Translations: Chinese GB Big5

Christ The Son of Man

Heb 2:5-18 (web)

2:5 For he didn't subject the world to come, whereof we speak, to angels.
2:6 But one has somewhere testified, saying,
"What is man, that you think of him?
Or the son of man, that you care for him?
2:7 You made him a little lower than the angels;
You crowned him with glory and honor.
{TR adds "and set him over the works of your hands"}
2:8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet." (Ps 8:4-6)
For in that he subjected all things to him,
he left nothing that is not subject to him.
But now we don't see all things subjected to him, yet.

2:9 But we see him who has been made a little lower than the angels, Jesus,
because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor,
that by the grace of God he should taste of death for everyone.

2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things,
in bringing many children to glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

2:11 For both he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one,
for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brothers
2:12 saying,

"I will declare your name to my brothers.
In the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise." (Ps 22:22)
2:13 Again,
"I will put my trust in him." (Ps 91:2)
Again
"Behold, here am I and the children whom God has given me." (Isaiah 8:18)
2:14 Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood,
he also himself in like manner partook of the same,
that through death he might bring to nothing him
who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
2:15 and might deliver all of them
who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
2:16 For most assuredly, not to angels does he give help,
but he gives help to the seed of Abraham.
2:17 Therefore he was obligated in all things to be made like his brothers,
that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God,
to make atonement for the sins of the people.
2:18 For in that he himself has suffered being tempted,
he is able to help those who are tempted.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

What does it mean to you to be subject to Jesus Christ? To what extent should Christians practice this subjection?

Verses 2:9-18 explain that though Jesus is greater than the angels, he also took on a form lesser than them. Though He was the creator, He became a man.

This idea of "tasting death for everyone" (vs 9) may be clarified in the following passages:

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Gal 2:20

"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."Rom 6:3,4

In vs 10, what does it mean "bringing many sons to glory"? What glory are you, as a Christian, looking forward to? Why was it appropriate to perfect (complete) the author of salvation through sufferings? That is, why was it fitting for the Savior to become just like the those He was trying to save? What does this tell us about God? For example, it may tell us that God is not just interested in saving people from His wrath because of their sin, but also he wants to establish a more intimate relationship with those he is saving. Perhaps this also explains why salvation is not automatic, but requires some response on our part.

Have you ever experienced humiliation that later resulted in respect from others?

vs 12 Notice the context of Psalm 22 from which this is quoted. There are indications that Jesus may have been meditating on this Psalm while He was being crucified.

If Jesus is the Son of God, and Christians are sons of God and brothers of Christ, then what is the substantive difference between what Jesus is and what Christians are? (That is, in what way is Jesus the Son of God that Christians are not?)

vs 15 Though death is the most certain thing in life, why do people avoid talking about it? Are you afraid to die, or do you look forward to death with optimism?

vs 16 "Abraham's descendants" literally "the seed of Abraham" XREF "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Galatians 3:29

vs 17 Under the Aaronic priesthood, compassion was not characteristic of priests. The gospels reveal the priests at the time to be lacking in humility and unfeeling towards sinners. Jesus has quite a different attitude as a priest. Furthermore not only does he atone for sins committed, but also provides help and preventative measures in overcoming sin. (A sort of a free HMO for the human soul)


A Par Excellent Interpretation

Heb 2:5-8a It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking.  But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet." (Ps 8:4-6)

By "the world to come" he may be referring to the millenial Kingdom in particular or that which comes after that in which there will be a new heavens and new earth (Rev 21:1) See also the Dispensations of the Kingdom of God. In any case "in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness." 2Pet 3:13 

But as for the quote from Psalms one would think it's simply referring to "man" in general. And as to the phrase "the son of man", it's used extensively in Ezekiel to refer to Ezekiel. But the writer is using Psalms not simply as proof, but rather is prophetically interpreting it for us. Jesus referred to himself as "the Son of Man". How is that different than Ezekiel being called "son of man"? There's a grammatical construct known as "Par Excellence", though it's a construct that depends on interpretation. But you can see an example (and I get this from Wallace's Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics)  in John 1:21 where John the Baptist is asked "Are you the prophet?" For while there are many prophets, there is also "THE Prophet" of whom is prophesied to come in Deut 18:15, of whom Peter in Acts 3:22 and Stephen in Acts 7:37 say is Jesus Christ. Likewise with other scripture. While Ezekiel and others are referred to as "son of man", Jesus is THE (Par Excellence) Son of Man.
Wallace also gives his own example of Par Excellence saying For example, if in late January someone were to say to you, "Did you see the game?" you might reply, "Which game?" They might then reply, "The game! The only game worth watching! The BIG game! You know, the Super Bowl!" This is the article used in a par excellence way.
This grammatical construct helps to understand a lot of messianic interpretations of Old Testament. For while the passage may be immediately referring to King David (as in the case of Psalm 22) or people in general, or categories of people, such passages given a Par Excellence interpretation are also alluding ultimately to the Messiah.


Everything Subject to Jesus

Heb 2:8b-9 In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

"God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything" Eph 1:22a But we await the world to come to really see this implemented. Jesus, "who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name" Php 2:6-9 "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God." 1Peter 3:18a "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." 1John 2:2


Jesus, the Captain of Salvation

Heb 2:10 In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author (more precisely "captain") of their salvation perfect through suffering.

