Hebrews Chapter 2 Continued
Hebrews 2:9 “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
Verse 8 ends with the confession that Man’s present status does not suggest that he will someday be over all creation. But Christ’s status does. Unlike man, He already has been crowned, and because of His identity with and victory for man, He makes (Psalm 8), a future reality for man. Death is one significant quality that makes man lower than the angels (Luke 20:36), but Christ has conquered death for man.
“Glory and honor”: Because Jesus became “obedient to the point of death … God highly exalted Him” (Phil. 2:8-9). By His redemptive work, Christ has fulfilled all that is required as the supreme representative of mankind. By His incarnation, substitutionary sacrifice and victory over sin and death (Rom. 6:23; 1 John 4:10), He has fulfilled man’s original purpose.
As the Second Adam (1 Cor. 15:47), He was for a short time lower than the angels. Now He has glory and honor, and all things (including angels), are subject to Him.
“Taste death for every man”: Everyone who believes, that is. The death of Christ can only be applied in its efficacy to those who come to God repentantly in faith, asking for saving grace and forgiveness of sins (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Tim. 2:6; 4:10; Titus 2:11).
We must notice in the Scripture above, that Jesus was made a little lower than the angels. He was not lower at all, but took on this state of being lower for His stay on the earth. The death of the cross that Jesus died was in payment for us, so that we would not have to die this way to pay for our sins.
Philippians 2:7-9 “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:” “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:”
We should see in this that we have done nothing to deserve to be saved. It is a gift of grace. This is a free gift of God; all we do is accept it.
Hebrews 2:10 “For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
“Became”: What God did through the humiliation of Jesus Christ was perfectly consistent with His sovereign righteousness and holiness. Without Christ’s humiliation and suffering, there could be no redemption. Without redemption, there could be no glorification (Rom. 8:18, 29-30).
“Perfect”: In His divine nature. Christ was already perfect. However, His human nature was perfected through obedience, including suffering in order that He might be an understanding High-Priest, an example for believers (5:8-9; 7:25-28; Phil. 2:8; 1 Pet. 2:21), and establish the perfect righteousness (Matt. 3:15), to be imputed to believers (2 cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:8, 19).
“Captain”: The term is also used (in 12:2 and Acts 5:31). It could be translated “pioneer”, “leader,” “author,” or “originator”. Christ is the source (5:9, which has the meaning of cause), the initiator, and the leader in regard to salvation. He has led the way into heaven as our forerunner (6:20).
The concept of a suffering Messiah was a real stumbling block to the Jews. The author tackles this problem by declaring that the sufferings of the Cross were an integral part of God’s redemptive plan. In fact, Christ was made perfect through the suffering of death. Not that His deity lacks perfection (1:3, 8), but His humanity was vocationally perfected.
That is, as Man, Jesus was enabled through suffering to become the captain of man’s salvation; suffering allows Him to experientially empathize with us (verse 18), and death was the means of His destroying Satan (verse 14), and securing our redemption (9:12).
Luke 24:26 “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?”
Luke 24:46 “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:”
The suffering that Christ did was not because He deserved to suffer, but because we deserved to suffer. He was our substitute. He suffered in our place. We are His creation and He bought us back out of sin.
There is a penalty for sin, but Jesus paid our penalty for us that we might be judged not guilty of sin. If we suffer with Christ for the cause of Christianity, then we shall reign with Him, as we read (in Romans 8:17).
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.”
A Christian is a follower of Christ. If our leader suffered, so will we.
1 Thessalonians 3:4 “For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.”
Hebrews 2:11 “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified [are] all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,”
“Sanctifieth”: Sanctification sets a person apart for service (means to make holy), through purification from sin and conformity to the holiness of God (10:10).
Matthew 12:48-50 “But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?” “And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!” “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
We who are sanctified are set aside for God’s purpose. He made us holy in God’s sight. We Christians are covered in the blood of Jesus. When God the Father looks at us, He sees the blood of His Son. We are righteous because we have been washed in the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ).
Hebrews 2:12 “Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.”
