Chapter 49 Seeing Jesus

But we see Jesus (Hebrews 2:9).

The epistle to the Hebrews sets forth the Lord Jesus as the eternal Son of God. He is the appointed Heir of all things—the Maker of the worlds—the Brightness of the Father’s glory—the Upholder of all things—the Purger of our sins. He is now set down “on the right hand of the Majesty on high,” and the Father addresses Him as God (1:8). His true Manhood is set forth in chapter two.

We See Him in Relation to Creation

“For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come” …“but we see Jesus”—the One to whom all creation is to be subject. All that was lost in the first man, Adam, is recovered to the fullest extent in Christ, so that there is “left nothing that is not put under Him” (vv. 5-9). Adam’s dominion was also a limited one: our Lord’s knows no limit. Adam’s dominion was over “all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas” (Psalm 8:7, 8). But the dominion of the Lord Jesus is over all God’s universe. For us men and for our salvation He was made “a little lower than the angels”—not in His Person, but in His office as the Son of man. But He is now exalted “far above all” and God “hath put all things under His feet” (Ephesians 1:21, 22). All creation is subject to Jesus in His office as Son of man, so that “every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth … and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them,” are to say, “Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:13).

We See Him in Relation to His Own

There is a threefold designation of His redeemed people in this chapter—sons, brethren, and children.

“Sons” is a designation connected with the future (v. 10). He is “bringing many sons unto glory”—that is, as those who are fit for glory and who bear the image of the heavenly. They are brought to glory through the Saviour’s redemptive grace, and they are led there by Him as the Captain or File-leader of a very long line. Because of the “suffering of death” He has gathered them as spoil out of the enemy’s hands.

“Brethren” is a designation connected with the past. It was in the morning of the resurrection when He first used the term. He said to Mary— “Go to My brethren” (John 20:17). There are prophetic words in the Old Testament which testified He would use that word of intimate relationship with His own. “I will declare Thy name unto My brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee” (Psalm 22:22). So He declared them to be after the resurrection, wherefore “He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Hebrews 2:11).

“Children” is a designation connected with the present. “Behold I and the children which God hath given Me” (Hebrews 2:13). The Lord Jesus is never spoken of as our Father. We are children born of God the Father and given unto Him (John 17:6). Isaiah was given two sons to show forth these two important truths—first, that God had hidden His face from the house of Jacob; secondly, that the prophet was comforted by other children given him of God. Thus while the people of Israel have for the present rejected the Lord they will afterwards be saved. Meanwhile the Lord is comforted by other children from the Gentiles which God has given Him.

We See Him in Relation to His Incarnation

    1. He was made “a little lower than the angels” (2:7). This was necessary because angels are spirit beings. Had our Lord taken upon Him the nature of angels He would have had no blood with which to atone for our sins—no righteousness as Man with which to justify us—no fellow-feeling with which to sympathize with us. He was made lower than angels not in terms of degree but of time—for a little while, in order to accomplish human redemption.

    2. He partook of flesh and blood (2:14). We have no choice in the matter of our entry into the world. With Him, it was not so. He did not belong to it. But since we, who were the objects of His saving purpose, were partakers of flesh and blood, “He also Himself likewise took part of the same.” He became a true Man. He did so without ceasing to be God or without the loss of any divine attribute. He was not a phantom, as the early Docetists supposed, but a real Man.

    3. He was “made like unto His brethren” (2:17). He had a man’s spirit and “groaned in spirit”—was “troubled in spirit.” He had a man’s soul and thus could say, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful” (Matthew 26:37, 38), and “He… poured out His soul unto death” (Isaiah 53:12). He had a man’s body and thus we read that “[He] bare our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24).

The incarnation of our Lord was to accomplish three purposes.

    1. To deal with our enemy—the devil—“that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14). By this believers are made free from the fear of death.

    2. He came “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” The word reconciliation here means propitiation. God does not reconcile sin to Himself. He reconciles fallen man to Himself because sin has been propitiated or put away by the Saviour’s sacrifice.

    3. He came that He might “succour them that are tempted” (v. 18)—that is, to support and aid us in our earthly pilgrimage. He looks upon us with a pitying eye and renders help in time of need.

O Christ, our hope, our heart’s desire,
Redemption’s only spring;
Creator of the world art Thou,
Its Saviour and its King.

How vast the mercy and the love
Which laid our sins on Thee,
And led Thee to a cruel death
To set Thy people free.

O Christ, be Thou our present joy,
Our future great reward;
Our only glory may it be
To glory in the Lord.

All praise to Thee, ascended Lord;
All glory ever be
To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Through all eternity.

C. 8th Century
Tr. By John Chandler