About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Jesus Made Like His Brothers
writer has not yet left the topic of angels that he began to address in
chapter one. Angels were
important to the Jewish people. They
stood between them and God and performed a variety of duties.
to explain to the Jews who Jesus was in His essence was not an easy task.
Verse 5 says that the world to come is not going to be subjected to
angels. Angels will not be the
final authority over the earth or the world to come. Of
course, we know that Jesus will be that final authority over the world to
come. The Jews back in the
first century had to be convinced of this, thus the reason for this
letter. They did not see their
Messiah in the same light as Christians.
They expected their Messiah to be a man who would free the Jews
from Roman domination. They
did not view their Messiah as God in human flesh.
32:8 speaks of God dividing the nations in accordance with either the sons
in verse 6 the writer quotes more Old Testament Scripture. The first one
is Psalm 8:4 to 6. "What
is man that you are mindful of him?"
Sinful man is nothing in comparison to God.
When you study Romans 1 and 2 you will see that man is really
nothing. Jeremiah 17:9 says it
correctly when it says that man is so wicked and he does not know how
wicked he is.
I continue there are 2 ways to interpret this Psalm that the author of
Hebrews quotes and we see it in the next phrase which says, "The son
of man that you care for him." You
will note that in the NIV the words "son of man" are not
capitalize as is the case in some other translations.
The NIV translators obviously thought that the term "son of
man" in this instance is referring to man in general, not Jesus, as
some think. Just because we
see the phrase "son of man" and just because we see Jesus using
this phrase about Himself doesn't necessarily mean we need to understand
this phrase here to be in reference to Jesus.
must remember that
who believe verse 6 applies to Jesus see the son of man being Jesus in His
humanity. In His humanity
Jesus might well have been a lower than angels as verse 7 says.
On the other hand, verse 7 could easily refer to pre-fall Adam.
He, meaning Adam, was created a little lower than the angels.
7 says that "You crowned him with glory and honour." One
might think of Jesus right away when you read this phrase, and I can
certainly understand that. Right
now, Jesus is crowned with glory and honour.
He sits on the right hand of God.
That is to say, He shares universal authority with God.
I'd call that being crowned with glory and honour.
the other hand, Adam was crowned with glory and honour prior to the fall,
or so I believe. He was given
authority over all of God's creation.
That could be seen as a crowning.
So, you have a choice how to understand verse 8 when it says
"God put everything under his feet."
9 tells us that not all things have been put under his feet.
I can certainly see how this would apply to Jesus.
A close reading of 1 Corinthians 15 tells us that Jesus has not yet
put all things under His feet. Death
is the final enemy of God that must be put under His feet.
On the other hand, the New Testament clearly states that the saints
will rule with Christ. Maybe
then, all things will be put under man's feet.
9 begins with the words. "But we see Jesus."
These words seem to suggest that the son of man might well be
Jesus. In context, we don't
see everything under his feet, but instead, we see Jesus.
That is to say, or, may say, that there are still things we see
that are not subject to the rule of God but the one thing we do see is
Jesus, who as the text states, "suffered death" and by His death
suffered death for of humanity. It
is because of this verse that I believe the son of man spoken of in this
passage is referring to Jesus.
we understand the son of man in this verse to refer to Jesus then we have
to deal with what this verse says about Jesus and that is, He was made a
little lower than the angels. Jesus
in His divinity was not made a little lower than the angels.
There is no question about that, but, in His humanity, one might
say He was a little lower than the angels, although I understand that
might be debatable.
in verse 9 we see the words "Now crowned with glory and honour
because he suffered death." The
context of this phrase as seen in the rest of verse 9 should lead us to
conclude that the son of man is in fact Jesus.
Jesus was the only one who suffered death "so that by the
grace of God he might taste death for everyone."
That phrase can only apply to Jesus.
is important that Jesus
in mind all of what I've just said, there is no corresponding Greek word
for our English word "taste."
The NIV and other translations simply insert this or other words to
fill in what the Greek appears to imply.
10 starts with this phrase, "In bringing many sons to glory."
What does this mean? Who
are the many sons? The many
sons are those who have trusted Jesus for their salvation.
We, true born again Christians, are now sons of God.
We are also brothers of Jesus Himself.
Paul says in Romans 8:29 that we are the "firstborn among many
brothers." If by trusting
Jesus we become sons of God, it is also clear that we become brothers to
Jesus. The point to be made
here is that in His glorified body, Jesus became the first born of a new
race. Some day we will join
Him in our resurrection bodies.
next question is, "When are we brought into glory as this verse
states?" Right now Jesus
is the first born of a brand new creation.
