Hebrews Chapter 2 is where we are going to be. I want you to know this Book for me, I think I’ve shared this with you, this is an incredible Book of Scriptures written predominantly really to the Jews, but what it does, it’s beautiful for just any believer in Christ. What it does, is it takes the picture of all of Scripture, and if you see these stories throughout the Bible, sometimes we look at these things, maybe if you grew up in church you hear these stories taught in Sunday school class and growing up sometimes you see these different pictures, different stories. God’s really God a universal theme that really it culminates together, and the grander story of what Jesus accomplishes in Himself for us.
The Book of Hebrews takes all of these pieces, these ideas within Scripture, ties it together and shows us why it’s important. It takes big themes throughout the Old Testament, the practices of the Jewish people, and shows us why it matters, how it all finds itself its intentions and purposes in Jesus. If you were here for the first chapter, we started off with some big ideas where we talked about Jesus being greater than the prophets and kings because really all prophets, it tells us in the first couple verses, all prophets were pointing to Him. He is the culmination of revelation. It says in the last days, God speaks to us in Jesus.
When I just said bluntly to you in the last couple of weeks, I’m not following a prophet. What I follow in my life is Christ because He is the culmination of all things and everything revealed in Him. He is the final revelation. God calls me into personal relationship because of what Jesus has done for me on the cross. He is the culmination of everything. On top of that, He is Warrior God King, not just an angel but literal God in the flesh. Hebrews 1 tells us He is the exact imprint of the Father.
What we’re going to see in these first two chapters is really the big positional places in Israel, the places of prominence among the people, the prophet, priest and king. All of those are talked about in the first couple chapters. Now, he lays into the idea of high priest and how Jesus is our high priest throughout this Book, so I’m going to build on that a little bit. You see those positions talked about in these first two chapters culminating in Christ and what that means for us.
It goes beyond that. We’re going to see in the coming weeks the idea of Sabbath, Temples, why Christians don’t build temples, what the law is. We’re going to get a foundation for all of those things, have a proper perspective on what they meant in the Old Testament, how it relates to us today and where we can rest our faith because of that. Beautiful things laid out in this Book. For me, every chapter just builds and builds and builds. My excitement as I go through this Book, I am so happy to be past Chapter 1 because we get to talk about Chapter 2. Man, I want Chapter 3 already. This Book for me, beautiful Book and all of that.
The author, when we start off Chapter 2, and by the way the author is Paul and if you don’t agree with me you’re wrong. I’m joking if you weren’t here for that. Chapter 2, he really starts off these first four verses laying on the foundation of what he has already discussed in Chapter 1. I’m going to just jump right into it and help us to understand how to think through this passage.
He says this, for this reason, we must pay much closer attention for what we have heard so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proves unalterable and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation after it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard. God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.
It starts off this passage. It’s recognizing that really I think it’s saying this is written to believers. We can take this word we and debate it a little bit. It’s saying we, we, we. Whoever is writing this, they’re putting themselves in this position. As a Jewish individual, he could just be talking to the Jews in general, but I think it’s more specific. It’s those who have put their faith into Jesus that he’s described in the first chapter.
We talked about the author recognized that there is persecution about to take place in the church. For the first 250 years of Christianity, 125 of those could have cost you your life in following Christ. At the end of the day, when you make a decision to follow Jesus, you need to really know that you can rest firm in Him because it could cost you. Quite frankly, it could cost you your life especially when it was written.
They’re saying, this is what we need to do as a body of believers according to what was taught to us. This is what he encourages them not to do. He says, that we do not need to drift away from. The foundation of what’s been taught, he describes as what could happen in the life of a Christian is that we start to drift from it. He says for the believer, look, this is not necessarily an open rebellion that will pull us from Jesus, but rather more of an aimless, gradual, unintentional moving away from what we know matters.
I think this is just an important place to start to think through this text and what the author is saying. Anything that you do as a follower of Jesus we need to remind ourselves why. What is it that you rest on in such a firm foundation? In fact, not only does he say we don’t need to drift, but rather the opposite of that. We need to pay much closer attention. We need to pay attention to this and to not neglect this salvation. Why you do what you do matters. It’s the identity of who you are.
