Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
HEBREWS 2:8b “FOR IN THAT HE PUT ALL IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIM, HE LEFT NOTHING THAT IS NOT PUT UNDER HIM. BUT NOW WE SEE NOT YET ALL THINGS PUT UNDER HIM.”
God created man to rule creation, but since man rebelled against God; the creation has been allowed to rebel against man. We were made to be kings, but our crown is tarnished, our throne is stained. Instead of rest and ease, we have to labor and toil.
Man was meant to have dominion, but instead, as Paul rightly put it, “Sin hath reigned” (RM 5:21). Instead of being a race of sovereigns, we have been a race of murderers, liars, thieves, and gluttons. The story of humanity is not a pleasant one.
In viewing our world, it is easy to be pessimistic. Nature is in rebellion against us. We hear of earthquakes, floods, famines, and storms. We also groan over our rebellion against God. The news tells us of wars, oppression, cruelty, and selfishness.
We see folly, godlessness, and ineptness, all around us. It would be easy to adopt a position of fatalistic despair. Many do. Believers, however, see something, which rescues them from abject cynicism. We cast our gaze into another world, and the sight enraptures us. What is this heart-lifting sight? What can rescue me from an attitude of despondency? Our author says,
HEBREWS 2:9a “BUT WE SEE JESUS,”
There is power in the vision of Jesus. When bordering on despair, look at Jesus. It is possible for a picture to capture the essence of your being, and change your outlook and emotion.
I have a friend in Heaven. His picture is on my dresser mirror. Every time I see that picture, my thoughts enter a time warp and rush back to precious memories. Then my thoughts go into after burn and rush up to another world, where my mind enjoys precious reflections. There is power in a picture.
Recently I was visiting my Uncle Dan in Atlanta. He was showing me old family pictures. One so arrested my attention that I was almost unable to breathe. The thirty-year-old picture showed two men in the strength of their days talking with one another. The men were my grandfathers. Both of my grandfathers were Baptist preachers, and both are in Heaven. There they were, health, strong, and together in a picture. Looking at them, seeing them talk to one another—it seemed as though all the world came to a halt. I was arrested, captivated, by a picture.
Our author wants us to have a similar experience. All around is chaos and disorder. Trouble besets on every hand. Do not obsess yourself with these things. Look up, and see Jesus. The text is not referring to dreams or visions, nor is the writer saying we should use the eye of faith.
Catch the power of the portrait of Jesus hung up in the human soul. Whenever you enter the room of trouble, notice Him. His eyes are following you wherever you walk in that room.
We see Jesus. He sees us. And in that truth we find indescribable consolation. Why? The picture on my dresser is special because I associate pleasant memories with that person. The picture of my grandfathers is priceless because of the role they played in my life. What associations do we put with Jesus that make His vision so special? Our text provides three reasons.
HEBREWS 2:9b “WHO WAS MADE A LITTLE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS FOR THE SUFFERING OF DEATH,”
The sight of Jesus is precious to us, first of all, because in Him we see one of us. I can relate to Jesus. He took upon Himself my flesh. He lived in our world and shared our plight.
The Lord Jesus even consented to the ultimate sign of human frailty, death itself. His death was no accident. It was the very purpose of His becoming man. Dying, more than anything else, revealed that Jesus truly had become one of us.
A Moravian missionary went to preach Christ to the slaves of the West Indies. However, these natives were so cruelly treated, so hard-worked, and so mercilessly flogged, that they refused to listen to any white man. They so hated the race of their oppressors that the missionary could not get a hearing. They would not listen to him. The missionary’s heart was broken for the slaves. He desperately sought a way to reach them with the Gospel.
Finally, he found a way to overcome the difficulty. He sold himself into slavery. The missionary became one with them. He shared their plight and endured their sufferings. Thus he won his way into their hearts. Even so Christ became like us. He stooped to our low estate. He is still one of us. Jesus is a man, and always shall be. His humanity was not transitory. Forevermore the human is part of His nature. He knows me and relates to me, He is my precious friend. Seeing Him comforts me.
