Lesson 329: Hebrews 2:11…
Hebrews 2:11 Jesus is not ashamed to call [us] brothers and sisters.
This was helpful to those who were rejected by their family because of Jesus Christ. Perhaps they were the favorite son or daughter before they believed, but then their family was ashamed of them. They needed to know that Jesus was not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.
Sometimes shame is legitimate, other times it is not. A hardworking man was let go from his job, but was too ashamed to tell his family. He pretended to go go work everyday, but really went to the library. His money soon ran out; then he took his life.
Jesus understands our shame because he died a shameful death. He not only bore the shame of rejection, but the shame of all our sins. There will be no shame in the age to come because Jesus took it away forever. Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame (Romans 10:11), wrote Paul.
Hebrews 2:15 [Jesus freed] those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
People fear death for a number of reasons: fear of the unknown, fear of losing control, fear of being forgotten, and fear of being punished are just a few.
I am still haunted by a hospital visit I made, to see a lady who was dying, without any sense of assurance. She was religious, but did not seem to know Christ for herself. I saw panic in her eyes as I explained the gospel, but she did not want to hear it. We prayed briefly, I left, and she died.
But Christ has set us free from the fear of death by giving us eternal life. We . . . prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8), wrote Paul. For . . . to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21), wrote Paul again. And Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants (Psalm 116:15), wrote the Psalmist. Most people do not want to die, but death holds no terror for those who love the Lord.
Hebrews 2:17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human 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.
Atonement is strange word to many, but it’s easy to understand, if it is broken into syllables: at-one-ment. The sacrifice of atonement allows God and his people to be at one again.
The Day of Atonement was the most solemn day in the Old Testament. It was the only time the High Priest was allowed behind the temple curtain, into the presence of God. He brought sacrificial blood with him, and sprinkled it on the atonement cover (Leviticus 16:15). This had to be repeated every year because the blood of animals could not really atone for sin. It was more like deferring payment until the true payment could be made.
Since the holiness, justice and majesty of God are infinite, an infinitely valuable sacrifice was needed. But only God is infinitely valuable, so God became a man to be the atoning sacrifice. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement (Romans 3:25), wrote Paul.
God showed his acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice, at the moment of his death, by tearing the temple curtain in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51), wrote Matthew. The barrier between God and his people has been removed forever because of Christ’s atoning sacrifice. He has made atonement for our sins, and we are at one with God again.
Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.
Whenever we are tempted to sin, we should fix [our] thoughts on Jesus. We cannot enjoy sin very much without forcing Jesus out of our mind, so sin loses its power whenever we focus on him. As long as we are focused on Christ, sin will be less alluring.
Fixing our thoughts on Jesus will also strengthen our relationship with him. If you are poor, fix your thoughts on Jesus your provider. If you are guilty, fix your thoughts on Jesus your forgiver. If you are hurt, fix your thoughts on Jesus your healer. If you are lonely, fix your thoughts on Jesus your friend. Since our best thoughts will always be of Jesus, we should fix our thoughts on him whenever we can.
Hebrews 3:14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.
Holding on to Christ is the final proof that we truly belong to him. Whoever lets go of Christ shows they did not truly believe. This is what happened to Judas Iscariot. For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him (John 6:64), wrote John. Therefore, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess (Hebrews 4:14), says Hebrews.
A man and his friend went up in a small airplane. There was a rattle in the back, so the pilot asked his friend to investigate. He found the door was not completely shut, but when he tried to close it, the door flew open and he fell out. The pilot went back to the airport filled with grief. But after he landed, he found his friend holding onto the ladder for dearest life. That is how we should hold on to Jesus Christ.
Reflection and Review
How does Jesus take away our shame?
How does Jesus remove our fear of death?
How do we know that we have truly believed?