When he talks about not neglecting the salvation, salvation is such a cliché word in Christianity. I mean, typically this is the way. At least in some scenarios I’ve heard it taught, you don’t want hell right? You want heaven. Yeah, I don’t want hell. I want heaven. Okay, then take Jesus. Okay. I’ll take Jesus because I simply want heaven. Jesus is more used like a get out of free hell card. You take this idea of salvation and then this is the way we treat it. Okay. Now that I’m saved, now I can just move on with my life. That’s not the way that the Bible explains really the picture of what salvation is. Salvation has everything to do with your new identity in Jesus. It’s where Christians shape their worth, value, meaning and purpose in life.
The Gospel isn’t something proclaimed to you that you embrace and then move on with your life. The Gospel is something that defines you every day of your life, because Jesus has placed your significant worth and value on what He has accomplished for you on the cross. This morning for you. I could just tell you, man, I’m happy you’re here. The reason I’m happy you’re here is you’re worthy of love and belonging. It’s not because of anything that you’ve done or haven’t done, but rather it’s because of what Jesus has done for you.
That rescuing, that salvation, shapes your identity every day. It becomes who you are in Christ. You take on, you’re going to see within the context of this passage, that Jesus is going to become flesh. He is going to serve you so that He can call you, it says in this passage, brethren, so that you belong to His kingdom. That very much shapes your identity.
Salvation isn’t just something that happened to us. It is what we belong in every day. Jesus continually rescuing us in Him, giving us identity, purpose, value, meaning. It’s where we go to to define so we don’t drift, but rather we pay closer attention because of what Christ has done for us. It’s where we remind ourselves why. Why we do what we do.
Anyone that’s ever accomplished anything great for Jesus, I don’t think that they did it just randomly. I think they never got over where they are positionally in Christ. Doing anything great for God, I think really two things drive a person’s life. I think it’s burden and passion. They have a burden in their life because of the destruction of sin. They see need. They wear that because they have a care for it, because they’ve seen the way Jesus has cared for them. In that burden, they find this passion to be a light.
In your Christian life, things are going to come at you from different angels. Maybe things that you never expect and it can knock you off your horse, but what causes you to get back on it? You never forget why. This passion and burden motivated in the Gospel of what Christ has done. This identity in Him, because apart from Him, where was your worth and value? I mean, God created you for him and apart from Him you can never discover it. At best, all humanity is left with is trying to find the purpose for their existence based on what they do. We say it here often as a church family. No matter you do that you think is great, someone is always going to do it better. What happens if you’re in the room with them? You’re worth less? No. Your value isn’t based on what you do. It’s who you are and who you are is defined in Christ.
Salvation for us becomes that pinnacle place to define why with a burden and passion in this world knowing that God has called us to in Him. I love what the author does here in verse 4. He says, the way it was testified with them, both by signs and wonders and various miracles, by the gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.
When you think about the way this began in the New Testament, if you start, for instance, in the Gospel of Mark, first two chapters. John the Baptist shows up first couple of verses in Mark. He says, clear the path, make straight the path for the coming of Messiah, the chosen One. He’s arriving. It’s this definition, this pronouncement to the people. A declaration of a king. They make straight their paths during John’s day for a nobleman, a dignitary, who would come into a town. They would literally flatten out the potholes. They would make the road smooth for his travel. They would make straight his paths. They were preparing the way for this king to come into this journey.
John’s giving that pronouncement of the coming of Jesus. Then, Jesus, verse 14 and 15 of Mark, he says, the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent. It’s turning from all the earthly kingdoms, turning to everything that you pursue in life, thinking that you’re king, and turning to the one true king. Jesus gives us pronouncement of the kingdom. That’s what we’ve seen in Hebrews Chapter 1.
Then, this interesting thing happens. The end of Mark comes in. Mark I think starts in Chapter 1 verse 32, into Chapter 2 verse 14. Jesus goes through these miracles. The reason Jesus does this testifies about His statement through these signs and miracles is the Jews in the first century had three tests that they wanted to give to the Messiah to affirm that He was the true Messiah because during Jesus’ day, people claimed to be the Messiah. People would show up and say I’m the Messiah. I’m the one that you’ve been looking for. They would just falter. They wouldn’t meet the qualifications. So, they had these three particular tests that they knew if the person could do this, that they were rest assured the Messiah.
