Author: Ron Graham
Having introduced the book of Hebrews in various ways, we now turn to the main topics. In this lesson, we think about the Hebrew writer’s statement that Jesus Christ is "crowned with glory and honor" (Hebrews 2:9, Psalms 8:5-6).
Hebrews 1:1-14, Hebrews 2:5-18, Hebrews 3:1-6
Jesus had to be made like his brethren, a little lower than the angels. But now he is crowned with glory, a Son over his own house, above the angels, above Moses, equal with God.
It is essential to Christ’s high priesthood that he be a human being. Our great high priest should be our brother —a fellow human, sharing the same nature as children of God. It would not do for him to be some other kind of being, such as an angel.
I know that many people are convinced that the salvation of humanity will come from beings of a higher order than we, but that would not be "fitting" (Hebrews 2:10).
Early in his letter (Hebrews 2:9 to 3:1), the Hebrew writer makes three statements using the word "brethren". These three statements show us three important things about the incarnation (God becoming flesh and blood).
"He is not ashamed to call them brethren" (Hebrews 2:11-12, Psalms 22:22).
Since we are the offspring of God made in God’s image, Christ did not consider it beneath him to become one of us. It is a great encouragement to us that the Son of God thought well enough of the sons of men that he was unashamed to become one of them, and considered it fitting to do so.
"He had to be made like his brethren in all things" (Hebrews 2:17).
If Christ were not one of us, he could not come to our aid, for he would not have been tempted like we are. He could not make atonement for our sins unless he partook of the same temptation that we do. He could not do that unless he partook of the same flesh and blood nature that we have (cf Hebrews 4:15).
"Therefore holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider Jesus the apostle and high priest of our confession" (Hebrews 3:1).
Because Christ was called to partake of flesh and blood, so as to save us through suffering in the flesh, we can be holy brethren with him forever in heavenly glory. (Hebrews 2:14).
The Hebrew writer quotes the Psalm, "You made him a little lower than the angels" (Psalms 8:5-6) and does not except the man Jesus Christ from this status, but in fact makes him representative of all mankind.
Jesus himself acknowledged this, by often referring to himself using the phrase from this Psalm "the son of man".
The son of man’s status in this earthly life as "lower than the angels" is not his permanent status.
The words "a little lower..." are in some translations replaced with "for a little while lower..." which reflects this point.
After his death, Christ was glorified. He did not then cease to be a man, but he ceased to be lower than the angels, being "crowned with glory and honor".
Heaven conferred upon Christ’s death the status of a sin offering for every human being —an honor conferred on no other death and on no other man.
Note:— Angels Worship Jesus. Christ has always been God, and equal with God, and always will be. He was made for a little while beneath the angels, in that he became human. Nevertheless the Father said, "let all the angels of God worship him"
Like Christ himself, the brethren of Christ also remain lower than the angels only for a time, then they too will partake of his glory.
The glory and honor given to man is not just about the rule over the animals which the Psalm mentions. That rule is merely given to man as a symbol of the far higher glory and honor with which Christ has been crowned.
Christ’s brethren, if they remain faithful, are destined to be eternal partakers of that honor, for God through Christ is "bringing many sons to glory" (Hebrews 2:10).
The Hebrew writer draws attention to Christ’s status as God’s Son. Because of that status, it is appropriate that he be be crowned with glory and honor.
The Hebrew writer presents Christ as an impeccable Son made perfect through his obedience to his Father, and his sufferings in the flesh (Hebrews 2:10, compare Hebrews 5:7-9). His obedience as a Son in God’s house was superior to the obedience of a mere servant (Hebrews 3:5-6).
As God’s impeccable Son, it is fitting that Christ be heir to God’s glory (Hebrews 1:2). This doesn't mean that the Father has to die in order for his Son to inherit. God died, in that Christ, as God become flesh, died on the cross. He became heir, and received his inheritance, through His own death, resurrection, ascension, and accession, all in his Father’s power.
The Hebrew writer asserts of Christ, "When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high..." (Hebrews 1:3).
The writer goes on to quote Psalm 45:6 in which God speaks to the Son, saying, "Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever" (Hebrews 1:9).
The crown of glory and honor is no mere token. With the crown was given right to a throne, and this throne was nothing less than the very throne of God.
God has appointed his only begotten Son to be over the house of God and therefore to be over us since we are part of God’s house (Hebrews 3:6).
This fact is presented elsewhere in scripture in terms of Christ being the Shepherd of the sheep, the King of God’s kingdom, the Head of the body.
As we have already noted, the Hebrew writer stresses that we are Christs brethren. Whilst Christ is a unique Son with a unique status, we are, nevertheless, his brethren and consequently have status as sons of God being brought to glory (Hebrews 2:10-14, Hebrews 3:1).
It may be difficult for women to think of themselves as brothers of Christ and sons of God, however we do not solve this problem by adding "and sisters" or "and daughters" to the word of God.
The glory we shall know in heaven will not relate to the gender of our own flesh and blood on earth, but rather to the sanctification brought about through the offering of Christ’s flesh and blood.
This sanctification is the same for both men and women, therefore the Bible speaks of both men and women as sons and brother heirs of Christ. By this language, any suggestion of a lower status for women is precluded.