*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Hebrews 2:14-18 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Hebrews 2:14
  • Hebrews 2:15
  • Hebrews 2:16
  • Hebrews 2:17
  • Hebrews 2:18

Christ had to become a human to save humankind from the power of sin and death. By becoming a human and liberating us, He now acts as a high priest. He knows and has experienced the temptations humans suffer, and He is available to help those who ask for it.

Just as we are flesh and blood, Jesus Himself likewise also partook of the same flesh and blood. He took on everything that an earthly life had to offer: temptations, physical illnesses, hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and even death, in order to conquer Satan’s greatest weapon: Death. Death was brought into the world through Satan tempting Eve and Adam to disobey God’s only command. This sin brought physical death into the world and spiritual death (separation) from God. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we no longer have to fear separation from God through our own deaths, because that sacrifice solidifies our future in eternity when we receive the gift of God through faith. Furthermore, Christ saves us from the power and fear of death, so that we do not have to live as slaves to sin in our daily lives. We can live free from the power of sin through the resurrection power of Jesus, the sin which harms our abiding fellowship with God. This echoes what Paul wrote in Galatians 5:1, It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

The Pauline Author notes that Jesus’ redemptive mission was not intended to save the angels, so He did not take on the form of an angel, again emphasizing the humanity of Christ. The point here is that He became a man because He came to offer a path toward full restoration with God for mankind – a complete restoration back to our original design to reign over a harmonious earth. In doing so, Jesus became our high priest, He is man’s representative to God; this is something that can only be accomplished if He knows what it is truly like to be a man in all things. Since He Himself was tempted (and triumphed over it), Jesus is able to show us mercy, come to our aid when we are tempted, and intercede for the sins of the people on our behalf.

Becoming a child of God is a wonderful gift, but Jesus does not want us to stay children. He wants us to move on to maturity and join Him in being crowned a Son. That requires faithfulness, the suffering of obedience, and dying to ourselves. Suffering is not easy, as the Pauline Author noted at the beginning of the chapter, it is easy to drift from God’s calling in our lives.

The Pauline Author ends this chapter by revisiting Christ’s work on earth, as a man. He is hoping to show his Jewish audience that Christ suffered, was rewarded for it by receiving dominion over the earth, and that He calls us, His brothers, to no longer be slaves but to join in sharing His reward by following His example of faithful obedience to God, even to the point of suffering. Christ is both merciful and faithful and can come to the aid of those who are tempted to drift away. He has already saved us from Hell, but He can continue to save us from missing out on fulfilling/perfecting our salvation; Christ can continue to save us from squandering and losing our inheritance of becoming sons. He is our brother, our high priest, our king, and our rescuer.

Biblical Text

14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. 16 For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. 17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, 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.

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