It was to heal someone that was lame, to cast out a demon and to cure a leper. In Mark Chapter 1, starting in verse 32, the first three miracles that you read in Mark is Jesus doing that. I think the greatest miracle of those three was the curing of the leper because in Jesus’ day, according to Jewish law, there was some defiling things a person could do that would make them unholy before God. One of the worst things you could is touch a dead body. Just below that was to touch a leper.
If you go back and read the Old Testament, you’ll see in the Old Testament that after the giving of law, no Jew was ever cured of leprosy. Miriam was cured before the giving of the law. Naaman, who was a Syrian, was cured of leprosy, but he was a Syrian. He was not a Jew. When Jesus arrives in the New Testament and he cures a leper, it blows Israel away. In fact, when John the Baptist was in jail, he tells his followers to go and talk to Jesus to make sure that He’s the Messiah or is another one coming. When Jesus responds to the one’s that John the Baptist sends to Him, John says so and tell Him this. He begins to quote Isaiah 35 and Isaiah 61, that the lame walk, the blind see, the lepers are cured. The testing of the Messiah is proven true in Jesus.
What it’s saying to us in Hebrews Chapter 2, pay attention to the salvation. It defines who you are. It’s been confirmed in Christ. He has passed the test. He has demonstrated who He is and you can rest in Him. From this point, the author then starts to build a case. He really starts to identify for us four reasons for why we should rest in Jesus, not drift in Him. That’s what Chapter 2 becomes for us in this.
This is how he starts in verse 5. He says, for He did not subject to angels the world to come concerning which we are speaking, but one has testified somewhere saying, what is man that you remember him, or the son of man of that you are concerned about him? You have made Him for a little while lower than the angels and you have crowned Him with glory and honor and have appointed Him over the works of your hands. You have put all things in subjection under His feet. What the author quotes here is Psalm 8. I think what he does with Psalm 8 in this passage is incredible.
Let me just speak to us about the beauty of this Psalm. There are certain Psalms in the Bible that when I first became a Christian, made a tremendous difference in my life. Psalm 8, one of those Psalms. Psalm 19. Psalm 139. Psalm 139 is a lot like Psalm 8. Psalm 8 starts with the glory of God, how beautiful it is. Then, he just starts to talk about man. In the midst of the glory of this God and all that He has created, how he’s thought of man.
You think about in God’s creation, in the Book of Genesis, God speaks and it comes into existence and He designs this world beautifully, masterfully, for His glory. The last thing he creates is humanity. Humanity is made as the pinnacle of His creation. It’s not until He created humanity that God said it was very good. When God created, He always said it was good, but when He created humanity, He said it’s very good. God breathes into man the breathe of life. Man becomes a living being created in His image which says that we can connect to Creator God different than anything else that’s created in this world. We related to God. We’re designed for a relationship in God. Beautiful story. God makes us the pinnacle of His creation. God makes us to know Him in a personal way. This Psalmist is reflecting in Psalm 8, he is quoting versus 4 to 6. He is reflecting on the beauty of that. Incredible when you think about that.
I remember when I first became a Christian. I grew up …
… when I first became a Christian. I grew up in West Virginia. You guys know that. That’s why sometimes I might talk a little funny, but I wore my shoes and I brushed my teeth today, okay? I grew up in West Virginia. My mom had me when she was 16 years old. My dad, early on, out of the picture. My mom, I love my mom dearly. I watched the woman fight and fight and fight just to build her life up from that age from having a young guy at me when she was 16 years old. One of the things that I struggled with as a young kid with a single mom growing up … I mean, you’re pretty much in poverty when you have a single mom that young. I had this frustration building by the absence of a father figure in my life. Now, I’ll tell you, on the back end of all this, I love my parents dearly, my mom and dad. I think God’s done a tremendous work and reconciliation in our loves, done a great thing in their lives and in my life. I love them dearly. We have a wonderful relationship now, but when I was a kid, it was hard. I lacked deeply.
