In Hebrews chapter 1, the author showed that the ruler of the future world must be God. But in Hebrews 2:6-8, the author showed that the ruler must be human.
Of course, a man cannot ever become God. But God can do anything (Luke 1:37). God’s Son, Jesus, has always been God. But he became a man, because that was necessary in order to save us. In the rest of chapter 2, the author will show why that was necessary. But first, he tells us how wonderful that is.
Some translations do not translate Hebrews 2:9 well. They say that God ‘made Jesus’. But the author’s original word is clear. It does not mean ‘made’ or ‘created’. It means that God ‘caused Jesus to become less important’ than the angels (God’s special servants). The Bible teaches that Jesus, God’s Son, has always existed. God did not create him at any time (Hebrews 1:10; Hebrews 13:8; John 1:1).
So the author of Hebrews repeats the words in Psalm 8:5. And he shows carefully how they describe Jesus.
It was Jesus who accepted a less important rank than the angels. And that is wonderful. The angels are his servants. No king ever accepts a less important rank than his servants! But Jesus did. And as a servant, he became even more humble. He suffered and he died (Philippians 2:6-8).
It that was merely a man’s death, it would not be wonderful. It would just be another sad incident in this world where there are so many troubles. But the purpose of the Book of Hebrews is to show us that this was not just another sad incident. In fact, it was the most important event that has ever happened.
What actually happened was this. God’s Son was acting as his own chief priest. He did it in order to offer the perfect sacrifice to God, that is, his own death. And the result is that many people can now have a right relationship with God.
A ‘sacrifice’ means a gift that God considers valuable. In the past, priests offered animals that people gave to God. People could not worship (give honour to God) properly without sacrifices because of the wrong and evil things that control people’s lives. So God accepted sacrifices from those people who sincerely loved him. Those sacrifices made it possible for people to have a relationship with God. But only Jesus’ death is the perfect sacrifice. Only Jesus’ death frees people from the devil, who has the power of death (Hebrews 2:14).
But it was not possible for Jesus to remain dead (Acts 2:24). Jesus had made himself humble; and God considers that to be wonderful. Jesus gave up more than anyone else could, in order to obey God his Father. It is God’s pleasure to make important those who are humble (Luke 1:52). Jesus made himself the servant, even the slave, of all (Mark 10:43-45; John 13:1-5). So God the Father made him the Lord (master) of all (Revelation 19:16). And we all must give him honour (Philippians 2:9-11).
Next part: Brothers in God’s family (Hebrews 2:10-11)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.