9 But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of His suffering death crowned with glory and honour, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the originator of their salvation through sufferings.11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for this reason He is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, 12 saying,
“I WILL PROCLAIM YOUR NAME TO MY BROTHERS,Psalm 22:22
IN THE MIDST OF THE ASSEMBLY I WILL SING YOUR PRAISE.”
13 And again,
“I WILL PUT MY TRUST IN HIM.”Isaiah 8:17
“BEHOLD, I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN ME.”Isaiah 8:18
14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.16 For clearly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brothers so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.
Hebrews 2:9-18 [NASB]
Now we come to Jesus. This passage is in contrast with the section before it (2:5-8) with its focus on Man.
- Man, lower than angels for a little while. (Verse 7),
- Jesus, lower than angels for a little while. (Verse 9)
Compare and contrast this passage, Hebrews 2:9-18, with the section we have looked at in the previous Gem. Look at the way the writer develops the passage. What is his main reason or point for presenting his case in the way he has? Remember from the previous Gem, I told you the commentators argue about whether the focus is on the ‘degree of lowering’ or the ‘timing of a little while‘. I am interested in what you think about the matter. Your opinion is just as valid as the commentators. Especially now that you know the intricacies of these two passages and the possibility of the focus being on the contrast between them.
As you ponder this passage list the questions that you have. As I do frequently in the Bible Gems, I encourage you to ask your questions. That is always a good approach when we study the Word of God.
- In what way can Jesus be considered to be lower than the angels given the fact the writer is arguing He is greater?
- Why is he using these particular Old Testament quotes?
- What is his point?
- Why does he use ‘that word’?
- What does ‘that word’ actually mean and why use it here?
Share your questions with me to ensure I cover your questions in the following Gems. Many have commented over the time since I have been writing Bible Gems that they love the depth that I go to explore the meaning of each part, but even more the opportunity to ask their own questions and have me address them on their behalf anonymously.
Make sure you also connect this passage to the whole of the writer’s argument – the complete text of the first two chapters. There are some very important links to take into account in order to understand what the writer is doing. It is always good for us to ponder the big picture and the details at the same time in order to fully understand a particular passage and how it fits together. Especially so with this passage at this time. After all, we are in the Passion Week leading up to Easter, Good Friday and Resurrection Day. Hebrews 2:9-18 is a great passage to meditate on for that very reason. The writer of the letter has prompted us to be thinking about these things during this “little while”.
Now I will turn you loose to do just that. I encourage you to think on these things and to dare to come to your own conclusions.
In the era before John Wycliffe came on the scene, the established Church objected to the idea of the laity (the commoners) being allowed to read and interpret the Bible for themselves. The established Church hierarchy regarded John Wycliffe as a heretic for daring to translate the Bible into common everyday English and so in protest they dug up his bones, burned them to ashes and scattered the ashes on the River Swift. The aim was to wipe out the memory of this heretic from the face of the earth.
After Wycliffe’s death, the poet Fuller wrote:
As the River Swift will bear the ashes into the River Avon and as the River Avon will bear the ashes into the River Severn and as the River Severn will bear the ashes into the channels around our shores and as those channels will bear the ashes into the oceans so will the teachings of John Wycliffe spread throughout the World.Fuller
On April 4th 1519, a woman was burned at the stake in Little Park, Coventry, for daring to teach her children the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments in English.Fact
The Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church were opposed to the people having the Word of God in their language. The Bible was only to be read in the original languages or in Latin. It was the role of the priests to interpret the Scripture for the people and to tell them what it meant.Fact
The Greek of the New Testament is Koine Greek, the everyday language of the common people, the language of the market place. God intended His Word to be read and understood by everyone.Fact
Dare to consider your reasoned response! Have fun! 🤩 This is a holiday weekend with the Easter Break so I won’t send out a Gem on Monday but will give you more time to think about it.
A question to ponder: Would you have risked being burnt at the stake for coming to your own conclusions about the Scriptures?