In Hebrews 2:11 – 3:6 we are continuing the study on the Nature of Jesus Christ, and looking further into the dual references of man, and of Christ, in this writers’ letter to the Hebrews. Remember both man and Christ are being spoken of, but on 2 separate levels, for Christ is the ‘Lord of Lords’ and we as man are not. For reference; here are the ESV and the NKJV scripture texts for this section of the study an Beautiful Exchange.
V.11-18 – “For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source…” – Sanctify means to purify, or to make holy, but there are three ways;  to cleanse externally,  to purify by expiation (free from the guilt of sin),  to purify internally by renewing of the soul.
(1) V.11 – So Jesus is here referred to basically as ‘the one who makes men holy‘. Ourselves, as Christians and followers/believers in Christ Jesus are ‘those who are made holy‘. This section speaks repetitively of the tangible and necessary humanity of Jesus Christ, and such is as follows; (1) ‘of the same family’, (2) ‘not ashamed to call them brothers’, (3) ‘I will declare your name to my brothers …’, (4) ‘in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.’, (5) ‘I will put my trust in him’,(6) ‘he too shared their humanity (flesh and blood)’, (7) ‘he had to be made like his brothers in every way’… In overview, Jesus here identifies with us, that his family is our family; we are his brothers; he joins the human congregation of those praising God; he puts his trust in God; he fully shares our flesh and blood; and he is like us in every way.
These verses also speak of our salvation in a number of ways as result of His obedience; (1) Christ makes us holy (v.11). This wondrous concept is also stated in; (1) Hebrews 10:10 ‘…and by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…’ (2) Ephesians 1:4 ‘…He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight…’ (3) Colossians 1:22 ‘…he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation…’
‘Holy‘ has many meaning depending on the word with which it is paired up with. In reference to God it encompasses His uniqueness and otherness, being totally separate and distinct from all else that is. In reference to the tabernacle, or temple, and all it’s furnishings ‘holy‘ meant for sacred use only. In reference to us, to those who are made ‘holy‘ by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, it means that we are set apart by him and for him, his own special treasure that is distinct and separated. Part of that distinction and separation consists of spotless purity.In anticipation of what the writer will say later, he depicts the Christian believer as being ‘made holy‘. This is not a state of actual sinless-ness; which is made clear in the Scripture, but what it is will become evident later on.
(2) v.13 – God ‘gives us to Christ‘. The writer puts the words of Isaiah 8:18 into Jesus’ mouth. Telling us that those who follow Christ are ‘the children God has given me…‘. This ties in with Jesus’ prayer in John 17; in verse 2 ‘…since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him…’ also in verse 6 ‘…I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world…’. It is also expressed in other words by Jesus throughout the Gospel of John here. The point was not to expand on this truth, but to expand on the true and necessary humanity of Jesus. The writers’ point is that Jesus shared the same humanity, flesh, and blood as the ‘children‘ God gave to him.
(3) v.14 – Christ ‘…destroys him who holds the power of death, that is, the devil…’ Because he is truly human, true flesh, and true blood – Jesus is able to experience death. For this very purpose he came: ‘so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death.’ Here the writer focuses on the aftermath and result the death of Jesus had on Satan. This victory over Satan and his accomplices is described in Colossians 2:15 ‘… having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross..‘ In these words Paul uses the diction which was used to describe the ultimate defeat of a city by a conquering general. The invading victor would march the leaders of a conquered city through their own city, and they were strung together with fishhooks through their noses, this demonstrated to the general population their outright defeat. Such is like the victory of Christ over Satan and his demonic powers by the cross.
(4) v.15 – Christ ‘…frees those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death…‘. Here is on the effect of Jesus’ death on us, man. By destroying Satan, who holds the power of death, Jesus Christ frees us from the fear, slavery, and bondage of death in sin. Compare the following verses Romans 5:17, Romans 5:21, Romans 8:2, 1 Corinthians 15:55-57. The real human death of Jesus now liberates people from the autocratic reign of death.
(5) v.16 – Christ ‘…helps Abraham’s descendants…‘. Abraham’s descendants are, Firstly – it was humans, not angels, whom Jesus came to rescue. Secondly – Abraham’s descendants are not limited to his physical descendants, nor are all of the physical descendants of Abraham defined by the Bible as the true, spiritual, descendants of Abraham. For more on the Covenant with Abraham here are some Scripture References.
(6) v.17 – Christ ‘…became a merciful and faithful high priest…‘ in His service to God. The writer once again introduces a concept which he explains in detail later. But here the point made is that in order to represent us and mediate for us in the presence of God as our high priest, it was essential for Jesus to become one of us in flesh and blood – just like us. Note in that he is a ‘merciful‘ and ‘faithful‘ high priest.
