Remember that the writer of Hebrews has written the people “a word of encouragement” (13:22). These Christians are suffering under pressure and difficulties for following Christ and are waning in their faith. The writer speaks to these Christians a great encouragement to not give up because Jesus is better than anything else in life. In verses 5-9 of Hebrews 2 the author has declared that Christians must not give up because they are destined for glory and honor. We do not see all the rule we will possess but we do see Jesus who has been exalted, crowning him with glory and honor and putting all things under his feet. As we continue through this chapter we are going to see two more reasons why we must not give up. Both of the reasons fit in the idea that we have the help we need to endure. Let’s read Hebrews 2:10-13 and consider the help that we have to endure any difficulty.
Bringing Many Sons To Glory (2:10)
The stated purpose of the work of Jesus is that God would bring many sons to glory. The whole point is to bring us to glory. I would like for us to observe that this is one of the few times where it is important to keep the term “sons” rather than “children” or “sons and daughters” even though the author clearly does not intend only males. This is the first time we as Christians are called “sons” in the text. Now keeping the terms “sons” is helpful because up to this point who has been called “son” in the text? Jesus is the Son and now there is a unity that is happening in that we as Christians are also being called sons. It is not merely that we are children but there is an equal connection to Jesus as the Son that the author is going to explore in these verses, particularly in verse 11, that we will consider deeply in a moment. But for now, God has brought one Son into glory (2:9) and will now also bring many sons to glory, which is the purpose of the Father sending Jesus.
Made Perfect Through Suffering (2:10)
Notice the critical truth declared in verse 10: perfecting happens through suffering. We are made complete by the Lord through suffering. The author declares that Jesus was made perfect through suffering. Now we know what the author means by this because we have already considered chapter 1. In chapter 1 the author declared that Jesus was “appointed heir of all things” (1:2), “became as much superior to angels” (1:4), and “inherited a more excellent name than theirs” (1:4). The idea is not that Jesus was not perfect in a moral sense. The point is that Jesus had to experience suffering to qualify for the office he was given, which not only includes being our high priest, but also being a Son. I hope that we see the connection. To be a son and be brought into glory means trials and suffering. Jesus is perfected through sufferings pictures his full obedience to his mission of death on the cross because that was God’s will for him, In fact, notice the writer of Hebrews says that, “it was fitting.” It was appropriate to use suffering to equip the Savior so that God could fulfill his purpose. The offense of the cross is the beauty of redemption. The way of salvation is not out of God’s character. The sufferings of Jesus have their place in God’s great eternal purpose. So in the same way, it is fitting for us, in bringing us to glory as sons, that we would also experience sufferings as means of God perfecting us to his glory.
But there is yet another beautiful picture in verse 10. Jesus is called “the founder of their salvation” (ESV). This Greek word typically refers to leaders of families in the scriptures. The word is used outside of the scriptures to speak of founders of cities and champions who fight on behalf of a nation. The picture is that Jesus is our pioneer and champion who leads us to glory through suffering. We must pass through suffering to enter glory just as our pioneer and champion did.
All of One (2:11)
Now you see in verse 11 this intimate connection we have with Jesus because he became flesh and suffered in the flesh. Jesus makes people holy and those who are made holy are all from one. Now that is not a natural English stopping point, even though that is what happens in the Greek. So Jesus and us, all as sons now, are all from one what? The translations vary at this point but I think the most logical point from the context is that we are all from one Father. Verse 10 was the picture of unity that Jesus is the Son through his suffering and we are sons being brought to glory through suffering. Further, verse 11 we see Jesus calling us brothers which also indicates that we are in one family and have one Father. We are made perfect through Jesus so that we have the same Father. So now listen to the amazing words of verse 11.
“That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers.” Jesus is not ashamed of us. Jesus does not view us as pitiful victims, hopeless causes, or charity cases. Jesus calls us brothers. Jesus’ work changed our relationship with him and with the Father. He became one with us so that he can bring us to glory and he is not ashamed of that. The message was not to live right and God will bring you up. Instead, God came down at significant cost to himself and lived with us, changing us so that we can live holy lives. The writer of Hebrews wants us to be blown away by this truth. We see this because the author now makes three quotations from the scriptures to show that Jesus is not ashamed to call you part of the family of God.
