Lesson 6


The Epistle to the Hebrews

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 2:11 For both he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 2:12 saying,

 "I will declare your name to my brothers.
      In the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise."

2:13 Again, "I will put my trust in him." Again, "Behold, here am I and the children whom God has given me." 2:14 Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 2:15 and might deliver all of them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 2:16 For most assuredly, not to angels does he give help, but he gives help to the seed of Abraham. 2:17 Therefore he was obligated in all things to be made like his brothers, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. 2:18 For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.


Today's Lesson 

So far the basic premise of the Epistle to the Hebrews has been that Jesus is greater than the prophets and the angels. Jesus is the Son who is the radiance of the Father's glory. He is the image and the substance of God. He was made a little lower than the angels so that in tasting death for all of us he might bring glory and praise to God.

 

But, for what is to come, it is also necessary that the author make clear that the Son of God was also the son of man. Jesus took upon Himself all of our humanity. It is true that all things were made through Him and that in Christ all things are held together, but Jesus was not ashamed to become fully human. He called us brothers, so that He might lead many sons to glory. Or, as this author puts it, "both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one."

 

Jesus did not come to this earth to give help to angels. He did not come to give help to perfect people. He came to redeem the lost children of God, so He had to become like them. Since the children shared flesh and blood, He also had to share of their flesh and blood. Since we enter this life through birth and exit it in death, Jesus entered this world of flesh by being born of woman and exited it through the cross. In this way, Jesus became qualified to be a merciful and faithful high priest for these lost children.

 

And this is the main point that the author is now leading to at this point. An examination of the priesthood of Christ will take up the bulk of this letter. But what is a priest and what does it mean to say that Jesus was a faithful high priest? A priest intercedes between the people and God. A priest makes atonement for the sins of the people and brings their prayers before the Altar of God. And, what is important to this line of argument, a priest must be one of the people for whom he intercedes.

 

No one would select a foreigner to be a high priest. In order to intercede between the people and their God, the priest must be trusted by both the people and by God. The priest must be one of the people so that they will know that he understands their temptations and struggles. Because Jesus suffered and was tempted just like all human beings, He can be the High Priest for all those who were tempted just as he was.

 

Who do you trust to know your failures and temptations? Will you turn to Christ when you need a high priest?

 

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