Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Hebrews 2:17-3:6
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Hebrews 2:17
Verse 17: Far from being a strange doctrine that doesn’t align with God’s character, the incarnation was absolutely necessary. Jesus “had to be made like His brethren in all things.” He had to become one of us and experience human life with all its temptations, sufferings and death. This is how God prepared Him to serve as our “merciful and faithful high priest.” Mercy is more than feeling sorry for someone. Mercy is an action. It exists where someone feels compassion for another person in need and does something to help. This is how it us possible for the divine Son of God to become merciful. It isn’t that He lacked in love or goodness, but when He humbled Himself, became a man and died on the cross He became our merciful high priest. And faithfulness also is just an empty concept until someone obeys an order or keeps a promise which requires great personal sacrifice. The choice to obey His Father is what led Jesus into all that He suffered, and it is also that which made Him faithful to His Father. The fact that He was severely tempted to disobey, made His obedience all the more faithful (Lk 4:5-8; Mt 16:22, 23).

Monday: Hebrews 2:17
Verse 17 (continued): It required more than death to “perfect” Jesus as the “author” of our salvation (v 10). We humans need the ongoing care of a high priest who can help us live lives that please God. And that’s not easy to do because the devil continues to tempt us to sin. In order for us to gain victory over this assault we need a high priest who loves us and is merciful toward us when we are weak, but we also need one who recognizes that our sin is offensive to God and who will faithfully offer the blood sacrifice necessary to atone for our sins. In the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) the Greek word for the gold lid on top of the ark of the covenant is the “propitiatory” (Ex 25:16, 17; Heb 9:5). It was upon this golden lid that Israel’s high priest poured out blood each year on the Day of Atonement (lit: “Day of Propitiation”). So when we are told that as our high priest Jesus makes “propitiation for the sins of the people,” we realize that what we are being told is that He poured out His own life blood to atone for us (Heb 9:11, 12, 24-26).

Tuesday: Hebrews 2:18
Verse 18: Jesus became fully human yet He never sinned (Heb 4:15). His sinlessness did not result because His temptations were less intense than ours, nor because He had access to spiritual resources we don’t have. It was always within His grasp to draw on divine prerogatives (Lk 4:3-12; Mt 26:53), but He steadfastly refused to do so. The sinless and power-filled life He led, He achieved as a human being baptized in the Holy Spirit (Jn 1:32, 33). He drew only on the same resources that have been given to every believer since the Day of Pentecost: the Word and the Spirit. With these tools alone He completely resisted the impulses of the flesh and the suggestions of the devil, and the process He went through left Him with firsthand knowledge of how to live victoriously as a human. He knows how to rely on Scripture (Lk 4:4, 8, 12), how to pray (Lk 22:40-46) and how to be led by the Spirit (Jn 5:19). So now when we are tempted we have a high priest we can turn to for real, practical help, and when we do we’ll find “mercy and… grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16). Not only has He atoned for us so that we are not condemned (Ro 8:1), but He can counsel us by the Word and Spirit until we too learn how to live holy lives.

Wednesday: Hebrews 3:1
Verse 1: By addressing his readers as “holy brethren,” the author assures them that though he is justifiably concerned about their “drift” away from the truth (Heb 2:1-4), he still considered them brothers. Though they are presently in real spiritual danger, they have not yet exited God’s family (Heb 6:9). They are still partners (“partakers”) with those who have said “yes” to God’s invitation (“heavenly calling”) to be His children “in glory” (Heb 2:10). But if they are to remain in that fellowship of believers, they must keep their faith focused on Jesus. They need to keep confessing He is the Son of God who was sent as a missionary (“apostle”) from heaven to earth (Heb 4:14), and now serves as God’s appointed “high priest,” having atoned for our sins and is now constantly interceding on our behalf (Heb 7:25).

Thursday: Hebrews 3:2
Verse 2: Jesus and Moses both faithfully served God as apostle and high priest. The term “apostle” means someone who has been sent on a mission. Just as Jesus was sent by God from heaven to earth, Moses was sent from Mount Sinai to Egypt (Ex 3:10-15; 4:13; 7:16; Dt 34:10-12). While herding sheep in the wilderness, Moses heard God speak to him from a burning bush saying, “…come now. I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people… out of Egypt” (Ex 3:10). And Moses also served in the role of high priest. Though his brother Aaron was eventually given the title, and the office passed down through Aaron’s family, it was actually Moses who represented the nation before God and interceded for them (Ex 32:11-14; 31-34; Nu 14:11-21) (F.F. Bruce, Hebrews, Eerdmans, 1964, p.56). It was he who oversaw the construction of the tabernacle in which Aaron would serve, and he who washed Aaron and his sons (Ex 29:4), dressed them in holy garments (Ex 29:5-9; 40:12-15) and anointed Aaron with oil (Ex 29:7). So the unmistakable truth is that in God’s eyes Moses was the high priest during his lifetime.

Friday: Hebrews 3:2, 3
Verse 2 (continued): With these similarities between Jesus and Moses in mind, the author announces that both were “faithful” to carry out the ministries to which God “appointed” (lit: “made”; 1Sa 12:6; Ac 2:36) them. He adds that Moses was faithful “in all His house,” which is undoubtedly a reference to God’s declaration concerning Moses in Numbers 12:7 in which He said, “…My servant Moses, he is faithful in all My household.” The “house” or “household” which Moses served was Israel. Verse 3: In the mind of every Jewish believer an important question had to be resolved: who is greater, Jesus or Moses? The author of Hebrews answers this by saying both were faithful to the assignment God gave them, but Jesus deserves much more honor because what He did is the reason the family of God exists at all, while Moses is simply a faithful member of that family. In other words, Moses himself, along with the rest of us is saved by the work of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death and resurrection is the single event in all history which actually provides atonement for human sin. Moses could only provide religious rituals which had prophetic symbolism meant to point people’s faith toward Christ.

Saturday: Hebrews 3:4-6
Verse 4: As we’ve seen (Heb 2:10), God the Father is the ultimate source of all creation and salvation. Had He not willed it, we would neither exist nor be redeemed from our sins. So even while discussing Jesus and Moses, the Father must be recognized as the true “builder of all things.” He ordered this “house” to be built and it belongs to Him. Verse 5: What Moses instituted had the power to cleanse people from sin only because they were prophetic symbols which pointed people’s faith forward in time to the Son of God who was to come. In this way he testified to a gospel which would be revealed (“spoken”) in the future (1Pe 1:10-12). And as a servant of God’s great plan, he faithfully carried out the instructions he received. Verse 6: Jesus, on the other hand, has an entirely different relationship to this “house.” As the divine Son who has made purification for our sins, He has been placed at His Father’s right hand to rule over this great family. All the people of God, including Moses, belong to Him.

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