A few months ago I had the pleasure of touring the Tillamook Air Museum in Tillamook, OR. It is located at old Naval Air Station inside a large K-Class airship hangar. There were many amazing exhibits of full-size airplanes, cockpit trainers, jets, helicopters, and more, but my attention was caught by an old F-4 Phantom cockpit that had been used in the movie “Sully.” Captain Sully Sullenberger flew F-4s in Vietnam, and the owner of the F-4 cockpit allowed it to be used in the movie and then donated it to the museum.
The events of Captain Sullenberger’s heroic saving of a US Airways A320 airplane that crashed landed into the Hudson River in 2009 are well known. Just after taking off from LaGuardia Airport, the plane was struck by a flock of Canadian Geese that flew directly into the engines, causing complete engine failure. In a miracle of bravery and expertise, Captain Sullenberger landed the plane on the water and assisted all 155 passengers to evacuate to safety.
When things get out of control, it is good to have a captain around. I know this from personal experience. I have had two emergency landings in an airplane in my lifetime. One was due to the windshield cracking, and the other involved evacuating down inflated chutes immediately upon touchdown due to an engine fire. Knowing that the captain was in charge kept me calm and assured under great pressure. Plus, I’m married to a captain, so I know the training, experience, and expertise that it takes to be one.
Today’s Scripture likens Jesus to a captain in control of everything. In this passage we see evidence that Jesus is both fully human and fully divine. In the fullness of his humanity, he is a brother to us and thus lower than the angels. But in the fullness of his divinity, he wears the crown of glory and honor, and controls the ship like the Captain that he is:
Hebrews 2 (Common English Bible)
5 God didn’t put the world that is coming (the world we are talking about) under the angels’ control. 6 Instead, someone declared somewhere,
What is humanity that you think about them?
Or what are the human beings that you care about them?
7 For a while you made them lower than angels.
You crowned the human beings with glory and honor.
8 You put everything under their control.
When he puts everything under their control, he doesn’t leave anything out of control. But right now, we don’t see everything under their control yet.9 However, we do see the one who was made lower in order than the angels for a little while—it’s Jesus! He’s the one who is now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of his death. He suffered death so that he could taste death for everyone through God’s grace.
Hebrews 2 (New King James Version)
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying:
“I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”
Is your life in disarray? Do you feel out of control? Do you need a Captain-Savior to bring you to safety? Does chaos reign in your family?
In his glory, Jesus conquered death and restored humanity’s place of dominion over the earth that was lost when Adam fell. We become rightful heirs to the promise that all things will be sanctified in God’s time.
In the meantime, remember that God is in control, even when the plane is going down. Your Captain is at the helm. Thanks be to God.