Hebrews 2: Do Not Drift Away

1 We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

Chapter 2

The First Warning; 2:1-4.

1 We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

4 warnings in Hebrews.  1st – importance of heeding the salvation message brought by Jesus.  1st verse contains 2 nautical terms, and means, “We must eagerly anchor ourselves to the truths we’ve been taught, or we are likely to drift away from our moorings.”

[What he (Earl Hamner) wanted, I think, was truthfulness, and he gave all of us characters with which we could accomplish that.  They were characters that evolved over time, people who grew and learned and changed. Richard Thomas

— The Walton’s house is an anchor. our moorings.

The reference to punishments is historical:  the Mosaic law, conveyed by angels, carried penalties for those who violated it. To what then can these Hebrew believers flee if they turn away from the “great salvation” which has been announced by God himself?  And then was confirmed by miracles and by the distribution of spiritual gifts!  Turning back to Judaism holds out no hope at all!

The promise of Great Salvation; 2:5-18.

Jesus Made Fully Human
5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him?

7 You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor

8 and put everything under their feet.”, In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 12 He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.”

13 And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 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. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Turning back to Judaism also means abandoning a great salvation which promises much to every believer.  This salvation can be found only in Jesus.

The “world to come” in rabbinic thought is the age when Messiah will rule from David’s throne.  The writer points out that God intends to subject that world to men, not angels.  He quotes Psalm 8:4-6 to demonstrate God’s determination to lift mankind up and give us dominion.  Jesus’ resurrection, and his exaltation after suffering death for us, is conclusive proof that Jesus is the key to humanity’s destiny.

The suffering of Jesus was always hard for the Jews to accept.  Now the writer argues that his suffering was appropriate.  God intends, through Jesus, to bring humanity to its intended destiny.  Thus Jesus chose to share fully in our human condition.  He accepted the sufferings to which all of us are subject as part of what it means to be of the “same family.”

[The Walton’s family – I want to belong to like many people who still go to the “reunion.”  In this chapter, we are told that it is God’s intended destiny for us!  No need to be nostalgic or feeling melancholy.]

The implications here are stunning.  Jesus stooped to share all that we are, identifying fully with us, so that we might lift us up to share all that he is!  We are of one family now, inheriting through our relationship with Jesus — our elder brother — the very life of God.

The thought expressed in making Jesus “perfect through suffering” does not imply adding to his nature.  It means qualifying him for his mission.  To serve as the pioneer of our salvation, Jesus had to be a true human being and to suffer.

Finally, the writer points out that, through sharing in our humanity and dying as a human being, Jesus destroyed the hold of Satan over mankind.  The fear of death and the one who wielded it no longer holds us enslaved, for Jesus has nullified Satan’s power.  The word “destroy” in verse 14 means to make impotent, as though no longer existing.  Thus a relationship with Jesus frees us from our bondage, and Jesus becomes the dominant person in our life.  Because Jesus has suffered as a man, he is deeply sensitive to our needs.  He is willing to help us in the hour of our temptation.

This then is the destiny of redeemed humanity: to be lifted up to dominion and, until then, to live each day linked to a compassionate Jesus, who stoops to help us in our hour of need.  This truly is a great salvation, for never did the old covenant promise such a destiny, or offer a strike mankind such aid.

[When I saw some of the family missing — Granpa and granny, father and Godsey (?) owner of the general store — are no longer with us and the changed appearance of the family — mother and children — all have grown older, I felt sad.  Because we feel that we have lost something precious and we are reminiscing about it.  But what God is promising through the Scripture is that there will be a reunion of the family.  We have a family and home to go back to.  And it will be grand!

Like Lonesome Dove, like Paper Chase, I’ve come to U.S. — for fairness and justice.  In our hearts we know what we want.  where there’s no discrimination.  every human being is treated equally rich or poor.  people are charitable.  How America has drifted away from that ideal indeed.

Like the youngest in the Sound of Music, I am like a child, wanting to cry over my injured little finger.  When I feel sad, I am reassured every morning that what is to come will make all the troubles go away.  I want people to experience such a wonderful place in our house.  we all can make our house like that of the Walton family.]