The Captain and Completer
*The following is more of a sermon outline than it is an article. Though not exhaustive, may it be used to stir up thoughts of Christ in each of these passages.
An Overview of the Uses of “Captain” in Scripture
- Acts 3:15 – The Captain of Life
- Acts 5:31 – The Captain Exalted
- Hebrews 2:10 – The Captain of Salvation
- Hebrews 12:2-3 – The Captain of Faith
On the Word “Captain” – archēgos
- the chief leader, prince
- one that takes the lead in anything and thus affords an example, a predecessor in a matter, pioneer
- the author
- “One who takes the lead in, or provides the first occasion, of anything.”
- “As in Heb. 2:10, the word suggests a combination of the meaning of leader, with that of the source from whence a thing proceeds.”
- “In Hebrews 12:2 where Christ is called the Author and Perfecter of faith He is represented as the One Who takes precedence in faith and thus is the perfect exemplar of it… Christ in the days of His flesh trod undeviatingly the path of faith, and as the Perfecter has brought it into a perfect end in His own Person. Thus He is the Leader of all others who trod that path.”
The Septuagint uses this word in Numbers 14:4 – “So they said one to another, Let us appoint a leader, and let us return into Egypt.” – Thus there is both preeminence and leadership involved.
THE CAPTAIN OF LIFE
But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.
The Context: Healing the lame man at Gate Beautiful.
- The Paradox: “You killed.” How could the Captain/Prince of life be killed? Because if He was truly the Prince of Life, He could have the power to lay it down.
- The Proof: Resurrection. He not only had power to live, not only power to lay that life down, but to come through both life and death to die no more! That is a Saviour worth worshiping.
- The Product:
- A man was healed because the resurrection and life of Christ is the basis on which His apostles received power.
- His power should show impact on our lives.
- His preeminence in life shows power in life.
THE CAPTAIN EXALTED
The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Saviour, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
- The Glory of His Exaltation: “God exalted [Him] to His right hand.” God is pleased with His Son and proved it.
- The Goal of His Exaltation: “repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” He cannot reign as King of Glory over the nation unless He has been recognized as such.
- The Grace in His Exaltation: “Whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.” Imagine that after this the gospel would still go to Jerusalem first and then to the nations. God did not write off Israel after rejecting Christ. Do you think He will write us off at any point?
THE CAPTAIN OF SALVATION
But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.
- The Contrast: Would we not expect a deliverer to break through the powers of darkness with triumph and force? Would we not expect a deliverer to be distinguished for His strength? Yet the Lord Jesus was made Deliverer through weakness first, and only then could the triumph be His.
- The Consummation: “Many sons to glory.” Now we see the true purpose of the cross: it was for and because of me. What did it take to bring many sons to glory? The bringing of the Beloved Son to shame: “Made for a little while lower than the angels… because of the suffering of death.”
- The Completion: “Make the Captain of their salvation perfect,” that is, complete in His role as Saviour.
- The Cost: “Through sufferings.” There was no other way.
THE CAPTAIN OF FAITH
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
- As the Captain of Faith: He is the perfect pattern. Though He did not take the first role in faith, He took the greatest.
- Perfect obedience.
- Perfect dependence.
- Perfect endurance.
- As the Completer of Faith:
- Faithfulness is not faithfulness unless it presses until the end.
- For Him it was the bitter completion of a full life: He ENDURED the cross.
- Yet He shows us the results of faith. The Gospels leave us with the resurrection and the end of His earthly ministry. Acts picks up with His exaltation, which is only the beginning. Faith brings results and is rewarded.
- As the Consideration of our Faith:
- Christ is our life as well as our rule of it.
- If we should lose sight of Him, we can only expect to grow “weary and faint in our souls,” that is, the very essence of our being, our very drive to live.
- We are soldiers in a lifelong war. How will we accurately press on? By following orders. How? By looking to our Captain, the one Who has proven the life of faith is possible to live.
CONNECTIONS IN THESE VERSES
In all, there is a contradiction.
- Heb. 12:2 – Joy in Shame
- Heb. 2:10 – The Creator made fit for suffering
- Acts 5:31 – The Prince of Life killed
- Acts 3:15 – Slain yet exalted / the slayers receiving grace
In all, there is a connection to Hebrews 12.
- Heb. 2:10
- Captain made PERFECT
- Captain and PERFECTER (12:2)
- Acts 5:31
- With the RIGHT HAND
- To the RIGHT HAND (12:2)
- Acts 3:15
- His name through FAITH in His name
- Author and Finisher of FAITH (12:2)
In all, the centrality is Calvary.
- Heb. 12:2 – “Endured the cross.”
- Heb. 2:9 – “Taste death for everyone.”
- Acts 5:30 – “Whom youu had put to death by hanging Him on a cross.”
- Acts 3:15 – “Put to death the Prince of Life.”