Gospel Solidarity (Hebrews 2:6-13)

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What comes to your mind when you hear the word “solidarity”? I picture a short but stocky dark-haired man with a distinct moustache, who took on the communist government of Poland and, in spite of much personal and familial suffering, was victorious for a large number of people.

Lech Walesa formed the first trade union federation in the Communist bloc countries in Eastern Europe on 31 August 1980 at the Gdansk Shipyard in Poland. I recall when this happened and how a previously unknown electrician became a world famous name. He pioneered a movement that resulted in profound social and political changes in Poland. His solidarity with his fellow Poles resulted in his eventual election as Poland’s first president in 1990.

Under Walesa’s leadership, solidarity became a broad anti-bureaucratic social movement, which resulted in the advancement of workers’ rights and social change. But this did not come about easily. The government implement martial law and Walesa himself experienced much persecution, including relentless interrogation at the hands of the Secret Police. And yet his representation of millions of workers eventually bore fruit. Walesa was able to gain many rights for workers in Poland, resulting in better pay and better living conditions.

When Walesa quite literally stood before the communists, he was standing for millions of workers. Hence the term “solidarity” for this movement. Walesa was able to eventually lead some 9.5 million workers into this trade union; a number that represented nearly one third of the total working age population of Poland. Poland still has its problems, but because of solidarity life became better for a whole lot of people.

But they were not the first to understand the concept of solidarity. The principle has always been in the heart and in the mind of God. In fact, solidarity is a fundamental gospel truth. And it is revealed here in the passage before us.

By Jesus Christ sharing in our sufferings, particularly in our suffering of death, the lives of untold millions have been changed—for time and for eternity. By Jesus Christ identifying with those who, all their lifetime, were subject to both spiritual bondage and the fear of standing before a holy God in their sin, they could be liberated—as long as they recognised Christ as their representative. And rather than becoming a part of a mere trade union such people are blessed to become a part of a whole new humanity in a whole new world order. This is the lesson of Hebrews 2:5-18.

The word “solidarity” means “a union of interests.” In the words of the Musketeers, “All for one and one for all.” This is a gospel truth in which Christ stands for all the Father has given to Him. An appreciation of gospel solidarity is of much theological and practical importance. It certainly protects us from drifting from Christ. The recipients of this letter needed to hear this. Hence this passage.

This passage reveals the good news that, because of Christ’s solidarity with us, we are eternally safe and secure from the wrath of God and hence from the fear of death. But more so, it also means that we will one day be like Him. The captain of our salvation, by the grace of God, suffered our death so that we might enjoy forever His destiny. As I hope you can see, this is good news. This is gospel solidarity. In the words of Robertson, “Jesus is the author of salvation, the leader of the sons of God, the Elder Brother of us all. Christ, our Elder Brother, resembles us in reality as we shall resemble him in the end.”1 This good news is offered to everyone. But can you include yourself in the statement, “Jesus . . . is the elder brother of us all?” I hope so. If not, may that change today.

Overview

Man is fallen and flawed and lives in constant frustration and fear. But in Christ he can be redeemed and restored ultimately to the glory that was his God-intended destiny. The old covenant, mediated by mere angels, could never achieve such a goal; but the new covenant mediated by Christ can and does. This theme is introduced in 2:5-9 and then is further explained in vv. 10-18. Its message is gospel solidarity.

This chapter is about man’s destiny and how that destiny is achieved through the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. He entered into solidarity with everyone who is His brother or sister. The inclusiveness of this word “everyone” is important. And again I must ask, does it include you? Is Jesus in solidarity with you and you with Him? Your eternal destiny depends on it and your temptation to drifting is overcome by it.

We will study this passage under four major truths with which we must come to grips:

  • Everyone’s Purpose
  • Everyone’s Problem/Predicament
  • Everyone’s Provision
  • Everyone’s Potential?

Everyone’s Purpose

Verses 6-8, which we considered previously, highlight everyone’s purpose. Citing Psalm 8, the author writes,

But one testified in a certain place, saying:

“What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?
You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honour,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”

(Hebrews 2:6-8)

The Chief End

Humanity has a God-given solidarity of purpose, though we in no way, at present, share solidarity of practice. Our purpose is to glorify God. The Westminster Confession asks the question, “What is the chief end of man?” and the answer thunders back, “To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” Everyone will eventually do the former, but not everyone will experience the latter (see Philippians 2:9-11; Psalm 76:10).

