Hebrews was first written for Jews who had come to faith in Jesus as the Messiah to help them understand why Jesus is the fulfilment of the Old Testament promise and to help them not fall back to law keeping Judaism.
The first chapter establishes Jesus’ superiority over the previous Old Testament revelation and this chapter starts with a “therefore”. If Jesus is superior, we need to pay attention and not drift off or away! The revelation was declared by Jesus and attested by the first eye-witness by signs, wonders, miracles and the gifts of the Spirit. So wake up! Listen up! Pay attention!
What is man?
We are not just a product of evolution. We are not just animals with a bit more of a brain. We were made lower than the angels (v7) but over the animals (v8). We were created in the image of God – just like the Son of Man (Jesus who is God-Man).
We have high value – you are not a nobody or a nothing. I’ve just had Ginny Burgin’s book Overpowering Nemo delivered. She had an appalling abusive childhood where she was considered a nobody – Nemo is the latin for nobody. God set her free to enjoy her real identity in Christ – an image bearer. That’s what Jesus does and somewhat what this passage is about.
We are crowned with glory v7 and over creation v9. But the bad news is that sin has made us not only guilty but corrupted. Before our coming to faith in Jesus we are unable to see everything God wants us to see v8. But God desires us to “see” Jesus and grasp who He is and what He has done for us.
The phrase “But now” (v9) occurs in the New Testament a lot – two dynamite words that contrast or sinful state outside of Christ with what Jesus has done for us. He suffered death for us, he tasted death for everyone. God in the flesh died for us, on our behalf as our substitute – tasting death for us.
This passage tells us why in 4 ways.
- To bring us to glory – saved and made perfect. What security!
- To sanctify us – make us holy by declaration and imputation and in practice. What we call justification and ongoing sanctification
- To bring us into family as brothers v11-12.
- To deliver us from fear of death and slavery to sin v15
- Makes propitiation v17 that means he takes away God’s anger towards our sin.
Jesus really does relate to you – he became like us in every respect (except sinning. He suffered, making him totally empathetic. And so he can help us when we are tempted
What a saviour!