He exists in His, what Christians have called "His glorified
body." On resurrection
day all believers will rise into their glorified bodies.
It is at that time I believe this verse speaks of.
The next phrase says. "For whom all things exist.Ē
God not only has created all things, but, as chapter 1, verses 1
through 4 states, all things presently exist because of God.
Christians are not Deists. Deists
believe that God created all things and then let all things evolve on
their own. Christian theology
disagrees with this position. It
believes that God is intimately involved in all aspects of His creation.
He has not stepped back to see how things evolve.
next phrase in verse 10 is a little hard to understand.
It says, "The author of their salvation was made perfect
through suffering." First
of all, the word translated as "author" is the Greek word "archegos."
This word means "a leader, or one who takes the first step in
a new direction." The KJV
translates this word as "captain." That's a good translation.
Jesus is the author, the captain, or the leader of this new existence because of His
resurrection. He has gone
ahead of us and is preparing a place for us as He said He would in John
understand this phrase we need to understand what the Greek word that is
translated as "perfect" means.
The Greek word is "teleioo."
This word simply means "to bring to completion, or to finish
what was started." This
verse is not suggesting that Jesus was not perfect in who He was when He
was on earth. This
verse is not saying that Jesus was imperfect and therefore needed to
suffer to get perfect. What
the writer is saying is that Jesusí duties as being Saviour could only
be completed by His suffering unto death.
His death completed, or perfected, His ministry that brings our
salvation. Another ways to put it
would be that Jesus' incarnation into humanity was not completed or
finished until He suffered death. Again, the word
"perfect" in this verse has nothing to do with Jesus' moral life
being made perfect. If I were a NIV
translator, I think I would have used a different word other than
verse 11 we see that those of us who have been made holy by Jesusí
sacrifice have become part of the family of God, resulting in Jesus being
our brother. When I say that
we are "holy," I
mean that we are totally good and right in every aspect of our lives
before God, just as God Himself is totally good and right in every aspect
of who He is. This is how God
views those who have placed their trust in Jesus.
my clearest definition of being righteous, and I say being righteous,
because righteousness is more than doing right things.
It's being right in the very essence of who one is. Righteousness
is the state of being perfectly right in the essence of who one is, just
as God Himself is totally and perfectly right in the essence of who He is.
By faith, by trusting Jesus, God declares us to be righteous, even
though we aren't righteous by nature.
in verse 10 it is Jesus and His sacrificial atoning death on the cross
that makes us holy in God's sight, even when we are far from holy.
There is nothing we can do to make ourselves holy as defined by God
Himself. We might do a pretty
good job of making ourselves holy in comparison to other people, but in
comparison to God, we do not stand a chance in making ourselves holy.
Besides, our standard of comparison isn't others.
11 states that we are made holy, or, declared holy by God the Father.
For this reason Jesus is not ashamed of us.
Without this declared righteousness, Jesus would certainly have
good reason to be ashamed of us. Can
you imagine that? The most
holy one in all there is not ashamed of us very unholy believers.
This is one very comforting thought.
that it is Jesus who makes us holy, whether it's declared holiness or
holiness that is worked in and through us in the practicalities of life;
it is Jesus who makes us holy. There
are two types of holiness or righteousness.
God declares us holy even when we are not holy.
Beyond that, righteousness is worked out in our daily lives, and,
that is only accomplished by Jesus through His Spirit at work in our
next couple of verses are more Old Testament Scriptures that support the
authorís position on the family of God.
Whoever wrote this letter was quite familiar with the Old
12 is a quote from Psalm 22:22. This
Psalm is a prophetic psalm. Like
many of the Psalms, they have specific historical significance in the day
in which they were written, but some, clearly are prophetic, as Psalm 22
is. This Psalm speaks to the
death of Jesus on the cross. In its prophetic sense, Jesus is speaking of
His brothers, who, are you and I who have trusted Him for our salvation.
is a bit debatable among some to whom the word "congregation" in
verse 12 is in reference to. I
believe the context makes it clear that the word "congregation"
is associated with brothers, or, those of us who have been declared
righteous by God. The Greek
word "ekklisia" is translated as "congregation" here.
It's often translated as "church" in other parts of the
verse 13 the author quotes from Isaiah 8:17 and 18.
The pronoun "I" in this verse is in reference to Jesus.