“My brethren” (quoted from Psalm 22:22). Jesus had taught that those who do the will of the Father in obedience to His word are His brothers and mother (Matt. 12:50; Luke 8:21). He never directly referred to His disciples by the title of “brethren” or “brother” until after His resurrection (Matt. 28:10; John 20:17).
Not until He had paid the price for their salvation, did they truly become His spiritual brothers and sisters. The use of the term demonstrates His full identification with mankind in order to provide complete redemption (Phil. 2:7-9).
Psalms 22:22 “I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.”
We see here, the same Scripture in the Old Testament as we see in the New Testament. We see from both of these Scriptures how important it is to praise God in the church. It also, is very important to open our mouth and confess Jesus.
Matthew 10:32 “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.”
You can see how important it is to confess Jesus here on earth.
Hebrews 2:13 “And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.”
The citation of Isa. 8:17-18 (2 Sam. 22:3), emphasizes the point made (in verses 9-11): that Christ had fully identified Himself with mankind by taking a human nature. He demonstrated the reality of His human nature by His reliance upon God during His earthly sojourn.
John 10:29 “My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father’s hand.”
John 17:6-8 “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.” “Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.” “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received [them], and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.”
“Men” in this Scripture (from John 17), means the face of humans. Manifested means made real. The Father gave them to the Son, because He paid for them with His blood. Jesus said over and over that His message was also the message of the Father.
John 14:10 “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”
Hebrews 2:14 “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;”
“Partakers … took part”: The Greek word for “partook” means fellowship, communion, or partnership. “Share” (or partakers), means to take hold of something that is not related to one’s own kind. The Son of God was not by nature “flesh and blood,” but took upon Himself that nature for the sake of providing redemption for mankind.
“Death … power … death”: This is the ultimate purpose of the incarnation: Jesus came to earth to die. By dying, He was able to conquer death in His resurrection (John 14:19). By conquering death, He rendered Satan powerless against all who are saved. Satan’s using the power of death is subject to God’s will (Job 2:6).
John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
To be able to fully understand His followers, Jesus took on flesh that He could be tempted in all points that His followers are.
Hebrews 4:15 “For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.”
1 Corinthians 15:54 “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”
Jesus defeated Satan on the cross. Jesus endured the cross to bring us life.
1 Corinthians 15:45 “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit.” Adam brought death to all mankind, Jesus brought us life everlasting.
Hebrews 2:15 “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
“Fear of death”: For the believer, “death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54). Therefore, the fear of death and its spiritual bondage have been brought to an end through the work of Christ.
Romans 8:15 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
In our time, there is so much danger of nuclear war that many people live in constant fear. In the (14th chapter of John), we are told not to fear. The only assurance that we have is in our Savior Jesus Christ. It is a natural thing to fear death, if you are not saved, because hell awaits that person. We Christians have hope of the resurrection in Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 2:16 “For verily he took not on [him the nature of] angels; but he took on [him] the seed of Abraham.”
“Nature of”: This is speaking about giving help, in this case not to angels but to the descendants of Abraham. The sense of “giving help is from the picture of a taking hold of someone in order to push or pull them to safety, to rescue them. However, there was no thought in Judaism that the Messiah’s entrance into the world would be to give help to the angels.
The contrast, using this translation, is weak in comparison with all that has been previously said about Christ’s superiority to the angels. The context presents the identification of Christ with mankind in His incarnation, He took upon Himself a human nature (verses 9-14, 17).
When the writer wished to express the concept of giving help, he chose a different Greek word (in verse 18; also 4:16). Therefore, the translation, “take on the nature of,” is to be preferred.
“Seed of Abraham”: Christ is that promised descendant. Since the readers are Hebrews, they would certainly identify themselves with this description. The Messiah had been born in the line of Abraham in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies (Matt. 1:1).
One of the chief purposes for the incarnation was the salvation of Israel (Matt. 1:21). Yet another purpose was the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant regarding the promised descendant. Of all peoples, the Hebrews should be first to recognize the significance and importance of the incarnation.
