The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish people who had heard the gospel and believed it, but false teachers were confusing them about who Jesus was and what He had done. It left them confused and doubting in a time when they were already experiencing persecution from Roman authorities and pressure from the Jewish community to renounce Jesus. This book reads like a legal document, with a clear, logical argument for the identity and superiority of Jesus and abundant supporting evidence from the Old Testament Scriptures.
This chapter begins with a caution for these Jewish believers against drifting away from the pure gospel message that had saved them (v.1). If they neglected Jesus, in all the fullness of who He is and what He accomplished on the cross, they would be neglecting their only hope of salvation and exposing themselves to judgment (v.2-4). Remember that a major false teaching these people had believed is that angels should be worshiped alongside Jesus. The quotation from Psalm 8 (v.6-8) proves that while Jesus was made “a little lower than the angels” when He took on flesh and came as a human being, He was and is and forever will be superior to all angels and all people. In fact, everything everywhere is “under His feet” (v.8) and nothing is outside of His control. In times when it seems our circumstances are out of control, what a comfort to know that Jesus is in control! Things that are over my head are still under His feet!
Some people have a hard time processing the essential message of the gospel stated in verses 9-10: Jesus, who is the holy Lord of all, suffered and died as a guilty person, for guilty people. It defies logic to think that the all-powerful Son of God would become the “son of man” (v.6) in order to be punished for sins He did not commit and to die for people who did not believe in Him. But that is the grace of God (v.9)! Grace ignores logic and defies reason as it stoops down to lift undeserving sinners to glory. Hallelujah!
The rest of this chapter is a brilliant essay on the humanity of Jesus. It boggles the mind to think that Almighty God would put on flesh and condescend to call Himself the “brother” of everyone in the human family (v.11-13). Jesus left His throne in heaven, a place of beauty and holiness where He received the constant praise of angels, to enter our world — a place where He knew poverty, pain, and rejection. He endured the entire experience of humanity, including the suffering, the temptation, and the death that go along with living here (but without the sin that is inherently human). He did it all to remove any doubt of His love. Jesus lived the life I could not live and died the death I should have died. Through His death He defeated my greatest enemy (v.14), freed me from slavery (v.15), and made a way to escape temptation (v.18). Again I say, Hallelujah!