Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Hebrews 2:13-16
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Hebrews 2:13
Verse 13: To understand the selection of Isaiah 8:17, 18 (Septuagint translation) we need to be aware of the context in which these words were spoken. Just three verses earlier (Isa 8:14) the Lord described Himself as a “stone to… stumble over” which is a phrase repeatedly applied to Jesus in the New Testament (Lk 2:34; 20:18; Ro 9:32, 33; 1Pe 2:8). Then beginning at the verse which immediately follows (Isa 8:19) Isaiah prophesied one of the most profound and widely recognized Messianic passages in the Bible (Isa 8:19-9:7). So it should come as no surprise that the author of Hebrews considers the three intervening verses (Isa 8:16-18) to be Messianic as well. In fact in the Septuagint (which the author of Hebrews is using) verse 17 reads, “And he shall say, ‘I will wait for God…’” indicating that Isaiah is not recording his own words, but those of someone else.

Monday: Hebrews 2:13
Verse 13 (continued): In verses 17 and 18 the speaker (the Messiah) declares that He will wait for God to fulfill His promises even though He is surrounded by people who do not believe and from whom the Lord is “hiding His face.” In spite of this spiritual blindness on the part of the “house of Jacob” He said that He and the spiritual “children” (disciples) which God has given Him, would be confirmed by God by “signs and wonders.” This passage fit Jesus and His disciples perfectly. God certainly did witness to His “stone to... stumble over” using signs and wonders.

Tuesday: Hebrews 2:14
Verse 14: Since the “children” that God gave the Messiah (Heb 2:13), the “brethren” of whom He is “not ashamed” (Heb 2:11), are human beings made out of flesh and blood, in order to save us it was necessary for the Son of God to become one of us. He had to share our same mortal nature so that He could die, thereby breaking the power of death by which the devil held us captive. Only by death could He render powerless the one who had the power of death. At this point we have to ask the question, what is the “power of death” that the devil holds over us? As we noted before (Heb 2:9), death takes place in human beings on two levels: the physical and the spiritual. Our bodies die, but so does the human spirit. This does not mean a person’s spirit ceases to exist, but rather that it dies by being separated from God. By temptation and deception, the devil has brought both dimensions of death to all people because all have sinned (Ro 5:12).

Wednesday: Hebrews 2:14
Verse 14 (continued): We also learn from Scripture that the devil constantly reminds God of the sins people commit (Zech 3:1; Rev 12:10). By doing so, he hopes to ensure that each one will die spiritually. His power of death comes from his power to tempt, deceive and accuse. In these ways he is able to inflict physical and spiritual death on the entire human race (Ro 5:12; 6:23). Prior to the incarnation, as the divine Son of God, Jesus could not die. And without His death the human race could not be rescued (Ro 5:18; Col 2:13, 14). This is the main point the author of Hebrews is trying to explain to us. To those who argue that God would never stoop to become human, he says they overlook the basic spiritual principle that sin unmercifully demands the penalty of death (Ro 6:23) and without the death of a substitute, no release from that penalty is possible (Heb 10:10). Furthermore, Christ conquered the power of death over our bodies as well as our spirits by His resurrection and for Him to be resurrected, obviously, required that He first die (1Co 15:21).

Thursday: Hebrews 2:15
Verse 15: Not only did Jesus come to break the devil’s power of death, but He also came to “free those who through fear of death were subjected to slavery all their lives.” Without the hope of eternal life, people are left with no alternative but to fearfully anticipate their approaching death. If they are atheists (don’t believe God exists) they march day by day toward the moment when they will cease to exist. In their thinking they will close their eyes, all consciousness will cease and their bodies will begin to decompose. No matter how bold one tries to be, the atheist cannot escape being enslaved to this fear. All they can do is try to ignore it and live intently for the pleasures of each day (Isa 22:13,14; Lk 12:19; 1Co 15:32). If a person is a theist (believe God exists, but deny Jesus) they face an even worse prospect. Aware of their own sinful attitudes and behaviors they march day-by-day toward the prospect of divine judgment (Heb 9:27). They have no solid reason for believing that their sins may be forgiven. They, too, are enslaved to the fear of death. So, whether a person is an atheist or a theist, the reality of death remains undeniable and the fear of death inescapable. It enslaves humans and holds them captive all their lives.

Friday: Hebrews 2:15
Verse 15 (continued): Thankfully, by His death and resurrection, Jesus has freed us from this slavery. By rising from the dead, He proves eternal life exists and assures those of us who put our faith in Him that our sins are forgiven (Jn 5:24). We need no longer be gripped by fear, even though our bodies still die and the process may be painful. When that moment comes, we can be confident that God’s presence will comfort us (Ps 23:4; Ac 7:55-60; Ro 8:37-39). He will lovingly help us die and then take us to Himself. As believers when we lift our gaze and look past the moment when our bodies die, we realize physical death is only a threshold into eternal life. Even our bodies, which decompose at death, will someday be raised in a new imperishable form at the return of Christ (1Thess 4:13-18; 1Co 15:51-57; Rev 19:11-14; 20:4).

Saturday: Hebrews 2:16
Verse 16: If God had sent His Son to die for the sins of angels rather than humans, Jesus would not have needed to become a man. But the Father didn’t send His Son to die for angels even though many have sinned and face eternal judgment (Rev 12:7-9). He only sent His Son to “help the descendant of Abraham.” The term “descendant of Abraham” refers to those men and women who have in themselves faith like Abraham’s. Abraham was a man who was justified by faith (Ge 15:6) and people who have that same justifying faith become His spiritual children (Ge 3:7, 9, 29; Ro 9:6-8, 30-33; Mt 8:10-12). The term, as it is used here, is not meant to refer to the physical descendants of Abraham, though of course, many of these are His spiritual children as well.

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