Better Through His Suffering
As a reminder, Hebrews was a letter written to a group of Jewish Christians who were getting persecuted and push back for their beliefs. They were being challenged to come back to their Jewish roots. They were a group of people who were struggling in the midst of suffering, to make sense of life...sound familiar?
Chapter 1 is all about a declaration of the greatness of Jesus. There are no commands for the church. Chapter two opens with "therefore", which alerts the reader to understand that what comes next is a response to what was just said. There are 3 therefore's that we will look at from Chapter 2.
THEREFORE (v1) - "we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard,"
Consider Jesus (3:1)
Fixing our eyes on Jesus (12:1-2)
Listening to Jesus (2:1)
Considering Jesus (3:1)
"lest we drift away from it".
to disbelieve gradually
to be washed away
like a ring falling off a finger
When we don't pay attention to Jesus, we will drift. This is especially true if the culture is drifting. These words are from a "boating" context, like a ship tied to a dock. We must focus on Jesus through His Word.
In verses 5-9, the author continues to compare Jesus with angels. We must remember that the Jews held angels in very high regard as the highest beings next to God. In light of some of the early teachings, a number of dangerous misconceptions had begun to spread, like the false belief that the archangel Michael's authority rivaled or surpassed that of the Messiah. The writer shows us that God placed Jesus a little lower than the angels for a little while (while He was the God-man on earth), so that He was "crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone." Jesus not only showed up, but He got involved!
Verses 10-18 shows why it was necessary that Jesus became man in that He was made "perfect through suffering". Perfect means, "completing a task for a desired end." What Jesus accomplished qualified Him to be our High Priest forever.
"Since THEREFORE the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery." In other words, Jesus came to earth to die, and by dying, He was able to conquer death in His resurrection! Satan is rendered powerless to all who are saved.
1. We're human
2. therefore Christ became human
3. so that He might die for you
4. to cancel the power of the devil
5. so that you might be freed from slavery to fear and live in freedom the rest of eternity.
Verse 17 - "THEREFORE He had to be made like His brothers in every respect so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people."
The high priest in the OT made sin offerings for the people so that their sins could be forgiven. So why did Jesus have to become a human -like us- in order to be a high priest for us? It is because the offering He had to give was the offering of Himself. He needed to be a human high priest, so that He could lay down His life not only as the priest who makes the offering, but also as the offering that He makes. Jesus was prophet, priest, and king in that He represented God to man, represented man to God, and was the once and for all propitiation for mankind. Propitiation is the substitutionary atonement for sin. He took the wrath of God for us. Because of that, those that are in Christ have no condemnation and no guilt. He is the merciful, faithful High Priest.
To Discuss Today:
1. Are you drifting in your faith? In what way?
2. Over the last 6 months, which statement is more true for you? Where do the dangers lie, and how does this tie to "drift"?
"I let the news inform me, but I let God's Word form me."
"I let God's Word inform me, but I let the news form me."
3. We all experience suffering, but we know it has a purpose. In your suffering, how do you hold on to the truth that He sees you, He has compassion, and He is equipping you for a purpose through the suffering?