HEBREWS 2:9c “CROWNED WITH GLORY AND HONOR;”
The sight of Jesus is precious to us, secondly, because in Him we see majesty. The crown of thorns we gave Him was but a prelude to the crown of glory given to Him by the Father.
Jews could not tolerate the thought of a dying Messiah. The cross was a stumbling block to the Jews. They attach stigma to Jesus’ death, but we see it as the entrance to His glory.
The cross needs no apology. We do not try to hide it. To us it is His glory. It magnifies Jesus. Knowing that God became a man and died does not make me ashamed of God. It makes me want to shout hosannas to His name.
We look up and see Jesus crowned with glory and honor. Notice that this is what man originally received. We were crowned with glory and honor (v. 2:7b). In other words, Jesus is true manhood, man as God meant him to be.
Sovereignty was promised to man, and finds its fulfillment in Jesus. All the good that is missing in this world, we find in Jesus. Jesus is everything man ever hoped to be. Refuse to take any other man as your highest and greatest model. What Jesus was on Earth, and what He is in Heaven, are what men ought to be.
I find great comfort in knowing that One of my flesh and One who knows my situation is now crowned with glory and honor. Next time you gaze toward Heaven, remember that a man, One of us, is at God’s right hand interceding for us. There is a Man up there, who knows how you feel and knows your hurts.
God has crowned Jesus with glory and honor. Have you? Is He seated on the throne of your life? Roman ambassadors came to visit Ptolemy, King of Egypt. He gave each visitor a crown of gold. Next morning, however, the crowns were found on the heads of various statues of the king, which adorned the royal city. The ambassadors thus showed humility and gave honor to the king.
You, too, need to give honor to the King. Your greatest joy must be seeing Jesus crowned in your heart with glory and honor.
HEBREWS 2:9d “THAT HE BY THE GRACE OF GOD SHOULD TASTE DEATH FOR EVERY MAN.”
The sight of Jesus is precious, thirdly, because in Him we see love. In Jesus we see the love of God the Father. The Father was not angry with man or His son. Love caused the death of Jesus. Grace is the source of all our salvation. A Jew scorns the cross, but our author responds, “It is grace, not disgrace.”
Nothing outside of God moved Him to offer his Son. It was solely by His good pleasure. God prompted it. The self-sacrifice of Jesus needs no apology. It speaks for itself. In Jesus we see the love of God the Father. In Jesus we also see the love His death reaches all the way to us and says, “I love you.”
In looking at Jesus, I see nail prints, a spear wound, a thorn-scarred brow. These bespeak my worth in the eyes of Jesus. See Jesus, and revel in the sight. The ocean of His love is infinite in depth, but never quit trying to dredge it or fathom it. Never lose your fascination over what Jesus has done for us.
It is an unspeakable love. God the father prepared the position for the Son to drink. Death was in the cup. Jesus put it to His lips and immediately recognized the taste—it was death, a bitter draught indeed. Socrates, condemned to death, took the hemlock cup. It contained enough poison to kill one man. With untrembling hand, Socrates drank it dry. The cup Jesus drank was filled with enough death, hell and punishment to kill and humanity. Nevertheless, Jesus received it and drank it dry.
O blessed Substitution! A world of criminals was headed for execution, but suddenly the king’s own son stepped forth to die for them. The Good Samaritan stooped to pour out His own blood as a healing balm for our wounds. Trajan would tear his clothes to bind up his soldier’s wounds. Christ tore His own flesh to bind up ours. We see Jesus, and the sight is precious.
Heb. 2:10 Introduction
The cross was (and is) a stumbling block to unbelieving Jews. However, to all who believe, the cross is the steppingstone to Heaven. We do not despise the cross. We lovingly kiss it. Thus our author continues his effort to remove scandal from the cross.
Heb. 2:10a “For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things,..”