When God created man, his assignment was to glorify God by ruling the creation over which God had placed him. We who came after Adam were nevertheless in solidarity with Adam. He represented us. When God commanded Adam, He was commanding us.

Adam was to exercise sovereignty under God’s sovereignty. This is the message of Psalm 8 as revealed in Hebrews 2:6-8a. Adam’s purpose was and is our purpose.

Until you realise your purpose, this purpose, life is futile. You might have fun, fortune and frolicking, but your life ultimately is one of futility if you do not pursue the fulfilment of this purpose. This applies to all, even to men like Steve Jobs. He may have provided a lot of Apples, but ultimately he died fruitless.

If you are not exercising dominion under God for God then you are missing your purpose. However, by the grace of God that can change.

Everyone’s Problem/Predicament

Verse 8b highlights that we have a problem. It highlights that we do not fulfil our purpose. It highlights the terrible predicament of living in a world in which failure surrounds us. It highlights our predicament that things are not as they were meant to be. “For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.”

As we glance at the world we know that we have a problem and that the problem has something to do with suffering and death. We see death and decay all around us. And so we realise that our destiny is doomed by this pervasive death. The misery attending a sin-cursed world reminds us that we fall short of the glory of God and that we are failing in our purpose. A rabbinical saying puts it this way: “In this life death will not suffer a man to be glad.”2

Adam did not obey His Sovereign with the result that creation no longer willingly submitted to its human master. It responded with thorns, thistles, pain and sorrow. Order took a major whack, and cosmos turned to chaos.

The word “death” and its related consequences are a dominant theme in this passage. And everyone suffers from this. Everyone is born into this world in solidarity, not only with our purpose but also concerning our problem and predicament. There is not a single exception for any of Adam’s seed.

Again, sin is the problem that everyone lives with. And death and destruction is the attendant predicament with which everyone is relentlessly confronted. Sin, of course, is not some ethereal impersonal force; it resides within us. As the well-loved comic strip once put it, “We have met the enemy and it is us.”

We are the problem and we are the predicament. The ubiquitous problem-causing and predicament-creating “everyone” is us.

An emphasis needs to be made here. The issue is not that everyone has problems. That, of course, is true. And our problems vary from person to person. But the issue of solidarity is that everyone shares responsibility in the same problem—not plural but singular. We are united in rebelling against God and thus we are united in rebelling against God’s purpose for us. In the words of Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Is there a way out? Can we possibly be delivered from solidarity with sin, sinners and Satan? The good news is that there is.

Everyone’s Provision

Verses 9-10 highlight the provision that God has made for everyone: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

Glancing or Gazing?

By God’s grace, provision has been made for everyone’s problem and predicament. That provision is revealed in v. 9 and the provision is a person: the one who is in solidarity with those whom He rescues from their problem.

I will not develop this point, at least now, but we should note that the writer implies that we must glance at the problems (“we do not see everything under His feet”) but that if we will be helped then we need to gaze at the provision (“but we see Jesus”). And as we identify with the one who is in solidarity with us, we find hope in the midst of the problematic predicaments of living in a fallen world. Namely, we begin to see this fallen world through the lens of the redeemed new world order over which Christ is the Head.

For Everyone?

The text informs us that Jesus was “crowned with glory and honour that he by the grace of God might taste death for everyone.” That is a wonderful statement that should bring joy to our hearts. But unfortunately, for many, though it need not, it brings controversy to the fore.

The simple English indicates that, when Jesus died, He did not save everyone by His death. After all, the text says that “He might taste death for everyone.” That in itself leaves the door open that not all (in the sense of each and every) will benefit from the death of Jesus. And yet having indicated this truth, we must also not rob the phrase of its glorious promise that everyone can find the provision for their problem—their enormous problem—in the death of Christ. His death is sufficient to save everyone.

But it must also be recognised that even those who are not saved (and those who may never be saved) nevertheless live in a much better world because Jesus “tasted death.”

For example, the devil has been bound from deceiving the nations (Matthew 12; Revelation 20). Demons have been likewise bound. Every sphere of human life has been improved since Jesus died. And this has largely occurred as Christ has transformed sinners into saints who have used their gifts for God’s glory and to the betterment of society.

