A. Pay Full Attention: Transition from Exposition to Exhortation; Doctrine to Application (Heb 2:1-4)
1. Verse 1
a. First Warning of the Epistle to the Hebrews – Pay FULL attention or you will drift from the Gospel!
b. Call for improved attention.
c. Aim of author is edification, not destruction.
d. Edification is a call for action motivated and informed by understanding
e. The community is asked to guard against drifting off course (Nautical term in the Greek – “To hold a ship toward port, or to fasten the anchors to the seabed”)
Q. How can we make sure we do not “drift”? In what ways do we drift?
2. Verse 2 “For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution,…”
a. “…declared by angels” (see Deut 33:2) – Led to the tradition among the Jews that God was accompanied by angels at Mt. Sinai or that the angels gave the Law to Moses.
b. If the Word received from the Son is greater than the word received from angels, then we must approach the words of Christ with the utmost seriousness.
c. Succession of legal terms: “reliable”, “disobedience”, “just punishment”
3. Verse 3a “…how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?”
a. “How shall we escape if we neglect sucah a great salvation?)
(1) Disobedience to the Law received by Moses in the OT is justly punished (Verse 2)
(2) The Gospel came from Christ is “such a great salvation”
(3) Would the punishment be less for first hearers of the epistle who disobeyed (by rejecting Christ)?
b. Transition: Imperative (do) to Interrogative (how?)
(1) “Therefore we must…how shall we escape if…”
(2) Attested to “us” not “you” – Softens the warning to include the author
4. Verses 3b-4 “It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
a. Declared first by the Lord (compare with “declared by angels” in verse 2)
b. Attested to “us” by those who heard it (from Christ – apostles and first disciples)
c. Bore witness of by God himself by signs, wonders and various miracles
d. Witnessed by the distribution of the gifts of the Holy Spirit
Q. How can we neglect this message from Christ? About Christ?
Q. What about us? We have even more than the original audience of Hebrews. How can we neglect the Gospel? What would be the consequences?
B. Who Rules? (Heb 2:5-18)
1. Verses 5-8 “Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6 It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? 7 You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, 8 putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.”
a. God is mindful of him
b. God cares for him
c. Made him “a little lower than the angels” – temporarily
d. Crowned him with glory and honor
e. Made to have all things on Earth in subjection to him.
f. However, since Adam, sin has broken the last of these. “At present” everything is not in subjection to him (man)
Q. Did God subject the world to the angels?
Q. Is it amazing to you that the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe (of Everything) is mindful of YOU?
Q. Today their is much interest in spirits, angels, extra terrestrials and the supernatural in general. What does this passage tell us about our place in creation as human beings?
2. Verse 9 “But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
1. Was made like us for “a little while”
2. He was crowned in glory and honor
a. Because of His suffering of death (due to His obedience)
b. So that He might die for us
3. Verse 10 “For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.”
a. v. 10 is commentary for v. 9 – “by the grace of God”. What happened to Christ was appropriate as it was the plan of the Father, and thus according to His purpose.
b. Dynamic Equivalences – NIV(new) and NIV84
“Bringing many sons….” (ESV, NIV84)
“Bringing many sons and daughters….” (NIV)
Greek – “sons” = huios (used only of male offspring)
c. “founder” of their salvation – (also translated author, pioneer, captain, champion, leader; also means chief, first cause, prince)
d. Christ was made “perfect”
(1) Fully equipped, completely qualified for his priestly action
(2) Permitted him to accomplish his redemptive mission
(1) Christ as champion of salvation – Christ as High Priest
(2) One source (one champion, one savior, one priest)
a. Def: “sanctify” – to make legitimate, to make holy, to purify, to render clean
b. We are radically different than Christ. We need to be made holy!
Q. Why was it necessary for Christ to take on flesh?
5. Verses 14-17 “14 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, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 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.”
a. “…in the same way” signifies total likeness, underscores the extent of the identity of the Son’s involvement in the conditions of human experience common to other persons.
Q. Why did he have to die? What did that accomplish? How?
b. He died that “He might destroy the one who as the power of death, that is the devil”
Q. Why do people fear death? How can that fear be removed?
Q. How does a fear of death lead to lifelong slavery?
c. “Therefore…so that…” Christ becomes the High Priest
d. Def: “Propitiation” – Turning away of anger by the offering of a gift
6. Verse 18 “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
a. Christ suffered when tempted
b. He can help us when we are tempted