All things are “for” God the Father, and “by” Him. Nothing surprises Him, in everything He accomplishes His purposes. We do not understand all the methods of His government. His ways are “past finding out.” However, we have insight enough to see that the plan of salvation He devised for us “became Him.” The cross was a fitting thing for Him to do. It was consistent with His character. “Never was God more Godlike than when, in the person of Jesus, He was crucified for our sins” (Pink).
It was becoming of God, who is love, to do this amazing thing. Only a God of love could conceive such a plan, and carry it to fruition.
Heb. 2:10b “…in bringing many sons unto glory,…”It is hard to know which is more amazing: God allowing His only begotten Son to come from Heaven to Earth, or God allowing adopted sons to come from Earth to Heaven. Our plan of salvation “becomes” God, for only a God of love would want us in Heaven.
Believers will someday share the majesty, which belongs to God. We are headed for glory, which is exactly what Jesus has now (v. 9). When this is accomplished, men shall finally be all they were originally meant to be (v. 7). Though created to have glory, rebellion tarnished our crown (v.8). But someday, everything God meant for man shall belong to those in Jesus.
This truth must infuriate the Devil. Demons have stomped us, humiliated us, lured us into evil—it must be frustrating for demons to know that the lowly creatures of Earth they have pushed around for millennia will someday sit on thrones next to God. No wonder Satan hates us. He will sink in the bottomless pit forever, and roast in never ending flames, but believers are going to bask in glory.
Our coming glory not only infuriates demons, it must also intrigue angels. Glorified saints will someday be the most remarkable creatures in all of God’s creation. God, for whom and by whom all things were created, has so ordered creation, that sinners saved by grace shall ultimately be His premiere showcases. We will be more amazing than angels.
Had God made men perfectly glorious from the beginning, we never would have had an opportunity to sin, and therefore never could have fully experienced the condescending love of God. Had God forgiven us without atonement, we never could have fully understood His justice. However, we have not been glorious, and we have received atonement. Therefore, we will forever have a better grasp of God’s love and justice than do the angels.
Angels may have been created happy, but we have been redeemed. They do not know what it is like to fall, and be lifted by a loving hand. Angels do not know what evil is, but we have known it to the full, and will someday have the unequalled feeling of knowing what it means to be set free from evil.
Angels never knew pain, they cannot revel in the knowledge of “no more tears.” Only men can appreciate the absence of tear ducts. Angels know nothing of grief and death. Man alone shall be able to praise forever the One who rescues from the plagues. We shall be creatures who have everything, but know we deserve nothing. We shall feel deeper gratitude to God than angels can feel.
Heb. 2:10c “…to make the Captain of their salvation…”
The word “archegos” (KJV: Captain) refers to a leader, a pioneer who blazes a trail for others to follow. Jesus, champion of our spiritual warfare, opened for us the road to glory. He blazed the trail of salvation on which “many sons” travel to Glory. As captain, Jesus leads his soldiers. He never stands at the rear giving orders. He is out front, guiding us.
The father “brings” the sons to Glory (v. 10b), but they can only be brought if someone goes where they are to get them. God the Son, who dwelt among us, is our File-leader, our Pathfinder. The father brings us home through the leadership of the Son.
Heb. 2:10d “…perfect through sufferings.”
Let us immediately remember that Jesus had no moral faults. Our text simply means that through suffering Jesus became exactly the kind of Captain mankind needed.
A true Captain must live among His soldiers; He must share their experiences. This is one reason ministers of the Gospel have to suffer. They thereby can better relate to the hurts of their people.
It is the lot of men to suffer. We live in a world of trouble and sorrow. If one wants to be out leader, He too must suffer. We want a friend, someone who shares our hurts. Since Jesus was meant to be our Captain, He had to travel the same road taken by His followers.
He experienced no exemption from the hardships of His army.
“In every pang that rends the heart
The man of sorrows had a part.”