In What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? James Kennedy shows how men and women, transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ, have been used by God to change society for the better. This is true in all areas: medicine, law, hygiene, education, economics, etc.

Yes, everyone has benefited from Christ drinking fully of the bitterness of death. In this sense, gospel solidarity includes even those who reject Christ. Jesus dying for sinners and for sin really was good news for the world. As Kennedy asked, what would life have been like had Jesus never been born? I would not even want to imagine. Both the world that is and the world that one day will be are blessed because Jesus tasted death for everyone.

It is a Gracious Provision

It is by the grace of God that Jesus entered into solidarity with sinful man, thereby providing the remedy for our problem. It was wholly unmerited but so greatly appreciated! This is why it is such glorious good news. This is why it is gospel solidarity.

It would be good to pause here to highlight that it was the Father who designed salvation. That is why Paul speaks often of “the gospel of God.” Don’t ever minimise John 3:16, which reveals that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will have everlasting life. The Son purchases our salvation—He tasted death in our place—but the Father planned and provided it. The story of gospel solidarity is not that Jesus had to persuade a reluctant Father to save sinners but rather that the Father designed it and sent His willing Son to carry it out. I am convinced that, if we would increasingly grow in our understanding of the love God in Christ, we would be equipped to handle any and all the trials that come our way. Christian, God loves you!

It Results in a Glorious People

The rest of the chapter fleshes out what God’s gracious provision produces “in bringing many sons to glory” (v. 10). And, of course, this is completely dependent upon Christ’s solidarity with those whom He saves. Apart from solidarity there would be no salvation; if there was no salvation, there would be no sonship. This is vital.

More than Forgiveness

All too often, when we think of salvation, we think exclusively in terms of deliverance from the penalty of sin. This is a glorious aspect of the gospel. It is certainly good news for those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ that there is no longer condemnation (Romans 8:1). But salvation is more inclusive than that. We have been saved to be sanctified (v. 11). We have been saved to be sons of God who one day will resemble the Son of God. This is the pervading message of the New Testament and it is at the heart of gospel solidarity (see John 17:20-26; 1 John 3:1-3; Romans 8:28-30).

Verse 9 sounds a wonderful word of hope in this regard. In fact, such hopefulness was intimated in v. 8 when the writer said that “we do not yet see all things put under him.” But v. 9 completes the thought beginning with the words, “But we see Jesus” (or, “but we see Him, namely Jesus”).

Jesus came to ensure that every man for whom He tasted death would fulfil his God ordained destiny of being crowned with glory and honour. As Jesus was crowned with glory and honour, so would those whom are Jesus’ brothers and sisters. The message of this passage really is that simple.

Man was God’s crown of creation, and by the fall he subsequently lost his crown. Jesus, the Son of God, the God-Man, came wearing the crown of a life that completely honoured God. His crowning achievement, though, was His death; a death by which the crown was reclaimed for fallen man (James 1:12, etc.) who will indeed one day completely fulfil God’s intended destiny. That is, fallen but redeemed man will bring glory to God like God’s appointed and perfect God-Man both did and does. That, my friend, is a wonderful potential to be believed, embraced and pursued. It is already, though not fully yet.

We are justified by faith in Christ alone that we might one day look and live like Christ alone. This gives us hope which, empowers our faith to make progress even now. Believer, you will be like Jesus, so learn to be who you are.

Your Potential?

The issues of death and suffering fill this passage because it is the presence of these things that hinder man from fulfilling his potential. But Christ consumed it. He drank of the full bitterness of this cup, with the result that we can confidently pursue the potential for which we were both created by Christ and then recreated in Christ. This brings us to the last and major point of this passage.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying:

“I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”

And again:

“I will put My trust in Him.”

And again:

“Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

(Hebrews 2:10-18)

My last point is in the form of a question because even though, as we have seen, there is a very real sense in which Christ did taste death for everyone, nevertheless not everyone will achieve the glorious destiny for which Adam was created. Some will die as sons of God and some will die as sons of wrath; as the spiritual offspring of the devil (see Ephesians 2:1-4; John 8:42-47).

Therefore, it would be entirely unscriptural for me to say that everyone comes into this world with the same potential. That is patently false. So what makes the difference concerning the differing destinies of everyone? It is twofold. And both of these must be kept together.

