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Hebrews Chapter 2

PASSAGE BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT INFORMATION


Hebrews 2 immediately follows from Hebrews 1. The author begins this section with "therefore", linking the message of Jesus as our anchor and roots with what is to follow. 

In this passage, the author is interested in the link between theology and ethics - how what we believe affects how we live our life. What we believe and know about Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, directly affects how we live and our lives and how we see the world.


Hebrews 2:1-4

  • The more deeply we study and understand the scripture and received theology, the more it changes and shapes how we live. Orthopraxy (right practice) and orthodoxy (right belief) are linked. Hebrews is drawing a direct line from how often and intently we read the scriptures and hear God's words through teaching and preaching to our ability to live our lives as faithful people.


  • Hebrews wants us to take seriously the work of deep theological study and reflection, because the author argues it leads to a more robust and life-giving faith. Surface level study of the Bible - or no study at all - leads to a brittle, weak faith. More than that, it teaches us how to see God at work in the world, especially when God is at work in ways and in places we don't expect.


  • Even during the time of the Hebrews, folks tended to relegate theology to the "professionals", but taking on the extra task of understanding the why, how's, and what's of our faith gives us the eyes to better see God in action in the world and actually shapes us as people. 


Hebrews 2:5-9


  • This is an extended riff on Psalm 8 - a Psalm which marvels at how a majestic God would choose to become/interact with lowly humans.

  • Ancient Judaism believed angels were placed over the world and were referred to as the "Prince" of whatever country they were responsible for overseeing. (Prince of Persia, Prince of the Lavant, etc.)

  • In the New Testament, humans are instead under the dominion only of Jesus.

  • To this point, the author has been talking about Jesus who is exalted and in heaven. This is a transition section is connecting the reason Jesus chose the human incarnation and explaining why it is important.

  • Jesus willingly lowered himself, for a time, into the full experience of humanity.

  • Two heresies - Docetism (Jesus wearing a human costume) and Manechism (Jesus wasn't divine at all, just a really awesome human.)

  • The whole point of Jesus is his role as God-become man.


Hebrews 2:10-18


  • This section begins a key theme from this book - there is a difference between what we see with our eyes and what faith tells us to be true. 

  • Preacher acknowledges that what our eyes see and our faith tells us is often different. Look at the suffering Jesus - who appeared to the world to be dead, but our faith reminds us was resurrected.

  • The Preacher is answering the unspoken question - If everything is already under God's feet, then why do we still see so much suffering?

  • Answer is - God is working towards the fulfillment of the promise which will come into full view at the end of days. 

  • God's vision of the future is embodied in the life and death of Jesus.

  • This is an Ancient Question - There are whole sections of the psalms which cry out out to a God who seems to be asleep.

  • Question is our expectations. Hebrews seems to argue suffering and persecution are the normal status of Christian life, because that's what Jesus experienced on earth. Challenge is to use the experience of pain and suffering to make the world more like how God envisions it.

  • The idea of a suffering servant as Lord is central to the gospel, but scandalous to the first-century world (and the world now, too!).

  • Pictures Jesus as the ferryman between earth and heaven - the champion of God's people. 

  • Perfect here means complete, not without flaws. In his suffering, Jesus did everything God asked him to do on earth, completing the mission.

  • Uses Psalm 22:22 and Isaiah 8:17-18 for three purposes

  • Establishes the close relationship between believers and Jesus as co-heirs of the promise.

  • OT promises of the Son living with the people

  • Both speak of the Son's posture of trust in the face of suffering

  • By becoming human, Jesus took the sting out of death because the devil no longer has control of it, but Jesus and God do. 

  • Answers two heresies:

  • Docetism - Jesus just appeared to be human. Was wearing a human costume but was always fully divine.

  • Apollinarianism - The flesh of Jesus was human by the mind was divine. 

  • Primary emphasis is the removal of the fear of death, not death itself.

  • Four things we fear:

  • Fear the loss of mastery and control

  • Incompleteness and failure

  • Separation from our loved ones.

  • Takes us into the realm of unfamiliarity

  • We have a sense of known mixed with the unknown. We do not know what, but we know who and where and when.

  • Control of our destines has always been a myth.


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