July 31, 2020
For the next 13 days we will be spending time together walking through the book of Hebrews! Hebrews is written to Jewish Christians who were undergoing persecution for their faith and considering running back to Judaism. The author of Hebrews takes an in-depth look at the practices and regulations of the Old Testament as articulated in the Torah and argues for how Jesus is both superior to each of them and supreme over all of them! The author also warns his audience of the grave danger facing them should they choose to now reject Jesus and return to their former way of life. These warnings can and should make us feel uncomfortable as we read through the book together; allow the Spirit to do what He wants to do in your heart through them! Overall, the message of Hebrews is that Jesus, the Son of God as well as our Savior and Messiah, is infinitely superior to anything or anyone else we could give our lives to, and He is worthy of all our devotion and worship. Jesus is greater!
This chapter begins with the first of the author’s warnings to his audience. He has just finished arguing that Jesus is greater than the angels and therefore the revelation which is in Him is greater than that which was delivered by the angels (i.e. the Law of Moses). He now warns that, if those who disobeyed the Law of Moses were punished for their transgression, how much greater will the retribution be against us if we neglect the far greater revelation which is in Christ, this great salvation which is in Him alone!?
This warning should cause us to pause and consider: have we somehow neglected this great salvation? Have we truly and fully surrendered to the absolute authority of Jesus over our lives? Have we truly given ourselves and our all over to Him? Consider this warning carefully; the author is clear that those who fail to heed it will not escape.
The author then goes on to complete his case for the superiority of Jesus over the angels. This time he uses the Old Testament to point to the supreme rule of Jesus over everything! Because Jesus willingly took on flesh and humbled Himself to the point of death, the Father crowned Him with the highest glory and honor and put all things in subjection under Him! Jesus holds all the authority and all the glory, far above the angels!
The end of this chapter is very good news for us. After explaining how Jesus had to be made like us (humans) in order to accomplish God’s purposes in salvation, he says that Jesus’ death on the cross not only atoned for all of our sins, and not only did He taste death in order that we might not have to, but it also made Him a great high priest for us so that He is now the mediator between us and God!
The author tells us that “because he himself suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (v.18). Jesus is able to help us in our weakness because He not only experienced weakness for Himself but also overcame it once and for all! Let’s celebrate His victory and His priesthood on our behalf today!
Warning Against Neglecting Salvation
2 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
The Founder of Salvation
5 For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6 It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
7 You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,
8 putting everything in subjection under his feet.”
Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely 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.
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. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,
“I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
13 And again,
“I will put my trust in him.”
“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”
14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Family Discussion Question:
- How does the warning in verses 1-4 make you feel? How might the Lord be calling you to repent, to change, and to seek the mercy of our great high priest, Jesus, through this passage?