Proving Jesus Is Not Ashamed of Us (2:12-13)
First, the author quotes the end of Psalm 22. This is such an appropriate quotation because Psalm 22 is the psalm of a righteous suffering. There are many messianic quotations found through out it like verses 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 17, and 18. Psalm 22 speaks of a righteous sufferer enduring so much that it appears God has forsaken him but then is rescued and vindicated by the Lord. Once the righteous sufferer has been rescued and vindicated listen to the quotation in the context:
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen! I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you. (Psalm 22:21–22 ESV)
The result of the righteous sufferer is that he will proclaim the message of praise to his brothers, which is us. This is an invitation for us to enjoy the benefits of the family relationship with God now made available through Jesus. Jesus praises the Father’s name to us, showing us that the Father has not abandoned us in our suffering just as he was not abandoned by the Father through his suffering. The Son does not hesitate to acknowledge the people of God as part of his family. Rather than being ashamed of us, the Son proclaims the benefits of belonging to the family of God.
Second, the author quotes Isaiah 8:17, “I will put my trust in him.” Jesus proclaims his trust in the Father. Jesus put his faith in the Father. We see what the Father did for Jesus, rescuing and vindicating Jesus by raising him from the dead and exalting him to glory. So as sons also we put our trust in the Father to do the same for us even though we are experiencing suffering.
Third, the author quotes Isaiah 8:18, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.” The unity is not superficial between Jesus and us. Now this is the flow of the chapter. Earlier in the chapter we read that God subjected the world to come to us. The author quotes Psalm 8 to prove this. But we do not see this yet but we do see Jesus. The point is that what happens to Jesus will happen to us and the proof is found in these quotations. The victory Jesus received because he trusted in the Father does not merely belong to him but to us as sons. It belongs to “I (Jesus) and the children God has given me.” We share in the glory that Jesus has received. These quotations continue to picture the family relationship we have with Jesus. The Son does not hesitate to acknowledge the people of God as his God-given children for whose redemption he is responsible. The writer of Hebrews has proven that Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers and that it is fitting to be brought to glory through suffering.
The author of Hebrews writes this because these words are to be the help you need to endure through difficulties and trials. There are two considerations for us that I would like for each of us to take home today. First, suffering is appropriate. If it was fitting for Jesus to be perfected through what he suffered so that he could be designated as Son and high priest, then it is also fitting for us to be perfected through what we suffer so that we can sons of God as well. Jesus is pictured as our pioneer and champion, leading the way to glory. We must follow that path to glory which means that suffering is what God allows us to experience. Please think about your suffering in this light: God allows suffering to perfect us as his children so that we can be brought into glory. Rather than giving up under the weight of trials we must consider our trials as exactly what we need to belong to God as his children.
Second, do not give up because Jesus is not ashamed to call you his brother or sister. Is this not jaw dropping and absolutely stunning? How do you look at yourself and your relationship with God? How do you perceive your standing before God? I want us to see something so important. Do not give up because you think that have messed up far too much. Do not give up because you think your sins are too great. Do not give up because you think that you do not have the strength to endure the trials you are presently facing. Jesus is not ashamed of you. I think we often want to give up because we feel this way. Jesus says that he died for you, not because you were perfect or good, but because you weren’t. He is not ashamed of you. He has come to help you. He is our champion in the face of our failure. Jesus has defeated the Goliath while we stood on the sidelines afraid. He is not ashamed of us. He has won the victory for us. He is not ashamed to have you part of his family, to call you his brother and his sister. How could we possibly be ashamed of him when is not ashamed of us? How could we possible hide him from the world when he proclaims us as belonging to him to all the heavenly places? Do not give up. Make changes to your life and conform to the will of God. Do not give up. Start fresh with Jesus. Come to the Father with your sins and find healing and rest.