A favorite tourist attraction in London is the Changing of the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace. Every day at 11:00 a.m., with great pomp and ceremony, the Old Guard detachment is replaced by the New Guard who now have the responsibility of protecting the official royal residence of the United Kingdom.
Something of the idea of a “changing of the guard” is envisioned in our reading today. While in times past angels were given a certain authority, in “the world to come” (v. 5) it is humanity who will reign. The author of Hebrews turns to Psalm 8 as evidence for this promise. There, the psalmist reflects on the beauty and splendor of God’s creation. In comparison to the majesty of the heavens, he proclaims: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them?” (v. 6; Ps. 8:4). Nevertheless, humanity was made “a little lower than the angels” and crowned “with glory and honor” (v. 7; Ps. 8:5). God has put “everything under their feet” (v. 8; Ps. 8:6). Echoing God’s declaration in Genesis 1:26, the psalmist proclaims God’s original promise and intention for humanity.
Nevertheless, the author of Hebrews quickly observes a problem: “At present we do not see everything subject to them” (v. 8). Ever since the Fall, life is broken and full of struggle, suffering, and death; our intended purpose has not been realized. Enter Jesus, the ultimate fulfillment of humanity’s purpose in Psalm 8. In Hebrews 1, Scripture emphasized the Son’s divinity and superiority; now we see Christ’s humanity, shared with us.
Because the man Jesus “tasted death for everyone,” His crown of “glory and honor” (v. 9) is made ours as well. Only in Jesus is God’s original intention for humanity fulfilled and made possible for all.
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