First, the potential of one’s destiny is completely dependent on God’s sovereignty. As v. 9 clearly reveals, those who benefit ultimately (eternally) by the death of Christ are those who do so “by the grace of God.” Those whom God has given to Christ will achieve their destined potential of being “brought as sons to glory.” Such individuals are “outliers” by the grace of God. We must neither forget nor apologise for this. Just as Bill Gates would look foolish for apologising for his giftedness and his unique opportunities, so is the Christian who tries to argue away God’s kindness to him or her. But neither are we ever to be guilty of taking credit for our destiny.

I find it interesting and a blessing that Bill Gates is spending the rest of his life giving away the riches he has been graced with. There is a lesson to be learned here. As Christians who have received God’s marvellous grace of gospel solidarity in Christ, we should so live that others will be enriched by the overflow of that very grace in our lives. We should be so moved by gospel grace that we desire to see everyone touched by this grace. We should give of ourselves and of our possessions and of our time and of our skills to help others to taste and see that the Lord who tasted death for everyman is good indeed.

Second, the potential of one’s destiny is everyone’s personal responsibility.

Salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9). But salvation offered must be received. The Bible teaches the parallel and non-contradictory truths that God is sovereign in salvation and man is responsible for his salvation. Man indeed is unable to be saved apart from the grace of God, but that does not excuse his responsibility and his culpability for his sin against a holy God. God’s provision for people to experience forgiveness and fullness of life forever has been accomplished in space-time history. If you ignore or reject it outright then you will never reach the destiny of being like Christ. And you will have no one to blame but yourself.

You are responsible for your destiny. What will you do about it? What will you do about it now? The provision for a glorious destiny is plain for all to see. Whether or not you experience its potential and promises is completely up to you. Confess and turn from your sin as you place your trust in Christ alone; the one that is in solidarity with guilty sinners who want to be glorious sons.

Now, the question to be answered is, how can I know that this potential is mine? The text reveals several indications.

Do You See and Follow Him as Your Leader?

In v. 10b, the author begins to flesh out this principle of gospel solidarity, and he does so at first by indicating that it was completely fitting, by the nature of the case, for the Father to subject His Son to this suffering of death. “What has taken place in the experience of Jesus was consistent with God’s known character and purpose.”3 The cross, rather than an anomaly of God’s character, is a beautiful and fitting display of His glory. And it is also a promise of our glory to come.

If the Son would save sinners, He would need to take their penalty for sin upon Himself. It is fitting to the principle of Jesus’ solidarity with fallen man for Him to identify completely with man’s miserable condition if He will save him. God was true to His just character in Christ dying for sinners to satisfy God’s just wrath. Bruce is correct when he writes, “Nowhere is God more fully or more worthily revealed as God than when we see Him “in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.”4

That is the author’s point here and throughout the passage. If guilty sinners will become glorious sons then an exchange must occur. We call this justification by faith.

Perfect Solidarity

The text also tells us that, in order for gospel solidarity to be successful, Jesus had to be made “perfect.” What does this mean?

The word was used in the Old Testament predominately to speak of a priest being consecrated. In our studies in Exodus we saw this over and over. Literally, it meant “to have the hands filled,” and the picture was that of the priest being fit for service. Its use here means that Jesus had all that He needed to accomplish the work of intercession for sinners. “He was fully equipped for his office.”5 As Robertson points out, “There was no moral imperfection in Jesus, but he lived his human life in order to be able to be a sympathizing and effective leader in the work of salvation.”6 His life of continually facing the suffering of death was “a preparation involving ethical fitness.”7

Jesus, by His perfectly righteous response to the temptations that attended His suffering of death (which occurred intensely over a three year period beginning with his baptism) was fully fit for the work of gospel solidarity. This fitness for priestly service is predominate in this passage.

The point is that Jesus Christ’s successful substitutionary vicarious sacrifice assures that all for whom He salvifically tasted death will be glorified sons of God one day. Jesus’ gospel solidarity is eternally successful.

But the question remains, how do I know that I have a part in this? And the title given to Jesus here helps to answer that. Specifically, is He your captain?

The Captain Who is the Champion Pioneer

In making this point the writer calls Jesus the “captain” of their salvation. The term can mean “founder,” “author,” “prince,” “leader,” “champion” or “pioneer.” The idea is that Jesus is the one who leads the people with whom He is in solidarity; and the implication is that they follow Him. The same concept is repeated in Hebrews 12:2.

