. God fed Elijah by ravens, and afterwards God fed the destitute widow Zarephath through Elijah, does that mean he will feed me likewise, or were those miracles only for those specific times and situations? Has there ever been a Christian who, while trusting in God, has starved?
      1. Luke 4:25–26 25But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. ESV
    5. I live in a different covenant, some might say a different dispensation, and God behaves towards us differently than he did in times past.
    6. Can I claim these promises of God found in the Old Testament
    7. Can I say, I know the plans that God has for ME
    8. Can I say, he has commanded ME, be strong and courageous. I will be your aid, I will be your God.
    9. Can I say these things based on these promises
    10. These questions left me in a state as a younger Christian not knowing what to do with these verses.
    11. Would someone have taken me aside as a younger Christian and shown me this:
  3. Whether or not you can claim the promise to Joshua or Jeremiah I know not but here is a bigger and better promise to you:
    1. Christ became helpless and God looked at him in his helplessness and the earth reeled and rocked.
    2. You say, "Of course, it was his Son. Of course God will help him and respond to his cries for help. Of course God will move heaven and earth for the cause of his Son with whom he is well pleased, in whom his soul delights."
    3. Yes, but now in seeing God's faithfulness to his Son, in all of Christ's afflictions and troubles, look at Psalm 18, and Psalm 22 and Hebrews 2 and the point that God's word is making to you therein
    4. God the Father who was faithful to his own Son while he was helpless in his arms. He is the same God towards you and that Son intercedes on your behalf he became like you in helplessness so that (in order that, for the reason that) he might help in your helplessness.
    5. 2 ways
      1. The God who helped him, his Father, will help you with the same strength that he helped him with.
        1. Ephesians 1:19–20 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, ESV
      2. You have something that even Christ did not have while on the earth. You have Christ, who went before you to be your brother, to be your guide, to be your companion, to be your captain of salvation.
  4. Jesus Christ threw himself on God.
    1. Can you throw yourself on God?
    2. Look at the ways you have thrown yourself on God
      1. When you have given up on job, living situation, family or friends.
        1. All of a sudden if God doesn't come through, you are in trouble.
        2. When the money runs out and if God doesn't provide, you're in trouble
        3. When the health is failing, and if God doesn't provide, you're in trouble
        4. The times in your life where if God doesn't through, if Christianity is somehow a cleverly devised myth that you have been duped into believing, then you are going to be a catastrophic tale told as a warning to children in days to come, "Don't be like so-and-so, he trusted in God and look where it got him"
      2. Look at the times in your life when it was like that and compare them to Christ's life
        1. Christ threw himself to the mercy of his God and Father in a way that we have not. If the Father had not come through on his behalf he would have been damned, lost, miserable, scorned for all time, and a lessen to be learned from
      3. If Christ was able to throw himself to the complete mercy and disposal of his Father, and if that is called "faith" "belief" "trust"
        1. How dare we not have faith, belief, and trust
        2. How dare you call what you have, when you on the one hand take God and on the other hand make sure you set up your life so that you can't fail. So you have every sort of fall-back plan for in case God does not come through for you, how dare you call that the same kind of faith belief and trust that Christ had.
    3. Faith is different. Faith throws itself into the worst of situations voluntarily, knowing that God will pull through.
    4. Faith is able to take risks and have them be non-risks.
      1. Was it any sort of risk for Christ that his Father might not save him?
      2. Nor is it any risk for you, when you preach the gospel and men scorn you. When you give up your job and don't know where the money is going to come from. When you go to the foreign country and you don't know if your children will be healthy or kidnapped or have to be raised by strangers who don't know God
        1. These are risks without God, but with God, no risk at all.
      3. It was a risk on one hand for Christ to go to the cross for what would happen, but with God it was no risk at all.
  5. We have the promises of "I know the plans I have for you"
    1. Despite the the historical context of the promise being given, the promise to the exiles in Jeremiah was a small picture that the Father gave to his Son:
      1. I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not for evil. My Son be strong, be courageous I am your God, I will see you through.
      2. The original promise matters fairly little to me, for those promises were signs, pointers, and types to much grander, greater, securer, lovlier promises towards his son, and I get to be wrapped into those promises. As I am in the Son, those promises are for me. Since he is my older brother and I am his younger brother those promises are to him and all those who are his brothers.
      3. He needed those promises to live on, not because of who he was by nature God but because of who he had become by nature man, he needed those promises. He needed to rely on his God like we do so that he might become our older brother, so that he might not be ashamed to call us brother. So that he might lift us up and carry us on this way to salvation. And now I get all of his promises, they are all to me.
      4. When God says to Christ, through Jeremiah; I know the plans I have to you, he is saying it to me. I don't need to question the original context and recipient. It was given most really and most fully to Christ and thus to me in Christ.

Christ Is a Father to Us

Isaiah 8:17–18 17I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. 18Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. ESV

  1. We see the same here. Christ's trust in his Father.
  2. Note, that Christ trusted in God his Father while his face was hidden from him. He was forsaken, yet he trusted still.
    1. My God, my God why are you forsaken me.
    2. Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit.
  3. Note, we now together with Christ have become signs and portents. Signs that read: look to God, trust in him, great is his faithfulness, obey him, walk in his ways, throw yourself and all your lot upon God who is faithful.
  4. Note, in this verse the metaphors shifts slightly. We now see that Christ is not only a brother to us but a father to us as well, and we are his children: which the apostle proves by this last testimony from Isa. 8
  5. John 17:6 I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. ESV
  6. Mark 3:34-35 34And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”