Hebrews 2008 Bible Study (The Superior Christ)

Hebrews 2:10-18, Jesus, Our Brother

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In our last lesson we examined the intention of the writer of Hebrews concerning his use of Psalm 8. The writer is speaking about “the world to come,” that is, the new order and rule in the Messianic kingdom. He then quotes Psalm 8 to prove that the rule is not for angels. Psalm 8 describes the dominion and rule of humans over the earth. At the end of verse 8, we are told that we do not fully understand nor are fully aware about the vastness of this rule. But we do see Jesus, who after being made human for a little while, was crowned with glory and honor.

10 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. 11 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. 12 He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.”
13 And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.” (TNIV)

In verse 9 we see Jesus crowned with glory and honor and he rules on his throne. Verse 10 shows that we are sharing this glory, honor, and victory with him. “In bringing many children to glory” shows that we are joined with him. God made Jesus the pioneer of our salvation through his suffering. The word “pioneer” is the best translation I can find of this Greek word. The word carries with it the idea of being a trailblazer, breaking through new ground so that others can follow behind him. The word is also used of a prince, a leader, and a representative head of a family. Therefore, Jesus has blazed the trail and is leading the way for us to be crowned with glory and honor with him.

What does it mean that Jesus was made perfect through what he suffered? The Greek word is teleioo and it means “to bring to an end, to complete, to make perfect.” But, this word translated “perfect” can also refer to consecration. That is, a person is consecrated so that one can complete and finish a task. In fact, in the LXX which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures, this Greek word teleioo is used to refer to consecration, particularly the consecration of a priest. You can see this to a degree in Exodus 29:1-9. In this text Moses is commanded by God to consecrated Aaron and his sons (29:1). The instructions are given about how this consecration would be accomplished. After these steps, notice Exodus 29:9, “Thus you shall ordain Aaron and his sons.” The word translated “ordain” is teleioo in the LXX. After these steps, Aaron and his sons were made ready, consecrated, to accomplish their task as priest. This seems to be the most likely meaning of this word. Jesus did not need to be made perfect in a moral sense because he was perfect moral. Rather, the point is that through his suffering, Jesus was consecrated to his high priestly ministry, to complete the task of bringing salvation to us, through suffering.

11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same (one) family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.

The writer of Hebrews continues that the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are one. Most translations add a word after “one,” but that word should be italicized because that word is supplied by the translators. I think part of the idea is that we are one family. This is natural to the rest of the verse, describing us as brothers and sisters with Jesus. Because we are one is the reason why Jesus calls us brothers and sisters. We are now joined together ruling with Jesus in one family. But there is another part when we reach back to the overall argument of chapters 1 and 2. Jesus is superior to angels. How is Jesus superior to angels in chapter 2? Jesus is superior because he was made human, tasted death for everyone, and was crowned with glory and honor. Therefore, we are one nature with Jesus. In other words, Jesus is one of us. He is our trailblazer who is leading us into victory, joining us together as one family. Then we read these amazing words, “So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.” What a blessed thought that Jesus sees those who are made holy as his brothers and sisters.

12 He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.”

To prove that we are brothers and sisters with Jesus, the writer of Hebrews quotes from two Hebrew passages. The first quotation comes from Psalm 22:22. This is a fascinating quote in light of the context. Psalm 22 begins with the words, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” and ends with “It is finished.” These were some of the final words of Jesus while on the cross, directing the attention of those looking on to consider these prophecies and apply them to Jesus. Psalm 22:22 begins the victory part of the psalm as God has answered his plea and brought deliverance. Verse 22 also applies to Jesus who will declare the deliverance of God to his brothers and sisters. Who are Jesus’ brothers and sisters? We are his brothers and sisters, the holy people of God. In fact, key in on the word “assembly.” The LXX translates that Hebrew word into the Greek with the word ekklesia, which you may recall is most frequently used to refer to the church, the saved people of God. Jesus raises from the dead, conquering death and bringing victory, declaring the power of God to us, his brothers and sisters.

13 And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

These two quotations come from Isaiah 8:17-18. The context of this prophecy is interesting because it is part of the Immanuel prophecy found in Isaiah 7:14. Immanuel means “God with us.” Jesus is saying that he has put his trust in the Lord and God has given Jesus his children. Therefore we are brothers and sisters with Jesus.

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers and sisters 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. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (TNIV)

The writer returns to the idea of our shared victory in Jesus after proving that we are brothers and sisters with him. Jesus shared in flesh and blood with us so that he could break the power of Satan over us. “Destroy” is the not the best word here. Jesus’ death did not destroy Satan’s power who holds the power of death. It means “to render powerless.” Jesus made the power of death that Satan has powerless. Now we have no fear of death. We know that it is not the end for us. We know that we are no longer destined for eternal punishment for our sins. To add to the theme of the argument, Jesus did not do all of these things to help angels, but to help us. The point is that he did not become the nature of angels to help angels. He took hold of human nature to help humans. Further, we are Abraham’s descendants, the fulfillment of God’s promise. We are God’s people. We are his children. We are in his kingdom.

This is why Jesus was made like us – so that he could become a high priest, full of mercy and faithfulness, making atonement for the sins of the people. Jesus had to be made like us to be able to represent us before God. Further, Jesus is making atonement (propitiation) for our sins. This is a picture of God issuing mercy for us even though we sinned. Jesus is operating as high priest on our behalf so that our sins can be covered by God’s mercy. Then the writer of Hebrews goes one step further, declaring that Jesus suffered through temptations and can help us when we are tempted.

Jesus becomes human and is able to help us in so many ways. Jesus helps us by being human because he experienced death for us. Jesus helps us by being human because he can be our brother. Jesus helps us by being human because he can act as high priest, making atonement for our sins. Finally, Jesus helps us by being human because he is able to help us when we are tempted since he also suffered when he was tempted.

Six Reasons Jesus Became Human, According To The Text

  1. That God might consecrate (perfect) him through sufferings (2:10)
  2. To render the power of Satan inoperative (2:14)
  3. Become a merciful and faithful high priest (2:17)
  4. Help believers (2:16)
  5. Deliver humans from the fear of death (2:15)
  6. To rule the world (2:5-8)
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