I had this anger for God, like somehow, I just got the short end of the stick. I remember, I’d open up places like Psalm 8, when I first came to the Lord, and Psalm 139. Psalm 139 takes the picture of Psalm 8, and it just goes a little deeper in the identity of humanity in the care of this God. When I read Psalm 139, I remember just reading over and over the same psalm, just weeping and weeping, because this was the kind of father that my soul ached for. The way that God cared and what that just meant to me in seeing this God. Then, the Psalm ends this way, “Search me, O God, and know my heart,” Psalm 139. “Try me and know my thoughts, and see if there’s any hurtful way in me, and lead me into the way everlasting.” Just a beautiful psalm. He starts to talk about this psalm and the way that God views you. Such a beautiful picture, right? Then, he does something interesting in Hebrews chapter 2, verses 8 and 9. I think this is a very big hinge point in this passage to understanding the significance of Jesus. Look at this.
He says, “From subjecting all things to Him,” talking about Christ now, rather than you, “he left nothing that is not subject to him, but yet, now, we do not yet see all things subjected to him. But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels,” namely Jesus, “because the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, so that by the Grace of God, He may taste death for everyone.” Let me just walk through what I think’s being talked about here in this passage. He starts to talk about Jesus. He identifies Psalm 8, and a lot of people read Psalm 8 and they see themselves in it. I read Psalm 8, and I saw God talking about humanity, thinking about creation. Really, what this psalm is doing is what we looked at even last week. Remember, last week we looked at Psalm chapter 2, Psalm 45, kingship psalms, talking about the kings of Israel. There were certain things written in those psalms that while they would sing it to their kings, in honor to their God, they recognized that no earthly king could really fulfill what was contained within that psalm. It’s the same thing with Psalm 8.
That’s what the author is getting us to recognize here, that while it relates to humanity, that ultimately, it can’t truly be fulfilled in a human being, that there has to be one, a savior, that is powerful enough to see all of this culminate in Him. So this is where he’s building. He’s telling us he’s got all things subject to himself, but here comes the question. Jesus, who is King of Kings, Lord of Lords, comes to this Earth, dies for your sins, has subjected all things to himself. Then, you kind of look at the world around you and you’re like, what went wrong? Well, I don’t know about Utah, but anywhere else I’ve lived in my life, when you go to bed at night, you lock everything. Some people are different here. You lock your front door. That just is a communication to you that, on the outside of your front door, before you go to bed at night, not everything is right in the world, right?
If Jesus has everything subjected to him and Jesus hates sin and he’s ruling and reigning right now, how does this all fit? Man, he must be a pretty stinky king if he can’t get everything under his control. He starts to say all things are subject to him, but then he says this. “He’s left nothing that is not subject to him, but now, we do not yet see all things subjected to him.” So there’s already this not yet sort of mentality in what Jesus is saying. Jesus came, declared his kingdom, pronounced his kingdom. He says, I told you, Mark chapter 1, verses 14 and 15, “Repent, for the kingdom of God’s at hand.” Jesus also told us, “Pray this way. Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed by Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done.” So while the kingdom of God is introduced to us, it’s not fully culminated. When you read that in scripture, you’ll see in the Gospels, the Jews start to miss that picture of Jesus.
In fact, in John 18, listen to this, verse 33, before Pilate, Pontius Pilate, “Pilate entered again into the pretorium, summoned Jesus, and said to him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?'” And Jesus answered, in verse 36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then my servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews, but as it is, my kingdom is not of this realm.” What Jesus is saying is, honestly, before his kingdom comes physically, Jesus is bringing his kingdom spiritually. The reason he’s bringing this kingdom spiritually is before God brings his kingdom physically, what he wants to do is renew your heart, to allow you to find your place in Him so that you can belong to the kingdom. If Jesus brings the kingdom now physically before He renews your heart spiritually … When Jesus brings that kingdom, Jesus brings his wrath. Whoever is opposed to His kingdom will experience the wrath of God.
So when Jesus came, he first arrives and says, “My kingdom is not of this world,” he’s teaching us, as it says in Jeremiah 31:31, “He’s going to create in you a new heart. He’s going to establish a new covenant. He’s going to write His law on your heart, and you are renewed in His spirit.” I want to build on that, but I’ll let that sit there. If you read the end of Revelation, chapter 19, you see Jesus returning on a horse, King of Kings, Lord of Lords tattooed on his thighs, the sword coming from his mouth. In chapter 21, it says, “And now God is with His people. No more pain, no more suffering, no more tears.” It’s why in 2 Peter 3:9, Peter says, “The Lord is longsuffering towards us, not willing that any should perish but all come to repentance.” The reason Peter makes that statement is people are challenging the promises of God. God’s not been faithful. Where is this kingdom? Peter says, “He’s not willing that any should perish, but all come to repentance.”