Jesus is the leader (because founder) of the new covenant people. For this reason we might say that “Jesus is ‘the champion’ who secured the salvation of his people through the sufferings he endured in his identification with them, and more particularly through his death.”5 And those whom He saves follow Him as their pioneering champion.

This concept of Jesus as champion is helpful, for it indicates that those whom He representatively leads are by virtue of this solidarity victorious as well. Because Jesus victoriously suffered our death for us, we are assured that we will reach our predetermined destiny. We will, one day, reach our potential. “The pioneer of our salvation endures the bitter experience of death for us in order to lead us up to the throne of God.”9 And all the glory will go to our Leader.

Jesus is our Pioneer in this because no one has ever trod this path before and no one, even if they had, could or would have been victorious. As we saw recently, history is filled with well-meaning would-be saviours, but they all fail. Jesus did not. He set out to secure our destiny, to win our potential and He succeeded.

Bruce says it well,

He is the Saviour who blazed the trail of salvation along which alone God’s many sons could be brought to glory. . . . The Son of Man came and opened up by His death a new way by which man might reach the goal for which he was made. As His people’s representative and forerunner He has now entered into the presence of God to secure their entry there.10

Resisting the Drift

Such an assurance will help us in our resistance of the drift. When we become discouraged by our own sin and/or by the sin of the church we can find hope in the gospel solidarity that what Jesus is now we will one day resemble.

Our successful Pioneer has conquered the territory that one day we will inhabit. As Brown so helpfully writes, “Believers have both certainty (they are sons) and destiny (they will be brought to glory).”11 And such assurance drives us to loving obedience.

But I must ask, are you following this Leader? Do you live in such a way that you obediently and devotedly salute this Captain? Are you responsively willing to pull up your stake and follow Him into unknown territory? Are you keen to bow the knee to the Prince of life and to treasure Him as the Champion that He is?

If so, then you can take comfort that the potential promised in these verses is your destiny. But if not then do not presume on the grace of God. After all, Jesus said in similar ways time and again that not everyone who calls Him Lord will enter the kingdom but only those who do the will of His Father in heaven.

It is the will of the Captain of so great a salvation that you and I do the will of His Father. And when that is the direction to which the compass of your heart points then you can rest in the reality that God is also your Father and that the destiny of His Son is also your destiny as a son. That is gospel solidarity!

The solidarity movement in Poland today has dwindled to some 400,000. That is considerably lower than the original 9.5 million. What has happened? For one thing, many claimed that their leader changed and that with the changes his followers lost confidence in where he was leading them. Others have questioned his integrity in various areas, and still others have joined rival movements. The destiny of the nation, I suppose, is rather uncertain. But not so with Jesus.

When we gaze on Jesus we see that His character and purposes do not change. We can trust Him completely at all times and our destiny is secure. Though heretical rivals arise to challenge Him, He merely laughs. His people have been saved, are being saved and will be saved. Their destiny is as secure as His unchanging solidarity with them.

Do You See and Serve with Jesus as Your Brother?

There are several other questions to test whether the potential promised in these verses are rightfully ours, but the last one we will look at in this study is found in vv. 11-13. We can put it this way: Do you see and serve Jesus as your Brother? That is a profoundly important question, which legitimately arises from the text.

The idea of an elder brother of course is not always a delightful one as Phillips humorously explains.

Jesus is the elder brother of every Christian. This is not an image that everyone finds attractive. I, for instance, am the younger of two boys. In my upbringing, an older brother was more an object of competition than an object of trust. An elder brother often exercises the father’s authority over the younger children. I remember the day my father departed for a year-long tour of duty in the Vietnam War. I will never forget hearing the words I had known were coming, but dreaded with all my being. My dad said, “Jimmy, while I’m gone, you’re the man of the house.” You might observe that my name is not Jimmy!12

Verse 11 reveals that Jesus, who is holy, “sanctifies” those who belong to Him. That is, the Holy One (Mark 1:24; Acts 2:27, etc.) makes those for whom He suffered death holy (see John 17:17-19). This is God’s predestined purpose for those He saves. This is a part of the gospel solidarity revealed in the New Testament (see Ephesians 1:3-4).

