Commentary by Walter Albritton

June 13


We May Be Saved Because Jesus Shared Our Humanity   

Hebrews 2:5-18


Key Verse: For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. – Hebrews 2:17


          As children we learn that Jesus is our shepherd and friend. Then as we grow older, we learn that he is, in fact, much more than our gentle, caring friend. He is indeed the King of this world and the world to come. When Christ returns, all things will be subject to him because God has decreed it.

          Faith remains in the kindergarten stage for adults who think of Jesus as a kind friend but refuse to acknowledge him as the King of the world. When Jesus is simply a “buddy” or a “co-pilot” who condones our sinful ways, then all we have is a counterfeit Jesus fashioned by our own cleverness. Such a Jesus bears little resemblance to the New Testament Jesus. Moreover, such a Jesus cannot save us from our sins. Saint Paul saw the day coming when “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” That day will come, although “at present we do not see everything subject to him.”

          There is an awesome majesty about the Jesus described by the writer of Hebrews. Even the mighty angels will be subject to the authority of Jesus even though God made Jesus “a little lower than the angels” when he became a man. Jesus shared our humanity as part of God’s great plan to provide for our salvation. God allowed him to suffer death to atone for our sins and deliver us from the paralyzing fear of death.

          As a man, Jesus was tempted by Satan to sin in every way that we are tempted, but he did not sin. That is why we love to sing, “No one understands like Jesus.”  We know that ”no one else can take the sin and darkness from us.” Only Jesus can truly feel our pain. He hurt just like we hurt, and because of that “he is able to help those who are being tempted.” He understands, and thank God he does, because often our friends do not understand.

          Jesus was obedient to the Father even to the point of taking our sins to the cross. Because Jesus suffered and died as a sacrifice for our sins, God made him “the author” of our salvation, and in so doing made him “perfect through suffering.” For this, God crowned Jesus with “glory and honor.” Then He welcomed Jesus home, to sit on heaven’s throne at the Father’s right hand. This is a noble and inspiring understanding of Jesus, one elevated far above the juvenile concept of Jesus as a “buddy” or “the Man Upstairs.”

          The writer of Hebrews explains why Jesus “had to be made like his brothers in every way.” This was necessary in order for Jesus to “become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God.” Here are at least three great truths:

1)      As believers we are “brothers” of Jesus. He became like us so that we could more readily identify with him. As brothers of Jesus we belong to the Family of God. To understand who we are as children of God and brothers of Jesus is liberating. It sets us free from the curse of low self-esteem.

2)    Jesus reveals to us the mercy of God. Praise God Jesus is our “merciful” high priest. We all need mercy, not justice. Jesus is “full” of mercy and grace, ready to forgive when we genuinely repent of our sins.

3)    Jesus is our “faithful” high priest. In the Old Testament the high priest offered sacrifices for the sins of the people. He bridged the gap between sin and the Father. Now Jesus is himself the sacrifice for our sins, making possible our reconciliation with God. High priests of old were not always faithful compared to the perfect, eternal faithfulness of Jesus. The phrase, “he is able” in verse 18, tells us all we need to know about the faithfulness of our Lord Jesus.


          A friend of mine was born in Europe. At her birth, her parents were repulsed by her physical handicaps. Instead of taking her home, they gave her away to be discarded or possibly adopted. Three years later, the child was adopted by loving parents who loved her despite her handicaps. They gave her a new home, a new identity, and the opportunity to join the family of God through faith in Jesus.

          This precious girl, shown the unmerited mercy of loving parents and friends, has blossomed like a flower since she embraced Jesus as her Savior. Jesus has given her a radiant, contagious, million-dollar smile. Her transformation is a beautiful example of the power of grace in the human heart.

          Because Jesus shared our humanity, God’s merciful salvation is available to all, especially the unlovely and unwanted. This is the good news of the gospel.  We need no longer think of ourselves as pitiful orphans cut off from God’s love. We can plead for mercy and he will welcome us into the family of God. Saved from our sins, we need no longer fear death. Our brother Jesus, the King of this world and the world to come, defeated Satan, hell, and death when he died on the cross.

          We have a home on the other side. The grave is not the end. The Father waits over the way to say, “Welcome home my child, there is a place for you in my home, so come on in!” That beats by a mile anything the world has to offer – and it is all ours because Jesus shared our humanity and became our merciful, faithful high priest. Glory!

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