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Hebrews 2:10-18: Jesus Suffered to Save Print E-mail
Sunday, 25 September 2016

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For the past couple of weeks, I have chosen a Christmas song to be part of our corporate worship, even though we are still in September. I have done this for a couple of reasons. First, as I shared last week, the theology in our Christmas hymns is too good to only sing once a year. Second, the author of Hebrews teaches about the incarnation of Jesus in Hebrews 2. Just as the first chapter points to the deity of Christ, so the second chapter points to His humanity. The author demonstrates how Jesus became a human and fulfilled Godís role for humanity which is outlined in Psalm 8 (see 2:1-9). At the end of his exposition on that Psalm, the author states that Jesus is crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone (v. 9b). Jesus became a man and suffered in our place on the cross. But we might ask at this point: Why was that necessary? Why did Jesus have to become a man and why did He have to suffer and die? Why do we celebrate His incarnation each year in December? The author goes on to answer these questions in our passage this morning by giving us several descriptions of why Jesus took on flesh and suffered at the cross. Letís consider these together.

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Jesus took on flesh and suffered to perfect/complete His work of salvation (v. 10)

After stating that Jesus tasted death for everyone, the author immediately goes on to state why this was necessary. Look at verse 10. We need to sort out the pronouns a bit to understand what the author is saying. The first Ďheí in the verse is a reference to God the Father. He is the One for whom and by whom all things exist (with Jesus the agent of creation as we have seen in chapter 1). And He is the One who is bringing many sons to glory, or redeeming a people to dwell with Him forever. So the author is saying that it was fitting for God the Father to redeem His people through the suffering of Jesus. Through His suffering, Jesus was made perfect. What does the author mean by this? Of course, he is not saying that Jesus was not morally perfect, but rather that Jesus had to save us through suffering. In other words, He could not be our Redeemer, the founder of our salvation, without suffering. Through His suffering His work was accomplished or completed. We might be tempted to wonder why God did it this way? Why send Jesus to suffer and die? Why not just forgive us and call it good? But the righteous character of God made it necessary, or fitting, for Jesus to save us through suffering. The path of bringing many sons to glory led to a bloody hill of death outside the gates of Jerusalem. And because Jesus took this path as the founder of our salvation, He became our perfect Redeemer.

Jesus took on flesh and suffered to be our brother in Godís family (v. 11-13)

The author uses family language to describe our salvation next. Look at verses 11-13. Jesus took on flesh to become like us. He is the One who sanctifies and we are the ones who are sanctified and we are all humans. We all share the same nature. We are all one in that sense. We are not the same as Jesus in every way. The author has already spoken of His nature as God, which we do not share with Him. But He did become human like us. He did share in our flesh and blood, as the author notes in verse 14. And as such, the author notes that He is not ashamed to call them brothers. This verse has floored me this week. I am not worthy to be Christís servant, His slave, much less His brother. Yet, through faith in His work at the cross, we have been adopted into the family of God. We are sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ, our brother. How amazing is it that Christ is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters! He took on flesh and suffered on the cross to bring us into Godís family.

Jesus took on flesh and suffered to destroy the one who has the power of death (v. 14)

The author continues to give reasons for Christís incarnation in verse 14. Look at that with me. We have flesh and blood so Christ took on flesh and blood. Why did He do that? He tasted death for us that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil. Jesus became a man to destroy the power of Satan. The Devil was defeated when Christ died and rose again. The accusations of the Accuser were answered by the death of the Redeemer. If you have turned from your sins and trusted in Christ as your Savior, then Satan has nothing to hold over you. He can bring up every single sin you have ever committed or will ever commit and the cross screams out ĎPAIDí again and again. He is still at work. He is still blinding the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4) and looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). But his days are numbered and his power is limited. The strong man has been bound by a much Stronger Man and his spoils are being plundered every time a sinner repents and believes in Christ (see Luke 11:21-22). His ultimate defeat is certain because Christ tasted death and overcame.