But the writer then adds that both the Son and His saints “are all of one.” We can supply the words “family” or “Father” to fill out the statement. Those with whom Jesus is in gospel solidarity are His family, and for that reason “He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”

I was blessed as I studied this text to see, for perhaps the first time, that I am a child of God through the sonship of Jesus. Listen to Paul in Ephesians 1:5: The Father has “predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to himself.”

Note that we become children of God through Jesus Christ, God’s Son. In other words, we are not primarily brothers and sisters of Christ because we are children of God, but rather we are children of God because we have been made brothers and sisters of Christ! Once again we see this amazing gospel solidarity. And such solidarity assures our eternal destiny.

This is a profoundly encouraging concept that will go a long way towards keeping us from drifting. After all, with Jesus as our protecting, caring and intimately loving Brother, we have every reason to be confident that our destiny is secure. “It is a brotherhood of those destined for glory. . . . He became like us so that we might become like him. He came to where we were to take us to where he came from so that we might become like him in his glory.”13

This knowledge in turn will motivate us to serve Him as well as to serve with Him. Let me explain this further as we look at vv. 12-13.

Singing, Trusting and Serving with Jesus

In these verses the writer, true to form, quotes Old Testament Scripture to substantiate his claims. In the first instance, he quotes Psalm 22:22. The fact that he quotes from this clearly Messianic psalm is significant. It was this psalm that Jesus quoted on the cross when He cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

But this phrase quoted here comes from the part of the psalm that celebrates Messiah’s victory over death. And in it we are told that Jesus is praising the Father along with His brothers. That is, Jesus is singing praises to God with His family, with His children—with His church.

The next time that you praise God in song with the church, realise that Jesus is right with you in it. When you sing, “Tell out my soul, the greatness of the Lord,” Jesus is belting that out with you. Amazing!

There are those who minimise the local church and corporate worship. Be careful. Jesus loves corporate worship. He loves to hear our praises on the Lord’s Day, but more so He loves to join us in praising the Father on this day.

The remaining quotations are from Isaiah 8:17-18. The context will help us to see their significance in this passage.

Isaiah was prophesying of difficult times for Israel; in fact, he was prophesying days of apostasy. There was coming a time when Israel—both the northern and southern kingdoms—would turn from the Lord in unfaithfulness as the surrounding enemies attacked them. And yet in the midst of this, Isaiah and his children would continue to trust and to serve the Lord.

The writer here now applies this to Jesus standing with His people in difficult times, both trusting and serving their God. It is a beautiful and historically fitting picture of Jesus trusting the Father as He faced death, and His subsequent standing with His fellow family members that the Father had given to Him.

Be Encouraged

I think the intention was to encourage these Hebrew believers who were facing difficulties, some even who were facing threat of death because of their profession of faith. Nevertheless, they could know that Jesus considered them family; He considered them His brothers and sisters and would stand with them.

He trusted the Father in His trials and the readers are encouraged to do the same. What was true for the Son is true for all of Gods sons. He delivered His Son; He will deliver all of His sons. They could depend on this gospel solidarity. As Lane helpfully observes, “Jesus identifies himself with the community of faith in his absolute trust and dependence upon God. . . . The fact that Jesus’ confidence was fully vindicated after he had experienced suffering and affliction assured them that they could also trust God in difficult circumstances.”14 So can you.

So, in conclusion, do you realise your purpose in life, and have you honestly faced your problem? But further, have you—will you—embrace God’s provision? If so, then serve God with Christ as you await the fulfilment of your certain potential.

Keep looking to Jesus, the Captain of salvation. He will see you through; that is what elder brothers love to do. Praise God for such gospel solidarity.

Show 14 footnotes

  1. A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, 6 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1960), 5:347.
  2. Marcus Dods, The Expositor’s Greek Testament, 5 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), 4:268.
  3. William L. Lane, Hebrews: Word Biblical Commentary, 2 vols. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 55.
  4. F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews: The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), 43.
  5. Lane, Hebrews, 57.
  6. Robertson, Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament, 5:347.
  7. Dods, The Expositor’s Greek Testament, 4:265.
  8. Lane, Hebrews, 57.
  9. Raymond Brown, The Message of Hebrews: The Bible Speaks Today (Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press, 2000), 60.
  10. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, ??.
  11. Brown, The Message of Hebrews, 61.
  12. Richard D. Phillips, Hebrews: Reformed Expository Commentary (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2006), 66.
  13. Phillips, Hebrews, 67, 69.
  14. Lane, Hebrews, 60.