(7) v.17 – Christ ‘…made atonement for the sins of the people…‘. Not only was real humanity necessary for Jesus to even qualify as our merciful and faithful high priest, it was also needed to qualify Him to make atonement for us and wipe away our sin in the sight of God. In other word Jesus had to live a life like us, experience the life, temptation, emotions, etc… we experienced, and had to be brutally beaten, horrendously punished, and die the ultimate excruciating death (taking upon him all the worlds sin that was, and is, and is yet to come) in order for Him to turn God’s wrath away from us. How he made that atonement, how he turns God’s wrath away from us, is also fully explained in more detail later on.
(8) v.18 – Because ‘…he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted…‘. In the context of this letter, certainly in the whole of Scripture, ‘tempted‘ has a much deeper significance than ‘temptation to commit a moral sin‘. Only a small handful of Biblical references to temptation are relative to ‘moral temptations‘. The large majority of the word refers to our fleshly and worldly desire that pressures us to ‘give in‘, or pressuring us to ‘give up‘ on one’s faith and deny the Lord. Here in the letter to the Hebrews the writer’s whole purpose is to prevent them from doing just that. Pressured by the Jews to return to full devotion and trust of the traditional Jewish ritual laws. Also they were pressured by physical persecution by the hands of the Romans (and also some Jews) to outright deny their faith in Jesus Christ the Lord of Lords. No just think and imagine yourself in these desperate times of suffering and loss of hope, you could see how convenient and easy it would have been to just give up, give in, and toss in the Jesus towel. The writer is comforting them by identifying that Jesus suffered the same kind of pressure as they did. He knows how the feel and how they are thinking. But reassuring them how He survived and triumphed over it. He not only made the atonement for their sins, but also understands, supports, aids and intercedes for those sins.
V.3:1-6 – Having told the readers that Jesus is the eternal Divine Son (1:1-3), that this Son is far greater than, and far above, the angels (1:4-14), warning them to not turn aside from the salvation which was mediated on by this Son (2:1-4), describing the real humanity of Jesus (2:5-18) and now his resultant adequacy as high priest to represent and intercede for man in the presence of God (2:14-18), the writer now warns them again of the pure essence of keeping their faith focused on Jesus Christ alone….
(1) He addresses them as those who have genuinely trusted in Christ, they are ‘holy brothers who share in the heavenly calling‘ and they ‘confess‘, or in other words they profess, in Jesus Christ – verse 3:1. (2) He urges them to‘fix your thoughts on Jesus‘, or n other words consider Jesus Christ and to not even contemplate returning to the old ritual salvation from which they have been freed from by Christ – verse 3:1. (3) The writer refers to Jesus as ‘the apostle and high priest‘ drawing the readers ears, eyes, and hearts to the two roles that Christ performed upon as God’s messenger to us (referenced here) and as our propitiation in the presence of God (referenced here) – verse 3:1. (4) He then refers to the faithfulness of Moses and the superior faithfulness of Christ verses 3:2-6. Both were faithful to the one who appointed and established them, but Christ is worthy of greater honor than Moses on two counts; the first – Moses was apart of the ‘house‘ whereas Christ was the builder of the ‘house‘, the second – Moses was a servant in God’s ‘house‘ whereas Christ is a Son over God’s ‘house‘. (5) The writer then includes himself, and his readers, as the building blocks of God’s house – verse 3:6 and also referenced in 1 Peter 2. (6) We learn that this ‘house‘ of God, of which God and Jesus Christ are the builders, includes all genuine believers from both the before Christ and after Christ eras. (7) He states a stipulation that ‘we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast‘ bringing us right back to his warning in verse 3:1 to ‘fix your thoughts on Jesus‘. Like the other warnings in Hebrews this stipulation is not intended to teach us that salvation can be lost. Rather its main intent is to encourage those who believe in Jesus Christ to hold fast to the truth of the Word, because that is what faith does. Failure to to do so is one of many other indicators that there possibly was no genuine faith in Christ to begin with. If that is you do not lose hope or tun away from Christ, for as we have learned that is a dangerous and destructive road to be found on. Instead continue reading your Bible, listening to pod-casts, reading online Bible studies, and going to Church. Also continue praying and asking God for wisdom to come onto your heart and soul – so that you may understand what it means to be a true follower of Christ, rather than the contrary of being just a fan. Only those whose apparent faith is not genuine, will let go of their faith. This will be further expanded in a later study. So be steadfast in your faith to Jesus Christ, do not waiver but take captive your thoughts, focusing on the promises made to you by God, and staying strong in your faith in the Lord.
Thank You for taking the time to read and join the study A Beautiful Exchange. The next study will be posted soon as we continue through the book of Hebrews, discovering the meanings of the Sacrifice of Christ and also His Divine sovereignty. God Bless!