Jesus took on flesh and suffered to deliver those held captive due to the fear of death (v. 15-16)

The author explains why Satanís defeat by Christ is so important for humans in verses 15-16. Look at those with me. The Bible teaches that every man is a sinner except Jesus. It also teaches that the wages of sin is death (see Romans 6:23). If these statements are true, then we all are enslaved to the fear of death. As sinners, we know that death is coming and that we cannot escape it. Have you considered that this morning? You are a slave to the fear of death because of your sin. Yet, the glorious good news that the author of Hebrews is sharing is that Jesus has took on flesh and suffered on the cross to set you free from such slavery. For those in Christ, we are no longer slaves to the fear of death. Why? Because we know that we will be raised from the dead just as Jesus was raised. We will have victory over the grave just as He did (see 1 Corinthians 15). We rest in the fact that Jesus now has the keys of Death and Hades (Revelation 1:18). He has control over death and we can have victory through faith in Him. He died to defeat death and the one who has power over death and to set us free from the fear of death! Hallelujah what a Savior! To return a moment to his earlier argument, the author notes that Jesus did not do this for angels, but for the offspring of Abraham, or all who have placed their faith in Christ. Christ became a man and died to deliver men from their fear of death.

Jesus took on flesh and suffered to become our High Priest and atone for our sins (v. 17)

The author will spend a considerable amount of time arguing that Jesus is our great High Priest (see ch. 7-8). He introduces this idea in verse 17. Look at that with me. Jesus had to become human in order to be our merciful and faithful high priest. He could not represent us before God, which was the role of the priest under the Law, without being like his brothers in every respect. He took on flesh to be our High Priest. And what did He do for us as our High Priest? He made propitiation for the sins of the people. Under the Old Covenant, the priests would sacrifice lambs to make atonement for the people. These sacrifices would pay for sin and turn away Godís wrath from the people. Yet, they were all a foreshadowing of what was to come. They all pointed to Jesus, the Lamb of God, who would offer Himself as the propitiation for our sins. Through His suffering and death, He took the wrath of God that we deserved. Godís wrath against my sin was just. I deserved an eternity in Hell to pay for my rebellion against my Maker. But God the Father punished Jesus the Son in my place. The Son took on flesh, lived a perfect life, and died under the righteous wrath of God at Calvary. And by doing so, He became our merciful and faithful high priest. He took on flesh to die as our atoning sacrifice.

Jesus took on flesh and suffered to help those who are being tempted (v. 18)

How many of you have struggled this week with temptation? How many of you have ever considered just walking away from the path of God and looking for an easier road. When Jesus was a man, He faced such temptation. The Devil tried to get Him to avoid the cross. His flesh struggled under the weight of bearing Godís wrath for our sin. He knows what it is like to struggle against the burden of temptation. Thus, He can help us when we face that struggle. Look at verse 18. He suffered in the flesh so that He can now help those who continue to suffer in the flesh. He faced temptation so that He can be a help to those who are now facing temptation. Never think that you are alone in your struggles against temptation. Never think that Jesus just doesnít know what it is like to face such hardships. He took on flesh and suffered so that He could help you. Rich Mullins wrote: ďThereís bound to come some trouble in this life, but Heís been there before and He knows what itís like, and youíll find Heís there.Ē 1 

Jesus took on flesh and tasted death for us to justly justify a people for God. He did this to save us and reconcile us to the Father. He became a man and suffered so that God could bring many sons to glory. He is our Perfect Redeemer, our Brother who has brought us into the family of God. He is the Stronger Man who has defeated the Devil and delivered us from captivity to him. He is our great High Priest, who atoned for our sins and knows what it is like to face temptation. The author of Hebrews writes all of this to ask us again: How could you turn away from such a Savior? How could we neglect such a great salvation? You can look for hope and peace and forgiveness and freedom from fear in a million different places, but you will only find it all in Christ. He is the Savior that we need. Turn from your sins and trust in Him today. Devote your life to knowing and loving and serving and obeying Him more and more. Be satisfied by the One who took on flesh and tasted death to save your soul. Amen.

1 Rich Mullins, ďBound to come some trouble,Ē on the album Never Picture Perfect.

~ William Marshall ~

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