Hebrews 2:5–18. Jesus Became Less Than the Angels.
Key Notes: Tasks of Christ as a human being. Jesus is our Brother and our High Priest. The fear of death.
Jesus is the highest revelation of God, being God Himself. He is higher than angels, yet He stooped to become less, to become a human being.
2:5–18. Jesus is described as a human being coming among us to accomplish a number of tasks, to:
bring many sons to glory
suffer death; taste death for everyone
be the Pioneer—the path-finder—of our salvation
inactivate Satan and the power of death
deliver us from the fear of death
become a merciful and faithful high priest
make the sin offering for the people
help those who are tempted.
Each of these phrases deserves a sermon. We hear a warning not to neglect our salvation. We also receive several comforts—-deliverance from the fear of death, and help when tempted. We will find many other warnings and comforts matched in Hebrews. Warnings and comforts are a major theme of the book.
2:5 “For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come of which we are speaking”-—but it was subjected to Christ. Angels are still in the discussion because Jesus, although much higher than they, lowered Himself to human level.
“The age to come of which we speak” usually means the time after Christ returns to govern. That is confirmed by the fact that all things are not yet subject to Him. 2:8
2:6–8 "What is man....?" This passage from Psa.8 speaks most directly of humans as a wonder of God’s creation. But the context here refers to Christ, God’s perfect Man. Nothing is outside of His control, yet not everything is in subjection to Him, namely rebellious human being. Humans can still refuse to bow the knee and honor Him as Lord.
The passage in the Psalms is not identified in the text, as is the case generally in Hebrews. The implication is that we should know the OT references.
2:9 We see Jesus, now lower than angels, crowned with glory and honor because He died, tasting death for everyone by the grace of God. Death and grace could hardly be mentioned in the same breath if it were not for God working through the Cross.
2:10 “He, for whom and by whole all things exist”… refers to Christ in Jn.1:3 and Col.1:16 but in no case may He be separated from the Father in regard to the creation. But here it is the Father who is spoken of as Creator. Making “the Pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering” is a task of God the Father with Jesus in a responding or subordinate role. Christ’s suffering on the Cross is His perfection as the pioneer of our salvation.
2:11–13 We are now introduced to Jesus as our fellow human being. We have the human same origin as He—-human birth. He is not ashamed to call His disciples “brethren”, as He did after the resurrection. Jn.20:17
The first reference is from Psa.22:22; after the prophecy of His suffering, there is a note of joy and celebration. The second reference is from Isa.8:18 where Isaiah says that God would protect the little remnant around him from the Assyrian invaders.
2:14 "He came to destroy...the devil”. The destruction of Satan is in three phases.
•He was bound during Jesus’ life, as evidenced by Jesus’ power over demons (Matt.12:29), and human adversaries.
•He was inactivated by Jesus’ death, since we are delivered from the power and guilt of sin and the fear of death. For us to be dead--absent from the body--is to be present with the Lord. IICor.5:6
•Satan’s final destruction is in the next aeon, when he is cast into the Lake of Fire. Rev.20:10
The fear of death is an almost universal bondage. Tyrants maintain power by threatening their subjects with suffering, torture and death. Mao Tse Tung said "Political power comes from the barrel of the gun." Christ's work changed that so that believers persecuted by the Romans cheerfully died rather than deny the Lord. And they won the victory.
2:16 He did not come to save angels. He is concerned with the descendants of Abraham. He came to minister to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Matt.10:6
2:17 In this verse, Jesus is introduced for the first time as high priest. He has two roles:
*to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Rom.3:25
*to help those who are tempted.
He is effective in these roles because He Himself was tempted.
It was a dizzying descent from the halls of heaven, below the angels, to the womb of a woman, to grow from infancy to manhood, to be tempted by the devil, cursed by those He came to save and die in agony as a criminal. And He did it for you because He loves you.
When you pray to Him, ask for help with your temptation, because He was tempted. And don’t hesitate to ask to be relieved of the fear of death. Deliverance is offered to you.