In chapter 2, verses 8 and 9, this is what he’s saying. “He left nothing that is not subject to Him. Jesus is ruling and reigning, but now, we do not see all things that are going to be subjected to Him.” His delay is gracious, that we could come to Christ and see the beauty of who He is. Let me just give another reason I think this psalm … Remember, we’re talking about Psalm 8, beauty of humanity. God thinks of humanity as the crown of his creation. Ultimately, why Psalm 8 doesn’t fully relate to man but, rather, relates to a messiah. When you read the creation of humanity, if you go to Genesis chapter 1, this is what God says to us after He made us in the Garden of Eden, when the world’s perfect, there is no sin. He says this to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the Earth and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the Earth.” That’s Psalm 8. God created you in His glory to rule and reign, right? Here’s the interesting thing about this thought that God says to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28. After sin happens, God says the same passage. He quotes the same passage again a few times in scripture, but an interesting thing about the way he quotes it.
Look what He says in Genesis 9:1. He says the same thing in chapter 9, verse 7, but he says this, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth.” Again, in verse 7, he says the same thing, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the Earth.” Notice what he doesn’t say. He leaves off the subduing, the ruling over creation. Guys, when it comes to ruling and subduing, I think, in this world, we have a pretty crummy idea of what it means to be leaders. A lot of times, when you think about ruling, we think about domineering. You get to the top so you can tell everybody else below you what to do. When Jesus talks about ruling and reigning, he’s really honestly saying to subdue the Earth and to rule and reign over the Earth not so you domineer over it. Rather, so that you can serve it to become all that God’s created it to be. He takes humanity to serve creation to help it. You see it in Genesis 1:28. Help all of creation become what God’s called it to be for His glory.
All of a sudden, in chapter 9, verse 1, he doesn’t talk about us subduing it anymore. It’s as if he’s saying, yeah, God created you to rule and reign, but because of sin, you can’t do it fully to the capacity to which God’s created you to do it. Sin prohibits us. Sin wars against us. That’s why you lock your door at night. What it’s saying, Hebrews chapter 2, by quoting Psalm 8, is you know how humanity was created to do this, then sin entered the world, and now, human beings, they no longer have the capacity to subdue it, because sin wars against us. We need a rescuer. Who’s the one that ultimately subdues all things to himself? Well, it can’t be done in humanity. It’s ultimately fulfilled in Jesus. The writer of Hebrews, in talking why we need to not drift, why we need to hold to the salvation, the first thing that he reminds us of is humanity is enabled in Jesus to regain man’s lost dominion. That Jesus will subject all things under Him, and we will rule and reign with Christ.
So when you look at this world and your soul aches for the brokenness of this world, I will tell you, you are carrying the heart of Christ in the brokenness of this world. Jesus feels that same way, and Jesus will rule over all of it. He is the ultimate rescuer or savior to the dominion of which humanity has lost. Then, he goes on, in verse 10 to 13. He says this, “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory to perfect the author of their salvation through suffering.” So it’s talking about Jesus perfecting for us in suffering. This is not telling us that Christ lacks, but rather, he has become the completeness or the effective adequate sacrifice. Jesus has become humanity to identify with you so that He can pay for your sins. In the Old Testament, they sacrificed animals, but an animal is simply a picture of what ultimately Jesus would do, who is the lamb of God. Animals can’t forgive you of your sins. You needed a human being to stand in your place, because you are a human being. So Jesus stands in your place to take on sins that you could be set free.
So he says this, “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and through whom are all things. He is the sustainer of all this, and bringing many sons to glory to perfect the author of their salvation through suffering. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brother.” So Jesus sanctifies you or sets you apart, calling you his own brother and connected to him, saying, “I will proclaim your name to my brethren in the midst of the congregation. I will sing your praise, and again, I will put my trust in Him, and again, behold, I am the children of whom God has given me.” So what Jesus is doing in this story, he’s identifying you. He carries humility so that you can become royalty.
