In Hebrews 2:5-8 it is difficult to sift through how much of what is being said refers to man, and how much of it refers to Jesus . It may well be that the writer, under the inspiration of God, speaks of both, but each at a their own level, yet within the same words. Rather than stating these are being said of Christ, and those are being said of man, it would be easier to study it as though they were being said of both Christ and man. SO that’s what we’ll do! Scriptures for reference in ESV and NKJV form.
V.5-6 “For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come…” – Looking at the human, 1 Corinthians 6:3 indicates that in the new heaven and the new earth men will judge angels. It is also stated that believers will reign with Christ . Now looking at Christ, this phrase refers to ‘the new world-order’ ushered in by the enthronement of Christ at the right hand of God. The ‘world-order’ over which He reigns from that place of exaltation, the ‘world of reality’ which replaces the previous world of shadows. It has been ushered in by Christ’s enthronement, although it has not yet been presented in its full glory. This ‘world to come’ is the kingdom of Christ. His church is not under the authority of angels, but under the authority of Jesus Christ. But not only is the church under the rule of Christ, but He is the Lord of Lords which every knee must bow, and which every tongue must acknowledge as Lord and Savior. This authority is on a far different level than the authority given to man. Man’s authority is a granted and established authority by God, and we are subject to the authority of Christ, given by grace, not merit. Christ’s authority is an authority by divine right.
Psalm 8 says ‘What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?‘ – Looking at the human, in relation to man this question is conclusively understood. It reminds us of the insignificance of man and the sinfulness of man. What reason is there that God should give any essence or connotation to man? Why should he care about us so greatly? None at all, God doesn’t need to, but He loves us and wants to have that. Now looking at Christ, because of the reference to ‘the son of man‘, some teachers believe this question also relates to Jesus Christ, (also known as ‘the Son of Man‘). This question seems a strange one to put to God about his respect for His son, because the Christ is exalted in the presence of God, and by God. On the other hand, the Son of Man is also the one of whom it was said: ‘we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted‘ in Isaiah. He is the servant who came to suffer and be rejected, giving his life as a ransom for many, and the one who cried, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” as He hung from the cross in which he was crucified upon. The deep mystery of the answer to this question ‘what is man … the son of man … ?’ unfolds as we read on through this chapter of Hebrews 2.
V.7-8 “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.” – Continuing on Psalm 8, in concordance with this section of Hebrews, it says, ‘You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet…‘. – Looking at the human, and speaking of man, both David and the writer of the book of Hebrews remind us that God created man in his own image, and gave him dominion over all other created things (Genesis 1:28). The second part of verse 8 indicates that God established everything on earth to be under man’s dominion, even though we do not see everything subject to man at this present time. The phrase ‘you made him a little lower than the angels‘ in the Hebrew text of is most naturally translated ‘you made him but little lower than God‘. The Greet text reads ‘you made him, for a short time, a little lower than the angels.’ The intention is to draw our attention to the high role and nature of man in God’s world. We recall that God created man ‘in his own image‘ and ‘after his own likeness‘ and gave him dominion over everything in the world (Genesis 1:26). Now, looking at Christ, in reference to Jesus this sentence speaks firstly of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, in which he who was God became a man, walking around camouflaged, clothed in human flesh, and limited to time and space. The second half of the sentence speaks of his advance to the right hand of God which we have already looked at in verse 5.
But while everything is ‘under him‘ not everything is willingly subject to him. He is on the throne at the right hand of God the Father but not everyone submits to his authority. The day when that will happen is yet to come. This rebellion against Jesus Christ, this rejection of his authority, is part and parcel of the current world we live in. This began in Genesis 3 and will come to its end in God’s good time. In the meantime we live in an over-lap of the ages – which are (1) since the coming of Christ we live in ‘these last days’ and (2) we also live in ‘the age to come‘. We live in a state which is already the kingdom of Christ, but we do not yet the ultimate realization of that kingdom. We are even now in his kingdom though we pray for his kingdom to come (Scripture reference).
