Study Notes

Hebrews 2:17-18


After taking a one-week diversion to observe Resurrection Sunday, we may need to take a minute to get us up back up to speed in our study of Hebrews. In the middle of chapter two, the author spoke of Christ's death on the cross - that He tasted death for everyone. His suffering made it so that we could be called children of God. And, since He is the Son of God, He is our brother. As we continue on in verse 17, the theme of our brotherhood with Christ is expounded upon...

2:17 Made Like His Brethren

We have more than a Father in common with this divine Brother. Jesus was made like His brethren, like us, in all things. In every way He was made like us. Remember that the Scripture tells us,

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us...

Christ became a human being. We are told that He...

Phil. 2:7 ...emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, being made in the likeness of men.

Because He became a human being, He knows what it is to be a human being. He has experienced what we experience, and knows the discomforts of this life. In John 4, we read that Jesus talked with a woman at a well outside of the city of Samaria...

John 4:5-9 So He came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; and Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman therefore said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)

Jesus knows what exhaustion is. He had been walking for miles and was weary. He knows what thirst is, for He asked the woman for a drink. He knows what hunger is, for He sent the disciples into town to buy food. And He knows what it is like to be judged by your appearance, or by your heritage - He has felt discrimination.

No matter what emotion or experience you deal with, Christ understands. He was made like us in all things.

A Merciful And Faithful High Priest

Now, the writer is going to spend a lot of time in this book discussing Jesus' role as our Great High Priest. Right now, the point being made is that He is a high priest who can relate. He knows where you're at no matter where you're at.

And because He knows, He's merciful. You know, there's no one who can minister to you like someone who can relate to you. Paul told the Corinthians,

2Cor. 1:3-6 Blessed {be} the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer

I have often wondered why my life progressed the way it has. I regressed from young atheist to devious manipulator to drug addict to self-destructive obsessive to hopeless alcoholic. Instead of delivering me FROM these things, God delivered me through them. "Why," I have wondered. "Why was I not spared the pain and trouble?" But then I understood what 2Corinthians was saying.

Today, although I have gone down many of the wrong paths and partaken of much of the world's sin, God uses me to minister His love and truth. And although many ministers might be shocked and dismayed at some of the people I share with, I don't have a problem - I know where these people are coming from. I've been there.

People tell me that they're very happy that they have a pastor who is a human being, who puts his pants on one leg at a time.

It's unfortunate - yet commonplace - that many men who are called into ministry don't understand this concept of relatability. We know, because this is not the perception we have of ministers. They are thought of as being unrelatable, too clean to get their hands dirty. Too distant in an ivory tower to understand the problems that real people face.

This is not right, for the God who calls them into the ministry also can relate. He's also been a man, and although He is not a sinner, He knows the pull that sin has on us. Because of this, He is merciful.

Saints, it is so important to have this perspective of Jesus. He became one of us, and He is merciful towards us. Paul knew this, and told Timothy this,

1Tim. 1:12-16 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service; even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. And yet I was shown mercy, because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are {found} in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost {of all.} And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

Paul had been down the bad road, but God was merciful. And after he was saved, Paul didn't become an untouchable, "holier than thou" preacher. He admitted, "I am the chief of sinners. In me, Jesus gives His greatest testimony of patience!" Is this the picture of Jesus that you have? A real guy who really loves you?

Propitiation For Sins

You see, He made propitiation for the sins of the people. Don't you just love "Christian" words? Honestly, what does "propitiation" mean to you? Probably nothing. Let me define it for you in layman's terms: to propitiate means to appease someone who is offended. To smooth things over, to make things okay.

As we have discussed many times, we are all sinners. We have all done wrong. And God is offended by our sin. It is disgusting to Him. He despises it. But Jesus made propitiation for our sin - He made things okay. Now, He didn't make it okay to sin, but He did take away the offense by paying for our sins on the cross.

2:18 He Was Tempted

As hard as it is to understand and comprehend, Jesus was tempted by evil. In chapter four, the author tells us,

Hebr. 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as {we are, yet} without sin.

Although Jesus never fell into sin, He was tempted. Remember that right after His baptism, we read,

Matt. 4:1-10 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." But He answered and said, "It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'" Then the devil took Him into the holy city; and he had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God throw Yourself down; for it is written, HE WILL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE CONCERNING YOU'; and ON {their} HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, LEST YOU STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'" Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'" Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory; and he said to Him, "All these things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'"

Tempted to use His power for His own gain. Tempted to eat during a fast. Tempted to put God to the test. Tempted to commit suicide. Tempted to take the easy way out. Tempted by riches and fame. Tempted by the promise of power.

Have you ever been tempted by any of these things? The Lord knows you have, and He is merciful. Don't misunderstand me - that doesn't make it okay to succumb to these temptations. God still hates sin. But because He knows, He is able to come to our aid when we are tempted.

He knows how to strengthen us, how to empower us, and how to intercede for us. He knows how to instruct us. Today, make this one fact a part of your faith: "Jesus loves me, He knows where I'm at, and He knows how to help."

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