For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,
putting everything in subjection under his feet.”
Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (Hebrews 2:5-9 ESV)
In chapter one, we are reminded that God has spoken through His Son, Jesus Christ, and we are presented with a list of some of the roles of Christ. The writer also makes the case that Jesus is superior to angels and gives Scriptural back up for this assertion.
In the first four verses of chapter two, we were reminded that even though the angels delivered a “reliable” message, it is the message (i.e. the gospel) that is important, and this “great salvation” should not be neglected.
In verse 2:5, we are reminded again of Jesus’ superiority over angels: “Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking.” But in this verse, we see the comparison based in the future: “that God subjected the world to come.” [underline added] This shift in tense, also effects how the next verse (2:6) is used.
Verse 2:6 begins, “It has been testified somewhere,” and is the writer’s way of introducing another passage of Scripture. In this case, the writer pulls from Psalm 8:4-6:
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet, (Psalm 8:4-6 ESV)
As your study Bible may indicate, this passage from Psalm 8 is normally used to refer to mankind. But in this case, the writer of Hebrews is clearly using the text to apply to Jesus. The “son of man” reference is clearly a connection to Daniel 7:13-14:
“I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14 ESV)
So, the Son of Man (Jesus) is:
- v. 2:7 – God allowed Jesus to be “for a little while lower than the angels” during Jesus’ incarnate time on earth;
- v. 2:7 – God “crowned him with glory and honor”; and
- v. 2:8 – God put “everything in subjection under his feet.” And, as verse 2:5 notes, this includes “the world to come.”
The writer of Hebrews then uses v. 2:8b-2:9 to provide additional details about the three items just listed:
v. 2:8b – “Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not see everything in subjection.” Isn’t that a great way to describe Jesus’ control? Though “we do not see everything in subjection” Jesus is still in control. As we are reminded in Colossians 1: 17 (ESV), “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
v. 2:9a – “But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus…” Philippians 2:6-7 (ESV) reminds us of how Christ lowered Himself: “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” We have such a high opinion of ourselves that it’s hard for us to grasp this truth. Many of us in the western world think Jesus came to earth for a vacation. But the truth is that, for a little while, Jesus lowered Himself to earth.
v. 2:9b – “…crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” The purpose of Jesus, for a little while, being lower than the angels, was so that “he might taste death for everyone.” Why was this allowed? “By the grace of God.” God allowed that His only Son descend to earth and suffer and die so that His Son might “taste death for everyone.” As Philippians 2:8 explains,
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8 ESV)
So, how do these things resonate with you? Do you understand that Jesus holds all things together and that all things are subject to Him? Do you see that this all-powerful Jesus became, for a little while, a man? And do you understand that Jesus became flesh, for a little while, for the express purpose of suffering and dying so that He might “taste death for everyone?”
Let these truths sink in and change us.
If you aren’t a follower of Christ and these truths have sunk in, follow Him now.
If you are and these truths have sunk in, let them change your life. Let your life be an offering of praise to Him.