V.9- “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…” – Here the writer leaves aside his two levels of speaking, and speaks only of Jesus Christ, and the importance of his humanity. We do not see man playing out the role for which God created him, but we see Jesus… We do not see man basking the favor and acceptance of God, but we see Jesus… We see Jesus, the one who was made as a man, and a little lower than the angels, the one who put aside his visible eternal glory, and became one of us… this real human Jesus… we now see the honor that is due to him because of what he did as man. Here he tells the Hebrews that Jesus is ‘crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.‘ Here the One True man, the man who lived as God ordained, so obeyed the will of God, so submitted to the authority of God, even to the point of dying to fulfill God’s plan of salvation for mankind. Because of that God has exalted Jesus Christ. Here is the reason, purpose, and result of Christ’s suffering in death;
1) God’s grace: God, in an act of incredible grace, sent his Son to die as a man, for man. We must never forget this reason for our salvation: God did not send Jesus to die for us because we deserved it; he did not send Jesus to die for us because he owed it to us. It is a totally gratuitous act. And it is totally an act and an initiative of God. God thought of it, God willed it, God desired it, God implemented it – totally apart from any thinking, willing, desiring, or action on our part. Our writer tells us that Jesus’ dying was ‘by the grace of God’. Because of God’s grace, Jesus does this incredible thing: he dies for us.
2) The purpose of this action of Christ is this: that he might taste death for everyone. Some limit the meaning of these words to mean that Christ needed to experience everything that we experience, so that he can understand us and our suffering. He did indeed do that, as we will see later. But such a limitation of the meaning of this phrase ignores the teaching of Jesus himself, and the apostles, on the significance of the death of Christ (click here).
Jesus ‘tastes’ death – not just in its physical aspect, but in its castigating and brutal aspect as the penalty for sin – as the ransom and intercession for ‘everyone‘ who accepts this gift.
3) The result of His actions is that those who receive him do not have to taste death, spiritual death or otherwise the eternal separation from God who is the source of life. This result is referred to in the next verse as ‘bringing many sons to glory‘ (click here)
V.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….” – What does all of this mean? It means that in ourselves, through our rebellion against God and our rejection of him, we have forfeited and rendered impossible our role as God’s image-bearers. As long as our back is towards God, as long as the sin-barrier is between us and God, we cannot see his glory, we cannot enjoy his glory, we cannot live in the presence of his glory (click here), and we cannot reflect his glory. When God reveals himself to us in his Son and when we, through God-given faith, receive Jesus Christ, in other words when God strips away our blindfold and we see the truth and glory of his Son (click here), and when he, at the moment of our believing, credits to us all the work of Christ on the cross, in which the sin-barrier falls and the chains are broken, then he brings us to glory. We see his glory, we rejoice in his glory, we can live in the presence of his glory, and we begin to reflect his glory. We begin again to fill and to enjoy that role for which we were initially created. ‘ God, for whom and through whom everything exists …’ The writer speaks of the Father, note the similar places in scripture where this description of the Father is used in comparison to the Son.” It was fitting that God…” should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Meaning it was the right and necessary thing to do in keeping with his righteous and perfect justice. ‘the author of their salvation‘ . Now ‘Author’ in KJV = ‘captain’ and in ESV = founder. The Greek word is ‘archegon‘ (the chief leader, prince, a predecessor, or pioneer) which is made of ‘arche’ (beginning, authority, prince, first place) and ‘ago’ (I lead or go). Thus, Jesus Christ, a prince whom authority is given from the beginning, was and is the pioneer and chief leader who leads us to our salvation.
‘He is the Savior who blazed the trail of salvation along which alone God’s ‘many sons‘ could be brought to glory. Man, created by God for His glory, was prevented by sin from attaining that glory until the Son of Man came and opened up by His death a new way by which man might reach the goal for which he was made. As His people’s representative and forerunner He has now entered into the presence of God to secure their entry there.’ – FF Bruce.
It was fitting that God should make the author of their, and our, salvation perfect through suffering. This does not mean that Jesus was not perfect until he was made ‘perfect through suffering’. We know that he was without sin, that there was no wrong with which the Jews could accuse him in His time. What he is saying is that in order to be the high priest for us, in order to stand in our place in the presence of God, in order to be a perfect representative and propitiation for us and our sins, it was justly right and proper for him to experience the sufferings that we all experience to be made perfect as our substitute.
‘In order to be a perfect high priest, a man must sympathize with those on whose behalf he acts, and he cannot sympathize with them unless he can enter into their experiences and share them for himself. Jesus did just this. – FF Bruce.
Thanks for joining us today and we hope to see you back again soon! God Bless!