Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
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 in 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 revealed 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, and Jesus will someday return us to 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.