While Jesus is uniquely THE (Par Excellence) Son of God, there are also sons of God, those who were given the right to become sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ (John 1:12) For "you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus" Gal 3:26  The word "author" here is more precisely "the chief leader or prince" as the Greek Lexicon mentions, which is consistent with its usage 23 times in the Septuagint The NKJV and KJV accurately uses "captain" here. The word is used 4 times in the New Testament but the translations are inconsistent. In fact "author" is a bad translation of the word. It was introduced for theological reasons (and not good ones) and not for grammatical reasons. Jesus, as our leader, has provided us with salvation, but we must follow him into it to be saved.  "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:" 1Peter 2:21 And  "if we are children, then we are heirs— heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." Rom 8:17 This word is also used in Heb 5:9 which should properly read, "And having been perfected, He became the captain of eternal salvation to all who obey Him". Heb 5:9 The word "author" would not fit here as there is no implication that one should obey an author.

But as for being perfected through suffering, wasn't Jesus perfect to begin with? Not as the captain of our salvation he wasn't, until he went through suffering and death. I noted Heb 5:9 above. That and the verse before it goes, "Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him." Heb 5:8,9 Previously Jesus never experience what it was to obey God as a man in the environment in which we live. It's not that easy. "For this reason he had to be made like his brothers 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. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." Heb 2:17,18 "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are— yet was without sin." Heb 4:15

As you can see, much of this issue is covered in the book of Hebrews


Jesus' Family

Heb 2:11-13 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises." (Psalm 22:22) And again, "I will put my trust in him." (Isaiah 8:17) And again he says, "Here am I, and the children God has given me." (Isaiah 8:18)

In one sense to the Christian, Jesus is like our older brother. THE Church (Par Excellence) - incorporating all believers in Christ - is a family - the family of God. And "as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." Gal 6:10 Family should have a special connection not shared by those outside the family. (But there are many who may attend a "church" but deny such a family connection with Christians who don't go to their church. For institutional allegiance is not necessarily indicative that one is in the faith.)

Psalm 22 is heavily messianic as one finds verses throughout which apply in detail to Christ's crucifixion. In fact Jesus quoted this Psalm while he was on the cross. Consequently I think he was meditating through this Psalm while he was dying. Verse 22 is when the Psalm turns rather positive. One thing that encouraged Jesus on the cross was to think about being with his brothers - the Christian community.

The next two quotes are meant to be taken together as they are Isaiah 8:17,18. I'm reminded of John 17:6 "I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word." and John 6:37 "All that the Father gives me will come to me,  and whoever comes to me I will never drive away"

All this to say that while Jesus is exalted above all, he likes to associate with the lowly. He is more than a friend to the righteous. He is a brother.


Jesus Frees Us

Heb 2:14,15  Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy 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.

That is, Jesus, "who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!" Php 2:6-8

Christ's death saves the Christian from the consequences of their sin - which is firstly, death. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom 6:23 Thus "we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." Rom 6:9-11

But where does the devil come in? Why bring up the devil? In Genesis the devil was the source of the fall that led mankind into death. And likewise, but for the protective hand of God, the devil causes people to suffer and die - including Christ. Note in the case of Job the devil sought permission to destroy Job. Alot of things that happen, whether natural disasters or otherwise have their origin in the devil. And though God doesn't endorse his actions, he permits them, much as Joseph said of his brother's evil actions, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good" Gen 50:20a Another example of this sort of thing is seen in 2Corinthians when God used the devil to help the apostle Paul maintain a proper level of humility. "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me." 2Cor 12:7 The devil intended harm, but God intended good.

There is a kingdom of darkness, ruled by Satan, which God saves us from. "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves" Col 1:13 "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions— it is by grace you have been saved." Eph 2:1-5


Jesus Helps Us

Heb 2:16
For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.

But "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" Heb 1:14  So what's this about Abraham's descendants? The New Testament teaches us that Abraham's descendants are those who will inherit salvation. This includes both Jewish and Gentile believers. That is, not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. Rom 9:6b-8

As for the word "helps", I don't think that's the most accurate or common usage. In fact the Greek word used there "epilambanomai" means "to take upon". That word is used 19 times in the New Testament and most commonly translated "take", "catch", "lay hold on".  I think he means to say is that he does not take angels into his family, but he takes Abraham's descendants to be his brothers.


Jesus became Our High Priest

Heb 2:17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers 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.

In what way was Jesus made like us? Apparently in every way. Probably meaning in every way relevant to him qualifying as a merciful and faithful high priest. "and that" is inaccurate. Rather it uses the infinitive. He becomes a faithful high priest in service to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. But what is the logic here?

Much of Hebrews from chapters 5 to 10 will speak on the priesthood of Christ. Basically the high priest is a sort of mediator between God and man. "There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men." 1Tim 2:5,6 Though under the Law of Moses there were men assigned to the role of priest and high priest, Jesus is THE ("Par Excellence" - see the comment on Heb 2:5-8) high priest. The roles of priesthood under the Law were shadows of that which was fulfilled in Christ.

Now a mediator is a "go-between" guy. He has to identify with both parties. Jesus is in very nature God. (Php 2:6) He is the Creator. (John 1:3; Heb 1:10; Heb 3:3,4) But to be a mediator for mankind, he had to become a man. So "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ...  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:1,14

But to what extent he became human is controversial and the subject of the next verse.


Jesus Empathizes with Us

Heb 2:18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

This cannot be speak of merely experiencing the physical sufferings we experience due to our mortality. It has to do with actually experiencing sinful temptations and the suffering associated with resisting such temptations, seeing as the role of the priesthood is about dealing with sin and the guilt associated with sin.

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are— yet was without sin." Heb 4:15  And given that "For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way" Heb 2:17a, Jesus must have been born with the same sinful nature as everyone else has - the Adamic nature inherent in the flesh which is a significant source of our experience of temptation- in order to qualify him as the mediator between God and man.  In fact the NIV often translates the Greek word for "flesh" as "sinful nature". The flesh that Jesus had was the same kind of flesh that we have.

"For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit." Rom 8:3,4


The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources


Jul 29,2015