The pronoun "Him" in the first part of this quote is in
reference to God, Jesus' Father, as seen in the last half of the quote.
The children in this quote are you and I, who have been declared
righteous by God; who have become brothers to Jesus.
Again, the author is pointing out that Jesus has brothers, and
sisters too, who are the redeemed.
the word "children" in verse 14.
I believe this is in reference to, either humanity in general, or,
believers in more specific terms. In
context as we will see in a couple more verses, the specific believers the
author had in mind, the specific children, could well be the children of
Abraham, the Jews. In a
general sense of the word, all human beings are children of God via
creation, but, since the fall of humanity seen in Genesis 3, the term
"children of God" is only in reference to believers, whether Old
Testament believers or New Testament believers.
point that the author makes here is that if God was ever to solve His
problem with humanity, especially the sin that leads to death problem, He
would have to become human, like us. He
would have to suffer in every way a human would suffer, and that includes
death. If He could survive
this suffering, even death, He would defeat the one who holds the power of
my early days as a Christian one of my mentors used to say that if we
really wanted to communicate with an ant, we would have to become an ant.
This is exactly what God did in His attempt to not only communicate
with us but to deliver us from our sin that leads to death.
verse 14 we also see that the devil holds the power of death.
In the very beginning of time God told Adam that if he disobeyed he
would die. Mankind died in
three aspects. He died
spiritually, socially and physically.
Who was behind manís decision to disobey?
It was the devil. The
devil had the ability to sway Adam and Eve in making the wrong choice.
His power influenced them. His
power led to their death. Because
of the devil, death came to mankind through Adam.
By becoming human, Jesus could win the battle for mankind.
Mankind is the spiritual battle ground between God and the devil.
When we think of wars in a particular country, that particular
country is the battle ground. Well,
the battle ground between God and the devil is mankind himself.
So, God became a man. He
got right into the thick of the battle, the only place where He could find
resurrection of Jesus has caused God to win the battle over death.
As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:26, the last enemy of God is
death. On the day Jesus rose
from the dead this victory took place and will finally be realized at the
end of this age when death will have been conquered forever.
As a result, we will not have to fear death any longer as the
author says here in verse 15. Even
now, before resurrection day comes, we do not have to fear death.
We know our destiny as Christians.
16 introduces Abraham into the picture by saying God has not helped the
angels but Abrahamís descendents. This
would catch these Jewish peopleís attention right away, because of their
great respect for Abraham as being their father.
Because God wanted to bring salvation to Abrahamís descendents,
Jesus had to become a man like these descendents as the writer goes on to
say. In becoming a man, Jesus
is then referred to as a high priest.
The writer of this letter is a Jew and is writing to Jews, so this
whole book is filled with Jewishness.
High Priests were part of Old Testament Judaism.
They stood between God and man.
They came to God on the behalf of man.
saying that Jesus Himself has become a high priest says a lot to the Jews.
The reason being is because high priests "make atonement for
the sins of the people as stated in verse 17.
does atonement mean? The
Greek word that is translated as "atonement" here is "hilaskonai."
This word means that Godís wrath has been appeased.
The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross satisfied Godís justice and
therefore His wrath and anger is dissipated to those who trust Jesus.
As a result, God can reconcile us, or can bring us back into a real
relationship with Himself. The
words "reconciliation" and "atonement" go hand in hand
Atonement is the act of Godís wrath being taken away.
Reconciliation is us being made friends with God as a result of His
wrath being appeased.
Jesus made atonement for the sins of the people as is also stated in verse
17. I believe in context
"his people" means the Jews but we know that Jesus' atoning
sacrifice was made for all of humanity, not just the Jews.
The author is zeroing in the Jews because it is Jews to whom he is
have just said that atonement was the act by which Godís anger was
appeased. Some say that
atonement is the process by which Jesus took away our sin from the eyes of
God. The two thoughts are
close yet different. The first
is that Godís anger is appeased while the second is that our sin has
been taken away. I tend to say
that because our sin was taken away from Godís eyes, His anger is
appeased. It is a combination
18 ends this chapter by saying that because
Jesus suffered with temptations like you and I, He can help us in our
temptations. He is not one
that looks on us without having experienced each and every temptation that
is common to mankind. That
means that Jesus was tempted to steal, tempted to commit sexual sins,
tempted to unjust anger, and tempted to be proud and arrogant.
The list could go on forever. Clearly,
there is no temptation that Jesus has not experienced.
This should be a very comforting thought to us.