Hebrews

Hebrews 2:5-18

For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,

“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,
    putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,

“I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

13 And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”

And again,

“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

***

So far we’ve learned that Jesus is superior to angels in the last two studies. The writer of Hebrews has shown through scripture that Jesus is God, and God’s Son. We’ve been warned to not fall away by neglecting the message that we’ve heard – our great salvation in Christ. We know that the message is true because God first told us through His Son and then attested to it by signs and wonders. The book of Hebrews is the book about Jesus. Therefore we are keeping a running list of attributes which you will find at the bottom of each study, along with the warnings given to us to keep us pressing forward in our sanctification.

Read verse 5. For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking.

This is our transition verse for this week. The writer reminds us that we are speaking of the world to come – in other words, what will come after this – heaven / the new heavens / the new earth. This is our great salvation that Christ has full reign over. Everything will be subjected to Him. Let’s connect the dots between this passage and what we’ve studied (using Heb. 1:1-2 and 2:1,3):

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?

Jesus will inherit and be king over everything and this is our great salvation – that HE REIGNS! The author of Hebrews wants us to understand that through all of this we are speaking about salvation. Knowing this, and continuing through to verse 8 we see a section of the psalms quoted and talking about the son of man. Interestingly, the ‘Son of Man’ was the title that Jesus referred to himself as more often than any other. Though this psalm was written by David, it was a prophetic psalm about the coming messiah who would be both the ‘Son of God’ (attested to us in chapter 1) and the ‘Son of Man’ (attested this chapter).

Looking closely at verse 6 we read this: What is man, that you are mindful of him, OR the son of man, that you care for him? The psalmist is literally drawing a line between man and the ‘Son of Man’. God was mindful of man and because of that, He sent the ultimate Son of man – Jesus. Jesus is both the new Adam and the final Adam. Both were born without sin, but only Jesus died sinless. Verse 7 goes more in-depth about who this Son of man is. He is the One who was to come – the Christ. Though he is God, he was made lower than the angels for a little while (by becoming human) but now he has been crowned with glory and honor, and everything has been put by God into subjection to him. Notice the tense of the verbs used by the psalmist. They are past and present tense. As the psalmist wrote, these things had happened, and were happening (or rather ARE happening). Jesus currently reigns and everything is under his feet. Remember that God – the creator of ‘time’ is not part of or bound by His creation. He is not inside of time. The creation was made for us.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. – Genesis 1:14-15

Christ has always been God and with God and the Holy Spirit. He has always reigned – though we have had to wait for it on our ‘time scale’. That leads us to the end of verse 8, “at present we do not yet see everything subjected to him“. We cannot yet see everything that is subjected to Him. We live in a world full of broken and fallen humanity, but we know that Christ has already beaten death… we just can’t see the end yet. What do we see?

Verse 9: But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. We see what Christ has done to defeat death and how he received glory because of it. He suffered death for everyone, for all creation. Why? Verse 10: For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. All things were created through him, therefore all things must be redeemed through him if they are going to be redeemed (see Hebrews 1:2 & John 1:1-3).

There is something really cool in verses 10-11. Look closely at the exchange between what Jesus did and why. He suffered to bring many son’s to glory. This is us, those who are saved, have been saved, or will be saved from the penalty of death. Jesus was made perfect by completely following the father’s will for Him which was to suffer death to save God’s adopted ‘sons and daughters’. In verse 11 we read that He who sanctifies and we who are being sanctified all have 1 source. What is that source? It is God.

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. – Matthew 11:25-27

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. – Colossians 2:13-14

Continuing through verse 15, we understand now that we are called children of God by adoption into sonship because Christ is sanctifying us and making us Holy with Him. In order to redeem us fully, Jesus had to be made like us in all aspects. What sorts of things do humans go through? We are born, we grow up, experience suffering, burdens, joy, love, and finally death. What sorts of things did Jesus go through? He experienced all the same things we experienced – He was made just like us except for 1 blaring difference. What is the difference between us and Jesus? We don’t trust God… we trust in ourselves.

By trusting in ourselves we sin against God and we don’t worship Him as God because we don’t fear Him, we fear death. That gives death power over us. That gives Satan power over us because we listen to what he says instead of trusting God and we fear the future – we fear death. Jesus did not fear death because He knew who was in charge of the future, and He trusted. He worshipped God and His reign over life giving death no power over Him. For those who refuse to trust or acknowledge God, and who do not know Jesus and His defeat over death – they are trapped and enslaved to their lifelong slavery of fear in death.

I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! – Luke 12:4-5

Now in verses 16-18 the writer of Hebrews reminds us that Jesus was made not like angels but like men. Remember angels are not subject to fear of death – they know God personally. But man is not presently enjoying God and all His glory – at least we don’t recognized it here on earth prior to salvation. God has made these things plain to us through his creation but we refuse to worship Him by ignoring the things he has made as witness to His existence and placing other things above Him (see Romans 1:18-23). So, because we are human, Jesus was made human to be like us in every respect so that He could stand before God, behind the curtain (in the Holy of Holies which represents the throne room in Heaven) in representation for us and trade His life for ours. He was tempted to fear death but He never secumbed and let fear rule over him. Jesus always knew who was ultimately in charge and thus never sinned against the Father, but trusted Him.

Applications:

Use these questions to think more deeply about what we’ve learned in Hebrews 2:5-18 and how you could apply that to your life.

1. Look closely at verses 14-16. What are the 3 actions identified as the purpose of Jesus taking on flesh?
Jesus came first to destroy, then to free, and then to help. He destroyed the power of Satan over us by destroying the power of death. Once Christ raised from the dead to new life it signaled the end of the reign of death. Because Christ has raised, he has freed us who have confessed him as Lord from the power of death as well. Now, as we wait to be joined with him forever, we are helped by the power of His Spirit to be sanctified (continually helped from sin) and become like Him – holy.

2. What is your reaction to the fact that Jesus was just like us? Does it make a difference?
By becoming a man and dying as a man, Jesus literally was the perfect replacement for each of us. He was not an animal sacrifice like used in the past. He was the same in every aspect: speaking, walking, talking – but just like those animal sacrifices, He never spotless with no sin. So when he took your place he could say, “Don’t look at them, look at me. I will gladly take their place in death so that they may live.” And because he was human it was acceptable and ‘finished’.

Attributes of Jesus from Hebrews:

Use these as a help during prayer or when you need to be reminded of Who you serve, Who saved you, and Who loves you.

  • Jesus IS God
  • He is higher in authority than angels.
  • His message was true and attested to us by God.
  • He is the ‘Son of Man’ – through Mary
  • He is the ‘Son of God’ – through the Holy Spirit
  • He currently reigns as King
  • He is sinnless

 Warnings from Hebrews:

1. We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. (Heb 2:1)

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