…and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. Hebrews 5, verse 9.
What does “made perfect” mean? Is it referring to Jesus being immaculate of His Father’s Spirit and the woman Mary? Is it the work-filled nature of His ministry here? Is it how he endured temptations and trials here to make a perfectly-lived human life? Does this refer to how He endured the terrible suffering of crucifixion without falling into any kind of sin, even the seemingly irresistible sins of thought?
Answer: yes. See, that was easy!
Make no mistake: Jesus the Christ is eternal. He has always been and always will be. Though born of a human here, He was not created before that. Being God, He simply is, and was, and is to come. Jesus wasn’t ‘made’ whether it’s made perfect or made anything else. Yet, for our understanding, we need to consider how He lived that perfect life here and, in doing so, made something that had never been made before. That perfect life He lived here: that’s indeed one thing that the author is referring to.
What’s more, that perfect life was made for something else that mattered even more: perfect salvation. God used Jesus’ perfect existence as the only way to reconcile a rebellious humanity to Himself. He required perfection; He required blood of atonement; He required willing sacrifice of everything to His perfect will. No ‘very good’ person ever had or ever has since; only Jesus could do it. In willingly submitting to God’s will to atone for all sins, Jesus made perfect salvation for all mankind.
Think about that. Perfection done for you. It’s for eternity. It is for you and me and everyone we know and everyone who has lived. That perfect salvation was all that’s required for all of us to spend forever with Jesus in communion with Him. We get to share in His graceful blessing of joy, peace, happiness, and even work all because He did all the work that was necessary in living, in making, a perfectly lived life. We get to do this here and now, then for eternity later. Only Jesus could offer Himself perfectly as the exactly perfect sacrifice necessary to do away with the consequence of sin that is eternal death. Only Jesus did it; only Jesus offers the path to eternity today. Mohammed doesn’t; Buddha doesn’t; Shintoism doesn’t; the Kardashians don’t. Neither does Donald Trump, a brand new pickup truck, the Democrat or Republican Party, or Chunky Monkey ice cream. Only Jesus.
Have you ever made something that is so good that you’re busting your buttons that you’re so pleased with it? Have you ever felt proud of things you’ve done, or said, or written, or even thought? Have you ever felt joy at times in your life, or maybe joy with family and friends? I imagine that’s how God must feel all the time when He considers all Jesus did. I imagine it’s how He must feel when He welcomes a believer into eternity and sees that redeemed believer through the prism of Jesus.
Jesus was born and ‘made’ human in an unusual way that neither compromised His divinity nor took on human sin. He spent a life working with His hands, and His heart, building a life that could be used ultimately in service to God. All through that life, He perfectly resisted the temptations that ensnare the rest of us, knowing that even a tiny thought of sin would ruin God’s plan for perfect atonement. And He willingly went to die in our place, knowing that, when He had finished the painful trials of agony and torture, God’s wrath would be satisfied and mankind could be at peace with Him. All of that means “made perfect.” All we have to do is obey…and believe.
For more reading: Hebrews 2:10.
Glory to You, my Lord and Savior, for Your perfection, the perfect life You made, and for the perfect love who is You.