BY DANIEL GOLDBERG, TH.D., D.D.
THE MINISTRY OF JESUS TO HIS BROTHERS, INCLUDING JEWISH AND GENTILE BELIEVERS: HEBREWS 2:12-18
Although the Book of Hebrews relates to every believer, the initial audience was likely a group of early Jewish followers of Jesus.
The author demonstrates the superiority of Jesus compared to all earthly and celestial powers, which includes His greatness compared to angels. This is why He chose to become associated with “the seed of Abraham,” rather than take on the form of angels (Heb. 2:16-17).
I. THE JEWISH ORIGIN OF THE MESSIAH (Heb. 2:16)
While on earth, Jesus joined the Jewish community at both the synagogue and the Jerusalem Temple (Mk. 1:21; Mt. 26:55). In every way Jesus identified with the Jewish community.
The author cites three passages from the Hebrew Bible to illustrate how the Messiah identifies with His people. He first quotes Psalm 22:22 to show how Jesus the Messiah faithfully reveals the Father to His Jewish family (Heb. 2:12).
Second, he quotes Isaiah 8:17 where Isaiah identifies as part of the faithful people of Israel anticipating the Lord’s intervention and deliverance (Isa. 2:13).
Third, the author introduces the next quote with the words, “and again” (Heb. 2:13; Isa. 8:18), in order to show how the Messiah, like Isaiah, identifies with His numerous “children.”
II. MESSIAH, THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST
In Hebrews 2:17, we have for the first time the words “HIGH PRIEST.” No other New Testament book utilizes this title for Jesus, the Messiah. Here we are introduced to the central thought of Hebrews.
In the book of Hebrews, we discover Jesus’ main occupation is a priest who mediates between God and humanity. Sin drove a wedge between God and His people; Jesus’ work restores this relationship.
In Hebrews 2 we are introduced to Jesus as our great High Priest. The author picks up the theme again in Hebrews 7 and 8. No other book within the Bible expands on the Priesthood of the Messiah like Hebrews.
As the Great High Priest, Jesus the Messiah is both MERCIFUL and FAITHFUL (Heb. 2:17).
Messiah Jesus is a merciful High Priest. He is full of pity, compassion, grace and sympathy in all our sorrows. He is faithful in bringing down all the gifts of God to us.
He is mindful of our fears, tears and sufferings. No one wishes to comfort us and take us by the hand when we are weary, sad and exhausted like Jesus.
MESSIAH JESUS CONTINUES HIS HIGH PRIESTLY MINISTRY ON OUR BEHALF FROM HEAVEN
What Jesus accomplished at Calvary was a “finished work,” but His engagement in our lives continues by interceding and advocating on our behalf. As a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” Jesus is able to rescue those that are tempted, for He knows and understands our concerns.
Our Lord Jesus is the Great High Priest of heaven. He is worthy of our full trust and allegiance. Place your full trust and faith in Him and serve the Savior.