Jesus, our Captain and Leader

John Telgren

I remember the terrifying feeling I felt. Lost! I called out and called out, but no one was there. In the middle of unfamiliar woods, I had no idea which direction I needed to go. What if I never made it back to where we were camping? What if it got dark while I was still lost in the woods. I tried to retrace my steps, but I was unfamiliar with these woods. I had never been here before.

Finally, at the other end of a clearing, Mark appeared. He called out to me, "Where in the world have you been?!" All of us are back and we have been waiting on you. Mark grew up here, and he knew the woods like the back of his hand. He knew every path, opening, and clearing. He led me back to the camp site. I was so glad that he found me and led me back.

In a similar way, this is what Jesus had done for us. In Hebrews 2:10, it tells us that Jesus, the "author" of our salvation, was perfected through sufferings. The word translated author is "archegos" in Greek. Sometimes it is translated as pioneer, trailblazer, leader, captain, or perhaps even champion. Jesus is our pioneer and our captain, who fought a battle and blazed a trail for us out of sin. We no longer need be lost, but follow him and the path he laid for us by dying on the cross.

The text says that he has been perfected through sufferings. In context, this is probably talking about the suffering of death. The way Jesus blazed a trail and became our leader to lead us to salvation was through his death on the cross. Jesus became human, became one of us, and as one of us, died for our sins.

In order to do this, Jesus had to become fully human. Hebrews 2:14 says "therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death, He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil." Jesus had to become human in order to die for us. It is because of his humanity, his sharing in our experience, that he has become a "merciful and faithful high priest (Heb 2:17). You see, in order for Jesus to bridge the gap between us and God, he had to be both man and God. As a result, he needed to become fully human in order to die for humans. This is why the Bible reminds us that there is "one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 2:5). It is the "man" Christ Jesus that can be a mediator, because he has experienced and been on both sides of the gulf between men and God.

This is why the humanity of Jesus is such a cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith. Those who deny it are called "anti-Christs" (1 Jn 4:1-3; 2 Jn 7). Since Jesus has already been through the woods, he has created a trail for us to follow. We can be encouraged that if we follow him, our captain and leader, he will lead us home.