Here we are; Hebrews part two. Last time we saw that Jesus is greater than the angels and all the prophets. There’s no confusion now about Jesus’ identity; he is greater than anyone and anything.
In chapter two the writer develops this theme by talking about Jesus’ authority. If he is indeed greater than anyone or anything, that must mean that he has more authority than anyone.
And furthermore, it is not angels who will control the future world we are talking about. For in one place the Scriptures say,
“What are mere mortals that you should think about them,
or a son of man that you should care for him?
Yet for a little while you made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honour.
You gave them authority over all things.”
Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority. What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us, he is now “crowned with glory and honour.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. (2:5-10, NLT)
If you’re familiar with the New Testament, you’ll probably have heard of the Great Commission. As an introduction to his final command, Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
What’s interesting in this passage from Hebrews 2 is who is supposed to be given authority over all things. Do you notice it?
It’s mortals – us.
The writer does clarify for us that this hasn’t yet happened. Instead, that authority has been given to Jesus first. That’s why we pray in Jesus’ name. It’s not that the name Jesus is a magic word we can use to get what we want; his name is the symbol of his authority.
Notice that it was Jesus’ suffering that led to him being given this authority. Authority in the Kingdom of God is not to do with position or hierarchy; it’s based on humility and servanthood.
“This is a trustworthy saying: If we die with him, we will also live with him. If we endure hardship, we will reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us. If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.” (2 Timothy 2:11-13 NLT)
Our future authority is based upon Jesus’ authority. We will reign with him when the Kingdom of God is fully established and the new heaven and earth are here (Revelation 21). This is waiting for us in the next life.
Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. (Hebrews 2:14-15, NLT).
The gospel message is often presented as being about the forgiveness of sins – and that’s true – but there’s more to it than just that. The writer to the Hebrews gives us another dimension to the gospel here – it breaks our fear of death.
Jesus – God himself – has experienced death and overcome it. It’s kind of like a vaccine. You take a small dose of the disease in order to gain immunity from it. Jesus took a small dose – three days – of death and we all gained immunity from its effects.
I’d love to get your thoughts as I go through this letter. What are you noticing as you read? What is God saying? What does it all mean for us in the 21st Century? Talk to me in the comments!