One of the scandalous thoughts, I think, of Christianity is that God becomes not just a servant but really the lowest of servants for you. He could have come as a king. I mean, physically. He did come as a king. He could have picked a palace, right? But He chose a stable. What Jesus is communicating to us in that demonstration, the depth that He is willing to go to reach even the person who feels the lowliest of soul, there is no ends to which God’s love will not transcend. So He carries this humility so that you can be treated as royalty in him. I will tell you, theologically, when people read about Jesus, this is where they start to fall off the wagon in understanding His deity and His humanity. We’ve seen this in chapter 1. I’m just going to remind you of this again. Jesus is fully God. He has always been God. He has never been less than God. Jesus is eternal God. He’s creator of all things. We’ve said several versus on this. There is only one God, by the way, and we’ve quoted several versus on this. If you want some, if you want to write some down and look them down later, Colossians 2:9; Colossians 1:15-16; John 20:28; John 8:58; John 10:30-33. Jesus is God. Jesus calls himself the I am, the eternal one.
He was almost stoned in John 8:58 for making that claim. He’s the self-existent one. That’s what it’s saying. He has neither beginning nor end. When you read it in scripture, this is what it says about Christ in John 1, “In the beginning was the word.” Talking about Jesus identified as the Word. Look at this. “The Word was with God,” God, the Father,” and the Word was God.” So, you see, in this Trinitarian teaching, the Father and Son in perfect relationship existing from the beginning. We can say Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Trinitarian teaching. Trinitarian teaching, if you want to know what it is, in the most simplistic form, it’s this. There is only one God. All three persons are called God. All three persons are equal to one another in scripture. That’s it. One God, all three persons are called God, they’re equal to one another in scripture. I mean, that’s Trinitarian teaching. It’s identifying God in this passage, the Father and the Son, from the beginning. Then, look at verse 2. “He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him was nothing coming into being that has come into being.” So he’s the one that created all of it.
If you want verses on Trinitarian teaching, I’ll tell you, Old Testament and New Testament has it. It’s stronger in the New Testament than the Old Testament, because in the Old Testament, they’re trying to teach polytheists to be monotheists. There’s only one God. Genesis chapter 1, God speaks, the spirit hovers. In Genesis 1:26 and 27, God says this, “Let us make man in Our image.” Then, it says in verse 27, “He made man in His image.” So you see this plurality, singularity. You turn to the New Testament. You go to the end of Matthew and it says, “Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Not in the names of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but it’s showing the equality of Father, Son, and Spirit. In the name, singularity, because in the Godhead, the trinity is singular. There’s only one God and three persons, or as Tertullian said in the first century, “tres personae, una substantia,” which is one being, three-
[foreign language 00:32:01] which is one being, three personalities. They’re distinct from one another. Now what happens with Jesus is that Jesus becomes flesh. That’s never happened in the godhead. If you think about God the Father and your picture in your mind is Zeus, it’s biblically inaccurate. God the Father has no flesh and bones. He has no body.
Look if you read on, verse 14, “And the word became flesh,” talking about Jesus, “And dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as from the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Look what is says in verse 18, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten God who is from the bosom of the Father, he has explained him.” This word explained him literally means exposiated him. If you want to know what God the Father is like in personality, look at Jesus because they’re the same. They’re equal in nature.
Jesus and the Father are one. In 1 Timothy 6:16, look at this, “God the Father no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever and ever, amen.” So when you think about Jesus, Jesus always God, becomes humanity, takes on flesh, the only one in the godhead who ever takes on flesh. Why? To relate to you. He becomes the greatest servant, complete, effective, adequate in his sacrifice, so that you can become royalty in him.
Then in verse 14 to 16, it says to us this, “Therefore,” this concluding thought. “Therefore since the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise also partook of the same. That through death he might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is the devil.” He becomes like us, to destroy what’s destroying us, which is the devil, the leader of sin and death is Satan. Verse 15, “And might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives,” so we’re in bondage. We need someone to rescue us. The domain of this world or the dominion of this world, we can’t really subdue. We can’t even control our own flesh and sin and fear of this death.
Jesus rescues us, in verse 16, “For surely he does not give help to angels but he gives help to the descendants of Abraham.” So God’s going first, remember Hebrews is written to the Jews, but God is pursuing his people. I want us just to think a little bit. I’m going to talk about hell because it’s really popular to talk about, right? When you think about death in the bible, death is what separates you.
