Hebrews 2:1-4 (NIV) 1 We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
On verses 1-4: Here the writer of Hebrews starts to compare two messages. The first message is the message of the Old Covenant, a message that was “spoken by angels” (v2; see also Galatians 3:19) to Moses. The message of the Old Covenant is all about God’s law. The essence of this first message is: “Obey God’s law and be blessed. Disobey God’s law and die.” This first message was binding on the Israelites. Those who disobeyed the law of Moses were punished.
The second message is the message of salvation (v3). It’s a message which says that we have broken God’s law and need a Saviour to save us from our sins, and that Saviour’s name is Jesus. This second message of salvation was not only spoken by angels but “announced by the Lord” Jesus (v3), was confirmed by his disciples (v3), and as we see in the book of Acts and even to this day was testified to by signs, wonders, miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit (v4).
Jesus is the announcer of God’s message of salvation.
While the first message was about God’s law and our performance, the second message is about God’s grace and our need for a Saviour. The writer of Hebrews is saying that we need to pay more careful attention to this second message, lest we miss the salvation that comes from it. The consequences of not realizing that we need a Saviour and that Saviour is Jesus are fatal.
Hebrews 2:5-8 (NIV) 5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8 and put everything under his feet.” In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him.
On verses 5-10: Although we human beings do not have power like the angels have and were made “a little lower than the angels” (v7), God gave the glory, honour and responsibility of taking care of this world not to angels but to human beings. In particular, God has placed the world in the hands of the greatest human being of all Jesus Christ. That’s why Jesus says in Matthew 28:18 that “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me”. As verse 8 says, at present we do not yet see everything being subject to Jesus, for in this world we still see sin, suffering and death. That’s because Satan has been allowed to continue to squat in this world and to wreak certain havoc until the day that Jesus Christ, the rightful ruler of this world, comes again.
From this we learn that Jesus is not only God, but He is the greatest human too, and Jesus has all authority.
Hebrews 2:9-10 (NIV) 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10 In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.
On verses 9-10: The reason Jesus is crowned with glory and honor above and beyond any other human being is because Jesus suffered for our sins and tasted death for all of us (v9). Jesus became human like us so that he could suffer on our behalf and through his suffering become the author of our salvation, “bringing many sons to glory” (bringing many people back to God). Jesus is not only the announcer of God’s message of salvation, but Jesus is also the agent who made that salvation possible.
Finally, notice verse 10 says, “God, for whom and through everything exists”. The reason you and I exist, the reason we have what we have, is for God’s glory and through God’s power. It is for God and through God that we exist.
Heavenly Father, thank You for all these crucial and important truths You are teaching us through the book of Hebrews. Thank You that Your Son Jesus became like us, a little lower than the angels, and tasted death for us all, so that we could have salvation. May we pay more attention to this message of salvation than before so that we will never drift away. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!