Hope from Hebrews #4 - Why God Became Man
Text: Hebrews 2:5-18
Thesis: To examine the reasons for Jesus’ incarnation.
(1) One of the most amazing thoughts in Scripture is that God became man.
(2) From this text, let us note 4 reasons pertaining to why Jesus became human.
I. His humanity enabled Him to regain man’s lost dominion (vv. 5-9).
A. ‘World to come’ refers to “the Christian world-order” (Lightfoot 72) in which all things are subjected to Jesus, not angels.
B. The preacher proceeds to quote Psalm 8:4-6 in order to prove his point (Note: “To cite a familiar passage with a vague formula was a mark of good rhetoric. Also, the oblique reference to the human author lays stress on the divine origin of the message” [Lightfoot 73]).
C. Contextually, the psalm had reference to man (cf. Gen. 1:26-31).
1. Note man’s astonishing intended 1) Position; 2) Honor; and 3) Authority.
2. However, it is obvious, today, that “man cannot control the fish, fowl, or animals. In fact, man has a hard time controlling himself!” (Wiersbe 2:283).
3. Chesterton correctly stated: “Whatever is or is not true about men, this one thing is certain – man is not what he was meant to be.”
D. Thus, it is the case that “in Christ the complete fulfillment of the psalm is realized and true dominion conferred” (Lightfoot 74).
1. Note: The height of the exaltation of man was for Jesus the depth of his humiliation.
2. ‘See’ is “related metaphorically to faith” (Koester 216).
3. “ ‘Taste’ is a Hebrew expression for full experience; ‘to taste death’ is to die (cf. Matt. 16:28; John 8:52). What is meant is that Jesus experienced the bitterness of death (1 Sam. 15:32) in his body” (LWC).
II. His humanity enabled Him to bring many sons to glory as a family (vv. 10-13).
A. ‘Fitting’ refers not to “a consequence of God’s nature, but of human needs and the salvific action that meets them” (Attridge 82).
B. ‘Captain’ (Gr. archegos) means “one who begins or originates” (BDAG).
1. Other translations have “author” (NIV) and “pioneer” (NRSV).
2. “The implication is that if Jesus had not blazed the way there would have been no salvation” (Guthrie 89).
C. Note: “Perfection in Hebrews has to do with fully completing a course, making it to the end of God’s plan” (Guthrie 108).
D. Beginning with v. 11, the preacher sets out to prove that Jesus and His followers “all are one.”
1. First, the preacher quotes Psalm 22:22 to indicate “that those whom the Son of God is pleased to call his brethren are the members of his church” (Bruce 46).
2. Second, the preacher quotes Isaiah 8:17 in order to demonstrate that Jesus, “too, is wholly dependent on God, which demonstrates His sonship and brotherhood with all men” (Lightfoot 77).
3. Third, the preacher quotes Isaiah 8:18 in which “the image of the family suggests an intimacy of relationship and a tenderness that broadens the concept of solidarity” (Lane 1:60).
III. His humanity enabled Him to disarm Satan and deliver us from death (vv. 14-16).
A. ‘Flesh and blood’ both “suggest the weakness and frailty of humankind” (Attridge 92).
B. Taking on man’s frailty, Jesus was able to overcome Satan and free us from the fear of death.
1. ‘Destroy’ (Gr. katargeo) means “to render idle, unemployed, inactive, inoperative” (Thayer’s).
a. I.e., “Satan is not destroyed, but he is disarmed” (Wiersbe 2:284).
b. Cf. 1 John 3:8b. – “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” [Compare Col. 2:15]
2. How did Satan have power over death? “He was lord of death because sin, which produces death, was under his control” (Lightfoot 78).
3. Fear of death? According to 1 Cor. 15:54-57, Christ has removed the “sting of death.” Thus, for Christians, there is nothing to fear!
4. ‘Abraham’s descendants’ = Christians (cf. Gal. 3:19)
IV. His humanity enabled Him to be a sympathetic High Priest to His people (vv. 17-18).
A. First, the preacher portrays Jesus as a mediator.
1. ‘Merciful’ (Gr. eleemon) refers to “being concerned about people in their need” (BDAG).
2. ‘Faithful’ (Gr. pistos) refers to Jesus’ being “reliable” (BDAG).
B. Second, the preacher portrays Jesus as a propitiator.
1. ‘Propitiation’ (Gr. hilaskomai) means “to eliminate impediments that alienate the deity” (BDAG).
2. This was done upon the cross.
C. Third, the preacher portrays Jesus as a helper.
1. “The sufferings Jesus endured enable him to help others” (EBC).
2. ‘Aid’ (Gr. boetheo) means “to render assistance to someone in need” (BDAG).
(1) Knowing our situation, Jesus reached out to us by leaving Heaven to come to earth in the flesh to be our Savior.
(2) “He is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters. Are we ashamed to call Him ‘Lord?’” (Wiersbe 2:285).