Sometimes we think in our earthly mind, death means ceasing to exist. That’s not biblical. That’s not what the bible talks about, when it’s referring to death. What the bible means is separation. See, when you were created, you’re created to belong to God, but because of sin, you can’t connect to God. You can’t belong to God. God is holy. You can’t perform enough religion in the world to ever reconcile that because no matter how good you ever do, it will never undo wrong.
What the bible does to describe that, it uses the word death, means you are separated from God. Death is ultimately culminated into eternity, that you can be forever separated from God. Now the opposite of death is what? Life. You guys are with me. Thank you. The opposite of death is life. To go from death to life, religion can’t do it. Adam and Eve tried it in the garden of Eden. They put on fig leaves. They tried to show God that they were worthy. It didn’t work.
The first man made religion happened shortly after sin. Religion won’t rescue you. To go from death to life, you need rescued. You need saved. The only one that can rescue this world is a powerful enough king or ruler, perfect king and ruler. His message to you of rescue is the gospel. That is the declaration. The gospel is a pronouncement of the rescuing. The one that does that, his name is Jesus.
When we think in what Jesus has done, I want us to realize when we talk about salvation, Jesus doesn’t just give life. When you read what Jesus has done for us, Jesus does give life, but he doesn’t just stop there. Jesus doesn’t just give life. Jesus is life itself. So, in our mentality, we have in our culture a pretty warped way of thinking about eternity sometimes. When we tend to think about heaven and hell, we like to think of it in terms of destinations. Like I said in the beginning, we think I don’t want to go to hell. I want to go to heaven, so I’m going to just take Jesus because where I want to be is a destination.
Where Jesus is, that is life. Where Jesus is, that is heaven. Revelation 21, when Jesus finally puts everything in subjection under him and we see it, it tells us there’s no more pain, no more suffering, and that Jesus is with his people. What makes heaven heaven isn’t the destination. It’s the presence of Jesus made known in a very personal, intimate way in our lives. Look, get this. What makes hell hell isn’t the destination. It’s the absence of the presence of God’s grace in our lives. 2 Thessalonians 1:9 describes it that way. That is hell.
For all of us, Jesus gives us a choice. If he is king of kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus invites them, by becoming the lowliest of servants, dying for you to say, I love you this deeply. Do you want to enter into me in my kingdom, to enjoy my presence forever? God is a good and gracious king. God’s also a gentleman. He’s not going to force you to be there.
And the absence of his presence, he’ll give it to you if that’s what you want, but that is what hell is. It’s the absence of God’s gracious presence. Sometimes when we think about hell, we think of it in terms like this. We think of it in terms of torture. Do you know, you can go Google this later. Go look it up. Go to like biblegateway.com, Blue Letter Bible. Look up the word torture and see if it’s ever talked about in relationship to hell in scripture.
You know what the bible uses for the word hell in description often? It uses several words but it actually uses the word torment. There’s a difference between torment and torture. Torture is torture. I have an infant now, and he lets us not sleep sometimes at night, and then someone reminded me that sleep depravity is a form of torture. Sometimes I feel like it. It’s torture, right? Go to bed. That’s what I feel like, but torment’s different.
Do you ever make a decision in your life or someone else makes a decision around you that affects you, and it just wears on your soul so much so that you wake up at night, and you’re like that was so stupid? It just torments you. I think the bible refers to hell that way because it makes no sense to reject Jesus. I think on the backend of eternity and saying to that king, being so gracious and loving, forget you. I want to live life with me as king. You know on the backside of eternity with this, after this world, you’ll think about the torment of just the stupidity of that.
Jesus is loving and gracious and good and given his life for you and in his salvation defines everything related to you. Let me just throw these last two verses in to help us think through this. Now, in saying that guys, I want you to know, I’m not telling you this about hell 101. I’m really not interested in being popular because I would talk about fluffy warm things if I were going to do that.
I don’t want us to think about these concepts and be like, “Oh I’m guilted into this,” and just embrace Jesus. That’s not what I want. I would rather you see the goodness of who Jesus is and just fall in love with him. Someone that loves you so deeply and paid such a price for you. The motivator of love is far greater in your relationship to God than guilt.
