Hebrews 2:9-10 – Man’s destiny is recovered or reclaimed by the Messiah. Man’s revealed destiny, which was restricted because of sin has been recovered by the Messiah. The ultimate curse of man’s lost destiny is death. In order for our restoration the first order of business is to overcome death. The way God accomplished this was through another Adam, one who would be like Adam but who would do what Adam didn’t. He would restore what the first Adam lost because of sin. This was to be done by the Incarnation, whereby God became man through a supernatural conception, the virgin birth.
God stooped to the level of man for in the Messiah God became a little lower than the Angels. God went from a position of higher than the angels to one lower. God gave man dominion over the world, and because of his sin he lost that dominion. Satan is now described as the god of this world. Jesus came to restore what man lost and the first order of business was to make it possible for the curse upon man to be removed. This is what Jesus accomplished by becoming a man and dying on the cross. He died on the cross that He might suffer death on behalf of everyone. Death is the fruit of sin, and since we all sin, all of us die.
Through the sacrificial system God gave man a substitute to make provision for the spiritual death that separates us from God. The sacrificial lamb provided an exchange or substitute for us. The lamb died in our place thus satisfying God’s justice and demonstrating God’s love. But since this was imperfect it had to be repeated over and over again. Then God Himself became the perfect sacrifice for our sins in Jesus. The One for whom and through all of creation was created, became lower than the angels in order to bring many sons to glory and become the author of their salvation through sufferings. This is one of several places in the NT where someone is said to taste death (Matthew 16:28, Mark 9:1, Luke 9:27, John 8:52).
There are many things that Jewish people have problems with in regard to the New Covenant. Certainly a foundational one is understanding the idea that God would become a man. Then from there comprehending how the God, having become a man, could die. How could Jesus be greater than the angels if angels never die? How could he be our savior if He Himself were killed? We explained last week that because of sin, man lost his capability to handle the God‑given assignment of dominion and found himself in need of general renewal. The Messiah made that renewal a reality through His death, which he tasted for everybody. But sin has taken such a toll that it leaves a complication which we all experience: Suffering. It comes in different forms, and affects everyone. The suffering of Jesus was such that the Sin-Bearer was forsaken by God (cf. Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34).
The secret of suffering is perspective. The key to dealing with and enduring suffering is perspective. It’s our only way of seeing beyond the grim realities that face us. All of us experience pain, but all of us do not handle it the same way. In fact if we are quite honest about it most of us despise suffering. Rather than making us strong and confident, suffering causes us to grow bitter. We fight against the God who allows suffering, thinking that such a God must be cruel. Yet suffering is something that God has declared to be of benefit to us. In fact the sages of Israel write in the Talmud concerning suffering. The idea of suffering being a manifestation of divine love is conveyed in this manner:
“Should a man see sufferings come upon him, let him scrutinize his actions; as it is said, ‘Let us search and try our ways, and return unto the Lord’ Lamentations 3:40. If he has scrutinized his actions without discovering the cause, let him attribute them to neglect of the Torah; as it is said, ‘Happy is the man who Thou chastenest, and teachest out of Thy Law” Psalm 94:12. If he attributed them to neglect of the Torah without finding any justification, it is certain that his acts of chastening are chastenings of love; as it is said, “For whom the Lord loveth He correcteth”.
Proverbs 3:12 Many 1st Century Believers were experiencing suffering as a result of the persecution by the Leadership of the Jewish community as well as Rome. For the Jewish believers of the first century as well as for us today the writer of Hebrews desires us to understand that focusing on the Messiah brings us perspective, and only in Him can we view suffering correctly. We need to realize that Jesus is the Pioneer in suffering. Our salvation came through suffering and pain.
So does our maturity as believers. Pain is not an enemy but a friend. It is not an uninvited intruder but a God sent guest. In life, suffering makes and matures us. In order to gain the proper perspective on suffering we need to focus on Messiah. The term author actually means “pioneer”, here the scene is not one of a wilderness or jungle, but of salvation, and that the author or pioneer has been perfected through sufferings. You might wonder in regard to this statement, How do your perfect One who is already perfect? But the passage here is not dealing with the deity of the Messiah, but rather His humanity. It is impossible to perfect deity because it is perfect already.
But the pioneer of our salvation was perfected in His humanity by going through the sufferings we experience regularly as human beings. In Hebrews 2:10 we see the words “To perfect…through sufferings.” The process of bringing “many sons to glory” includes suffering. The term to perfect contains the thought of “bringing to completion; making complete or fulfilled”.
To be truly human, one must go through the suffering and pain that is an unavoidable part of the perfecting process. So then Jesus is the Pioneer or author of our salvation and that way is through suffering which is also part of the perfecting process. Next our study deals with 4 areas of suffering that force us to look to our Messiah for relief and strength. The first is the pain of identification.
Hebrews 2:11-13 – It is by His sufferings that Jesus truly identifies with humanity. Without His sufferings we could never be sure or believe truly that God understands our situation. On the other hand it is our sufferings that enable us to identify with Him. Paul writes of this in Philippians 3:10 when he spoke of knowing the fellowship of Messiah’s suffering, being conformed to His death.
Listen to what the Talmud says regarding this thought “Is then, suffering good? Yes, because through its means human beings attain to the World to come”. We need to remember that the moment you and I claimed Jesus as our Messiah, we became identified with Him, which means that we too shall suffer. This is the lot of all who hold to the God of Israel. Nowhere are we told in Scripture that when we entrust ourselves to the Messiah, that we would be exempt from pain. In fact quite the contrary is stated in Scripture.
Suffering accomplishes 2 things: first it helps us to know that we have identified with the Messiah; and secondly it provides us the perspective that we are merely human and that our bodies like the rest of creation long to be clothed with our eternal raiment. So then the first area of suffering is identification. Identifying with our Messiah and his suffering. Then we need to understand the pain of bondage Hebrews 2:14-15. Because we feared death prior to our faith in the Messiah, we ran our lives in such a manner that caused us to be slaves. The fear of death causes us to do many strange things.
Man will lie, cheat, steal and much more to avoid losing anything that will cause him pain or discomfort. It is ultimately the fear of death both physical and spiritual that causes us to be in bondage. We were slaves of the master of this world, Satan. When the Messiah entered our lives He didn’t eliminate Satan, but he did render him inoperative and impotent.
But there are times when our past involvements, along with feelings of guilt, spill over into our new lives. These are the residual pains associated with our former bondage. God through the Messiah forgives our sin but the consequences of our past sin remain with us.
Hebrews 2:17 – A third source of suffering for believers is the Pain of Failure. When we fail, we suffer. Failure is painful; it hurts us deeply. The writer of Hebrews again calls us to focus on Jesus in order to help us preserve our perspective. When we sin, what do we find? A stern and unforgiving intermediary? No! instead we discover One who is to us a refuge. Our faithful, merciful, and understanding high priest, like Moses, who is ready to cover for us before God.
Hebrews 2:18 – a fourth source of suffering is the Pain of Temptation. None of us needs this explained. The comforting news is that since Jesus Himself was tempted in that which He suffered. He is able to come to the aid of those who cry out when they are tempted. In the original language, the passage would be “
He is able to run to the cry.” When we are tempted, all we need to do is call to Him and He is there. Why? Because He knows what it is to be tempted. What then is the secret to suffering? Perspective or our outlook. Our suffering and our trials gives us a heart of compassion Our suffering produces in us a submissive spirit. Our suffering produces in us the image of our Messiah.