He has felt all we feel. We can even be so bold as to say that Jesus suffered worse than any of us has ever suffered. “We can go through no darker rooms than He went through before.”
Have you lost this world’s goods? Jesus lost the goods of Heaven. Have you known hunger? Jesus went forty days without food. Do you struggle with temptation? Jesus endured it to the point of sweating drops of blood. Do you know pain? Jesus laid Himself upon the altar as a whole burnt sacrifice.
His suffering was made worse by the knowledge that, at any moment, he could end the pain by merely expressing a wish. He never yielded to that temptation. He wanted to be a Captain we could trust. He wanted us to have no doubts about His ability to hurt with us in our time of need. He is the Perfect Captain.
Heb. 2:10 Conclusion
The Devil tripped man in Eden. As a result, suffering entered the world, and humanity began a Hell ward course. Because of the evil one, suffering men had to fear everlasting Hell.
It was only appropriate, very becoming of Him, that God would divert the destiny of men from Hell to Heaven through the agency of a suffering man. Suffering humanity, a curse of the devil’s doing, was turned by God into an ultimate blessing.
Satan is forced to see his own cause defeated in the very realm, which he created. Suffering humanity is Satan’s creation. God entered that realm. He became a suffering man, and in that cloak our Captain attacked the Devil.
Demons boast, “Man is ours. We humbled him. Suffering is ours. We caused it.” However, God crushed the demons on their own territory. “Looking upwards from their beds of fire where they bite their iron bands in vain, how will they see the wisdom and power of God as more than a match for the wisdom and might of their leader” (Spurgeon).
It was becoming of God to let Jesus suffer. It provided us a Perfect Leader. “Glorious Captain! Who would not follow thee?” It is becoming of all men to follow Jesus.
Heb. 2:11a “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified…”
These words further describe the Captain and his followers. Jesus is our Captain. He blazed the trail of salvation and has gone before us to Heaven, where we will someday join Him.
We must not, however, think Jesus has deserted us. He not only opened the way of salvation and awaits us at the end of our journey. Jesus is also with us along the journey of life. He not only saves us, but also helps us act like we are saved.
Christ our Captain is also our sanctifier, the One who daily makes us more like God. Sanctification is the ongoing work of salvation, which makes us more and more like the Lord.
Bringing men closer to God is not only a task Jesus will perform in the distant future. He is always making us more like what we ultimately will be. Sanctification is glorification in embryo, glorification is sanctification consummated.
Heb. 2:11b “… are all of one;…”Jesus and His followers are joined together, of one bond. They have a common parentage, God the Father. Jesus is begotten; we are adopted, the result being we are of the same family.
This helps explain why Jesus takes time to sanctify us. We are in His family, and He wants us to have the family likeness. God the Father and God the Son are holy, we must be, also. Our family connection also produces another wondrous result…
Heb. 2:11c “…for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren,…”Since we share a common Father with Him, Jesus Christ, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, is not ashamed to call believers His brothers. He could justifiably reject us as strangers, but instead readily and cheerfully acknowledges us as brethren.
When the Bible speaks of us as saints, the emphasis is on our holiness. When called believers, the reference is to our faith. “Disciples” emphasizes our need to learn of Christ. “Brethren” is the word of love. It bespeaks condescion.
We have nothing of which to brag, but Jesus is not ashamed to claim us. Others may hate us, but Jesus says, “I love you.” We are poor and in rags, but Jesus does not pass us by. The world scorns us, but Christ says, “These are my brothers and sisters, children of My Father.”
This wondrous love requires three responses from us. First, since He is not ashamed of us, let us do nothing to shame Him. God help us never to bring scandal upon the Name of Jesus.
Second, since He is not ashamed of us, we should not be ashamed of one another. We all have enough dirt clinging to us to keep us from being too critical of fellow believers.
Third, since He is not ashamed of us, we must not be ashamed of Him. We all often act as if we are ashamed of Jesus. He is not ashamed to call us His, but we are ashamed to call Him ours. Few can honestly say, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.”