It’s about being in his presence forever, for which you were created to belong. In verse 17 and 18, I think he really starts to lay this out. He says, “Therefore, he had to be made like his brethren in all things,” like us. Just became flesh, though fully God, he becomes flesh. They call this in scripture the hypostatic union. Theologians marvel at this, how he could be fully God but be in his, in fleshly form, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest.
We’re going to talk more about high priest but you see this, the word high priest here. I told you in the beginning. King, prophet and priest. Jesus has three positions here. He becomes this faithful high priest, and the high priest in Jesus’ day represented the people to God. Jesus is doing that for you, in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for your sins, to satisfy. Propitiation is satisfying the wrath of God for the sins of the people, for sins he himself was tempted in that in which he has suffered.
He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. This word come to the aid is literally come to the rescuing of a crying child. They’re desperate. They have a need. No one can help them. You need a parent to love on them in the midst of that moment. That’s how Jesus comes to you because he understands what you’re going through. He relates to what you’re going through because he became flesh.
Now it says Jesus was tempted, and I want you to know, there’s a difference between being tempted and enticed to desire. I mean, you’re tempted with things all day long. That’s what commercials are built on, and some things, you don’t give a rip about. Then, when there’s certain things that come into your life, you have certain tendencies as a sinful creature just to give in to things. You got to put barriers up sometimes not to give in to those.
Being tempted, you’re tempted all day long. But being enticed by your desires, that’s different. Jesus is tempted. I don’t think it’s saying Jesus was enticed to sin, but Jesus was tempted because he was human, just like all of us are tempted every day. 90% of commercials I could care less about, right? Same for you.
But what it’s saying here is, his humanity enables him to be a sympathetic high priest to his people. Jesus relates to you. Jesus wants to connect to you. Sometimes I’ll hear people say this. I don’t want to bug God with my problems, but honestly, what he’s doing in the first two chapters is helping us understand just how big our God is because when you have big problems in life, you need to understand how great your God is. Your God is greater than the problems of this world.
You’re not bugging God with your problems. There is no end to the supply that is God. He is unending, and he relates to you in those needs. If you consider the scope of Hebrews, I’m going to close with this. The adversity that we face in our lives and what the author of Hebrews I think is addressing, the adversity that we face really shows us where our hope lies. When things get hard, what do you trust in?
We’re interesting creatures, especially even as believers, because many times in life we feel that God is in conflict with our happiness. But God is not in conflict. Rather it’s the ultimate deliverer for what your soul truly needs. That place that you desire to find rest in him, recognizing Psalm 8, such a beautiful passage of scripture in the way he’s created us. At the end of the day, we all know, we all know that this world, there is this brokenness for which my soul, my soul does not settle.
Jesus becomes that place. In fact, the author’s going to get into the idea rest in these next few chapters. Jesus isn’t in conflict with your happiness. He’s the source of it because he’s the creator of all things. What the author is calling us to do in this passage is don’t drift. Don’t forget why. This passion and this burden.
There is this individual in history. A man by the name of William Carey. He was in the mid-1700s, which apparently, the Ben Franklin look was really popular then I guess because here’s another guy that looks like Ben Franklin. William Carey was considered the father of modern missions. He was ministering at a time when people didn’t believe that there was a need to go to the lost people of this world and pronounce the gospel that saves the soul. William Carey believed otherwise. He went around preaching the need to go proclaim Christ around the world. He ends up going as a missionary to India and gives his life to it. He dies in India, proclaiming the gospel.
Beautiful story, if you not have read about William Carey. There was a biography written about his life during William Carey’s lifetime. He spoke to the biographer, and this is what he said. “If he describes me as anything more than a plodder, he will speak too highly of me.” People looked at William Carey and they just put him on a pedestal in the things that he did with his life, but you know what he said the secret was to seeing great things accomplished for Jesus? He never forgot why. He never forgot who he was in that salvation.
The need and the passion drove him, in moments in his life when he got knocked off his horse. He came back to the source. All he ever saw himself as was a plodder. He found the foundation for what life was about and he refused to let go. That’s what Hebrews 2 is saying to you. Hebrews 2 is, these chapters is that place where we see Jesus positionally in our lives as the one who attributes everything that we are to be in worth, value and meaning. Guys, you want to live successful for Jesus in this world, my encouragement to you, be a plodder.