Galatians 3:16 “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”
Galatians 3:29 “And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Just as we had been studying, Jesus took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us. The purpose of His taking on flesh was that He could overcome the flesh nature for us. He was the only person who ever lived completely without sin.
Verses 17-18: The author provides three reasons for Christ’s suffering:
(1) To identify with humanity (verses 10-13);
(2) To destroy the power of death (verses 14-15); and
(3) To become an intercessory High Priest (verses 17-18).
One of the key thoughts of this epistle is the High Priestly work of Christ. As a Man, He can compassionately serve as our High Priest. His primary role as High Priest is to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. The verb (Greek hilaskomai), means “to propitiate,” (a covering), for our sins; He satisfactorily and actually takes sin away.
The word succor (Greek boetheo), means “to come to the aid of” someone. How much easier it is to help someone when we ourselves have gone through similar trials! Christ as Man has fully suffered the greatest of trials and so can ably comfort (2 Cor. 1:3-5). These suffering Jews needed to hear that Christ had suffered as they were suffering.
Hebrews 2:17 “Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto [his] brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things [pertaining] to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”
“Reconciliation” or propitiation: The word means “to conciliate” or “satisfy.” Christ’s work of propitiation is related to His high-priestly ministry. By His partaking of a human nature, Christ demonstrated His mercy to mankind and His faithfulness to God by satisfying God’s requirement for sin and thus obtaining for His people full forgiveness (1 John 2:2; 4:10).
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
1 John 2:1 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”
Jesus is at the throne of God praying for us continually. He is our great High Priest.
John 17:9 “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.”
Jesus understands our problems and has given us permission to use His name to pray to the Father.
John 14:13 “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
Hebrews 2:18 “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.”
“Tempted”: The genuineness of Christ’s humility is demonstrated by the fact that He was subject to temptation. By experiencing temptation, Jesus became fully capable of understanding and sympathizing with His human brethren (4:15). He felt the full force of temptation.
Though we often yield means to make holy to temptation before we feel its full force, Jesus resisted temptation even when the greatest enticement for yielding had become evident (Luke 4:1-13).
1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].”
Jesus is our way of escape. It is a wonderful comfort to know that temptations that come can be overcome through the name of Jesus. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Hebrews Chapter 2 Continued Questions
- In Hebrews 2:9, who was Jesus made a little lower than?
- Why was Jesus made lower?
- “But made himself of no ___________”.
- Jesus was made in the likeness of whom for His stay on earth?
- Jesus was obedient to _____.
- Who has exalted Jesus above every name?
- What is Jesus called in Hebrews 2:10?
- The suffering Jesus Christ suffered was not because He deserved to suffer, but why?
- In Romans 8:17, we Christians are called what?
- What is the “if”, attached to this?
- What unpopular statement is made in 1 Thessalonians 3:4?
- Why is Jesus not ashamed to call us His brethren?
- In the 12th chapter of Matthew, we find out who Jesus’ brothers and sisters are, who are they?
- What does sanctifieth mean?
- We who are sanctified are what?
- When Father God looks at a Christian, what does He see?
- What makes the Christian righteous?
- What Scripture in Psalms is the same as the one in Hebrews 2:12?
- Why is it so important to confess Jesus here on the earth?
- Who is able to pluck us out of the Father’s hand?
- Men, in John 10:29, means what?
- What does manifested mean?
- Where did Jesus tell the people that His message came from?
- Why did Jesus take on the form of flesh?
- Where, in John, do we read about Jesus taking on the form of flesh?
- In Hebrews 4:15, what is Jesus called?
- Where did Jesus defeat Satan?
- The first Adam was made a living soul, the second Adam was made what?
- Why were we under bondage until Jesus came to save us?
- What is the name that only believers can use for God?
- We Christians have hope of the _____________ in Jesus.
- Jesus reconciled ___ to ___.
- In 1 John 2:1 Jesus is called what?
- Who does Jesus pray for?
- Jesus said that whatever we ask in His name, He would do it, why?
- What consolation can the Christian have when he or she is tempted?
- Resist the devil and he will ____ ____ ___.