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THE PURPOSES OF JESUS’ HUMANITY (1)
Victor M. Eskew
A. In the first chapter, the inspired writer contrasted Jesus with angels and showed His superiority to them.
B. In this chapter 2, the writer seems to address an objection that might have been raised with regard to the superiority of Jesus over angels.
1. The objection: If Jesus was a man, how could He be superior to the angels? Men, according to Scripture, are lower than the angels (Heb. 8:4-5).
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and has crowned him with glory and honor.
2. The fact: The writer of Hebrews does not deny that Jesus was a man. In fact, he expresses that Jesus was a man in many ways in this chapter:
a. Made a little lower than the angels (Heb. 2:9)
b. Suffering of death (Heb. 2:9) and through death (Heb. 2:14)
c. Suffering (Heb. 2:9) and sufferings (Heb. 2:14)
d. Are all of one (one Father, Heb. 2:11)
e. Not ashamed to call them brethren (Heb. 2:11) and my brethren (Heb. 2:12)
f. He also himself likewise took part of the same (Heb. 2:14)
g. Took on him the seed of Abraham (Heb. 2:16)
h. Behooved him to be made like unto his brethren (Heb. 2:17)
i. Being tempted (Heb. 2:18)
a. As a man, the world has been made subject unto Him. No angel could make such a claim (Heb. 2:5-8).
b. His humanity served a multitude of functions on behalf of man. None of these things were accomplished by an angel.
C. In this section, we also see that Jesus sustains a relationship to many individuals.
1. He was made a little lower than the angels (Heb. 2:9).
2. The world has been put in subjection under Him (Heb. 2:6-8). NOTE: Not all things have yet been put under Him (Heb. 2:8).
3. He has destroyed the devil (Heb. 2:14).
4. He has a relationship to humanity: sons (Heb. 2:10), of one Father (Heb. 2:11), and of the seed of Abraham (Heb. 2:16).
I. REVIEW OF CLASS ACTIVITY
v. 9 1) For the suffering of death Requirement
2) Should taste death for all men Replacement
v. 10 3) Bring many sons unto glory Reward
4) Captain…perfect through sufferings Realization
v.11-13 5) He is not ashamed to call them brethren Relationship
v. 14 6) He also himself likewise took part of the same Relate
7) Might destroy him that had the power of death Retaliation
v. 15 8) Deliver them who…subject to bondage Rescue
v. 17 9) Might be a merciful and faithful high priest Responsibility
10) To make reconciliation for the sins Reconciliation
v. 18 11) Able to succor them that are tempted Redemption
II. THE PURPOSES OF JESUS’ HUMANITY
A. REQUIREMENT (Heb. 2:9a): for the suffering of death
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death.
1. “The intent of the author is to make a contrast between ‘man’ and ‘THE MAN’ Jesus Christ. While it is true that man has utterly failed to bring all things into subjection, such cannot be said of Christ” (Wacaster, 74).
2. Jesus was made a little lower than the angels, that is, took upon him the form of a man, because it was required that He must suffer death.
1) Strong (3804): something under gone, that is, hardship or pain.
2) Thayer: that which one suffers, a suffering, a calamity, or pain
3) This suffering involves all that which Jesus experienced in order to ultimately bring about His death.
1) Strong (2288): thanatos
2) Thayer: the death of the body…the separation of the soul and body by which the life on earth is ended
B. REPLACEMENT (Heb. 2:9b): should taste death for all men
…crowned with glory and honor, that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
1. Jesus’ death was for the possible benefit of “every man.”
a. His death was “vicarious,” meaning, it was a substitute.
b. The soul that sins has the sentence of death upon it (Ezek. 18:20).
c. Man, however, does not have to die because Jesus has “tasted death for every man.”
2. Jesus “tasted” death.
a. Strong (1089): to taste, to try the flavor of, to feel, to experience
b. As we view the crucifixion and study its effects on the human body, we know that Jesus truly “tasted” death.
3. The doctrines of “predestination” and “unconditional election” of Calvinism contradict this passage of Scripture. These doctrines state that Jesus died only for the elect, those specifically chosen for salvation before the founda-tion of the world.
4. Two important points:
a. The death of Jesus was “by the grace of God.”
b. Jesus’ obedience to God enabled Him to be crowned with glory and honor.
1) He is not now “lower than the angels.” He now has all power in heaven and in earth (Matt. 28:18).
2) His superiority to angels is not contradicted by His humanity.
C. REWARD (Heb. 2:10): in bringing many sons unto glory
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory…
1. It became him
a. Strong (4241): to tower up, that is, to be suitable or proper
b. Thayer: to stand out, to be conspicuous, to be eminent, to be becoming, seemly, fit
c. God’s action came from the “inner fitness of God’s dealings” with man (Vincent).
2. Two modifiers in the description of Jesus:
a. For whom are all things: all things are for His use and purposes
b. By whom are all things: He is the creator of all things
3. In bringing many sons to glory
a. In the fall, man lost his glory.
b. Jesus enables man to be brought back to his glorious state of fellowship and reward with God.
D. REALIZATION (Heb. 2:10): to make captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings
… to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
a. Strong (747): chief, leader
b. Thayer: chief, leaders, one that takes the lead in anything and thus affords an example
c. Jesus has “blazed the trail for us” (Barclay).
d. Christ has been over the road before us and for us as a man (Keesee as quoted by Wacaster, 78).
a. Strong (4991): soteria – rescue or safety
b. Thayer: deliverance…salvation…which concludes to the soul’s safety or salvation
3. Perfect through sufferings
1) Strong (5048): complete, literally accomplished, consummate
2) Thayer: to make perfect, to carry through completely, to accomplish, finish, bring to an end…add what is yet.
b. “Apart from suffering, Christ could not have been made a thoroughly effective, perfect leader of His people” (Wacaster, 78).
c. “Christ did not consider Himself as having reached the position of absolute perfection until He had trod the path of suffering through Gethsemane and Golgotha to prove Himself a worthy sacrifice to ransom the souls of men” (Ibid.).
PURPOSES OF JESUS’ HUMANITY
Activity for Hebrews 2:5-18
Victor M. Eskew
Directions: There are at least eleven purposes Jesus fulfilled by becoming a man. They are found in the verses below. Write the purpose beside the numeral below. Leave the blanks to the right empty. Upon them, we will give a title for each purpose.
v. 9 1) For the suffering of death __________________________
v. 10 3) __________________________
v.11-13 5) __________________________
v. 14 6) __________________________
v. 15 8) __________________________
v. 17 9) __________________________
v. 18 11) __________________________