In the everyday world, evil men gladly seduce others toward Satan and evil, but believers are often ashamed to exhort men to Christ and good. In the public sphere, people are more likely to hear Christ’s name taken in vain than to hear it in a positive way. God’s name is used more in cursing than in witnessing.
We claim not to be ashamed of Jesus, but keep our profession a secret, as if He were some kind of a criminal. In fact, if He were a criminal, some believers could not speak less of Him than they do now. If He were still hanging on the cross, we might be justified as being hesitant to speak to Him. However, He is a risen Lord, and our lack of speech on His behalf proves we are ashamed of Him, no matter what we claim to the contrary. Our conduct on behalf of Jesus is a shame to us all.
Heb. 2:12 “SAYING, I WILL DECLARE THY NAME UNTO MY BRETHREN, IN THE MIDST OF THE CHURCH WILL I SING PRAISE UNTO THEE.”
The Jews could hardly accept God calling men brethren. To support his belief, our writer quotes an Old Testament passage. He uses Psalm 22 (v. 22), universally viewed as messianic.
The passage pictures the Messiah as coming to men to reveal the character of God. Then, the Messiah stands among men as one of them, leading in a chorus of praise to God the Father. This is what Jesus did. He reveled God to us, not by standing aloof, but by coming into our very midst. He became one of us, entered our flesh, our prison, our furnace, and identified with us.
Isaiah the prophet had his words rejected by Israel. He did not, however, despair. He put his trust in YHWH (Isaiah 8:17). What the one prophet did also applied to the ultimate Prophet. Christ was rejected by Israel, but trusted in the Father.
Jesus is the perfect One to sanctify us. He showed in His own life how sanctification is achieved. He taught us that a godly life is achieved by faith. His absolute perfection was due to a life of continual dependence upon God. He always had a conscious need of power derived from a Source other than Himself. Jesus always looked to another for His strength. He limited His own divinity, and lived by the exercise of faith.
For Jesus’ manhood to be real it had to be a dependent existence. Had He not lived by faith He would not have been human. Our Captain, Sanctifier, and Worship-Leader was not half man or semi-man. Jesus had to trust. That proves He was human. He was a true man, taking weakness upon Himself, and enduring pain. He won victories the same way we do, claiming the power of God available to faith. His was the same faith we must have. “The staff that He leaned on He has bequeathed to us” (Maclaren).
Heb. 2:13b “And again, BEHOLD I AND THE CHILDREN WHICH GOD HATH GIVEN ME.”
In Isaiah’s life (8:18), we see another even foreshadowing what happened to the Messiah. Isaiah’s words were rejected by the masses, but the message was carried on through the prophet and his sons. A remnant remained faithful.
Even so, Jesus was rejected by the nation at large, but some nevertheless believed. The Church’s existence proves to men they have not heard the last of Jesus of Nazareth. The message keeps going on. Believers are God’s gift to Jesus, the Father’s way of assuring that the memory of His Son will never be forgotten on Earth. Jesus represents us in Heaven, we represent Him on earth.
Jesus is our Captain who suffered, our Sanctifier, our Worship-Leader, our Example in faith, and He is not ashamed of us. We are precious to Him for we are His gift from His Father.
A godly Christian mother lay dying, and asked that all her children be brought to her side. Beginning with the eldest, she put her loving hands on each child’s head, and gave a parting blessing and admonition. The seventh child was too young to understand the things of God. She took the baby to her bosom, and kissed it and caressed it until her time was nearly gone. She then gave the child to her husband, and said, “I charge you to bring all these children home to Heaven with you.” She had given him children as a gift, they were also his responsibility.
Even so, God the Father gives us to Jesus as a gift and as a responsibility. We live for Jesus here, and Jesus will bring us safely to the Father. We are Christ’s representatives, His brethren, His family, and someday He will present the family unit as a whole to the Father. We are safe! Not a one of us shall ever be lost.