Hebrews 2:10-18

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 5, 2021 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

The overall focus of these first few chapters of the book of Hebrews is Jesus and the salvation He provides us, and today’s passage of Hebrews 2:10-18 is no exception to that theme. The author of Hebrews has already established that Jesus is greater than the angels, and His greatness is evidenced by the work of salvation that He completed. But in spite of that, He also lived the life of a regular human person; He needed to live a life like those He came to save.

Hebrews 2:10-11 says, “In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.” God’s plan of salvation was not arbitrary but perfectly fitting to His character and purposes. The word used for “pioneer” of salvation also means author, originator, or founder; Jesus is that pioneer. Salvation was founded and originated in Him.

The idea of being made perfect in this verse is a common one throughout the book of Hebrews. The root word in the Greek has the idea of being made complete, whole, perfect, finished, or fulfilled. But why would Jesus, the pioneer of salvation, need to be made perfect? Isn’t He already perfect? The idea of completion may be better suited here. Jesus, while already perfect, needed to complete the work of salvation in order to fulfill that role. The fulfillment of Jesus’ suffering on the cross needed to be completed in order to fulfill salvation for all of humanity.

Jesus is the one who makes us holy, and we as followers of Jesus Christ are identified here as being of the same family as Jesus. Jesus is the one who accomplished this work so we could have this opportunity for salvation and to be of the same family as Him. Jesus is not ashamed to call all of us His brothers and sisters, as we are all children of His Heavenly Father.

In verses 12-13, we see three quotes from the Old Testament: “He says, ‘I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.’ [Psalm 22:22] And again, ‘I will put my trust in him.’ [Isaiah 8:17b] And again he says, ‘Here am I, and the children God has given me.’ [Isaiah 8:18a]” Psalm 22 was considered a Messianic psalm, pointing to Jesus and specifically His crucifixion since Jesus quoted verse 1 from the cross, so it would be natural for the author of Hebrews to see the speaker in this psalm as being Jesus. Declaring someone’s name was identifying a person’s entire character and reputation; Jesus is declaring the Father’s character through revealing His own character.

The reason for the quotations from Isaiah 8 in this passage are less obvious. The phrase quoted from Isaiah 8:17 is identical to Isaiah 12:2 and 2 Samuel 22:3, but with the following quotation being from Isaiah 8:18, it’s very likely that the author is quoting these consecutive verses. The context of Isaiah 8 is speaking of going through difficulties, so perhaps this is referring to the suffering that Jesus had to endure. We see that those who believe in Jesus Christ are the children that God has given to Jesus - not as literal children, of course, but as children in the sense of being His disciples or followers.

Next, the author develops the themes of Jesus sharing in the humanity of us, God’s children. Jesus made a decision to leave his glory to come here and be like us. He had never experienced pain of any kind before being in a human body. That takes humility! So why did He do it? To “break the power of him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (verses 14-15). The devil held the power of death until Jesus defeated him with His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection. The author of Hebrews doesn’t go into detail on how that defeat worked, but the reader can also refer to 1 Corinthians 15 for more on that.

Who did Jesus come to save? Not angels, but Abraham’s descendants (verse 16). Jesus did not come only to save the biological descendants of Abraham, of course, but He had to be made incarnate as one of the descendants of Abraham in order to fulfill the requirements of salvation for all humanity.

Jesus had to become fully human in every way: “For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people” (verse 17). If Jesus was not fully human, His death would not be able to save all of us who are fully human from eternal death. Hebrews is the only book of the New Testament where the term “high priest” is used for Jesus; the author does not yet explain it here, so stay tuned for more on that as we continue to go through this book. The work of Jesus is being clearly shown as higher and more important than the work of the regular priests with their ritual sacrifices, because Jesus’ salvation is the only one that does not need to be repeated as we continue to sin. The atonement that Jesus accomplished was once and for all.

This section concludes with verse 18: “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Jesus did not only suffer on the cross but also throughout His earthly life. He was constantly tempted, just as we are, except He never gave into that temptation. Jesus gets it; He’s lived in this world just as we do.

So what does all of this mean for us today? The bottom line is always that everything points to Jesus and the work He accomplished on the cross for us. The only way we can experience salvation is because of that work. Jesus became fully human and experienced suffering and temptations just like we do. His sacrificial death completed the work that needed to be done for us to be saved, since we could not complete that work ourselves. This was true for the original readers of the book of Hebrews, and it remains true for us today. Live your life in such a way that glorifies Jesus as the only one who can save us from all the times we mess up.

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