TEXT: “For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham”
(Hebrews 2:16 NKJV; read 2:9-18 and especially 14-18)).
We live in a world that is experiencing crisis after crisis. The call for help or aid is voiced constantly across our fallen race.
We think of victims of covid-19, lives devastated through natural disasters like floods or earthquakes. Then, there are so many people caught in the midst of conflict and warfare, not to mention daily crime.
Often the cry for aid is voiced. Sometimes the call is not heard. Sometimes help is slow in coming. Sometimes the aid doesn’t meet the real needs of the people in crisis.
Thankfully, at times there is a helpful response from those who give aid, and the response meets the crisis need, at least to some degree. And praise God for the work of “First Responders” who run towards the needs rather than away from them.
What I want us to learn through this message today is that our Lord Jesus meets us at our greatest point of need. He provides the help we truly need.
Jesus Christ is the one who provides the ultimate aid we need for the most serious issues in life. He is the ultimate “First Responder” bringing the real aid that we need. For we all are in a crisis as fallen human beings in this world. It is only through what God has provided through God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, that we receive the real aid that we need. It is a glorious truth that the divine response to our need was not a second thought or a plan B, it was and is God’s eternal plan in His Son since before time began!
Hebrews 2:14-18 is found in a section of Hebrews in which the writer is explaining (among other truths) why Jesus, the Son of God, became man, a human being.
To be more specific, why was it that Jesus was born of the seed of Abraham? Why for a period of time was Jesus made “a little lower than the angels” (Heb. 2:9).
The simple truth of our text above (Heb. 2:16) is that Jesus gives aid to “the seed of Abraham” and not angels. That might seem like an obvious point, but the writer wants us to grasp the wonder of the fact that the exalted Son of God had to become man and enter this world as a descendant of Abraham. That is why he had to become lower than the angels. To broaden this truth, Jesus became man, a specific Jewish man, in order to help own people and ultimately people like you and me in crisis.
You might say, Well, I am not in crisis? What do you mean by saying that Jesus helps us in our crisis?
The Scriptures are clear in their teaching that we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). From the very start of the human race, there has been sin. We are all impacted by the original sin of Adam. Also, people have chosen to disobey God, and they do so since Adam because they have a sinful nature.
So, people sin and they fall short of God character, standard, and desire for their lives. Furthermore, the Scriptures teach that the consequence, the wages of sin is death, but (as we will see) the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 6:23). Without the intervention of Jesus Christ, mankind is in trouble, and without the help needed.
What does this really mean, and how has Christ provided aid for us?
Our text of Scripture reveals that Jesus provides help for those who fear death, those who sin, and those who face temptation. For our purposes today, I think it will be helpful to look at these in the following order:
Jesus provides aid for those who face temptation. Jesus provides aid for those who sin. Jesus provides aid for those who fear death.
So, working from back to front through this passage of Scripture (2:14-18) notice that:
By virtue of His humanity, our Lord Jesus entered the arena of suffering and temptation. According to this text (and others), He experienced both suffering and temptation. And by being “one of us,” He is able to help us at our point of need.
Hebrews 4:15 declares, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
From the standpoint of Jesus’ priestly ministry, it is very important that He was tempted like us, even as it is very important that He was without sin. His sinless nature and life made it possible for Him to be a “great High Priest who has passed through the heavens” (4:14). He is unique. He has won the victory over temptation. He never sinned.
But, it is His sinlessness matched with His ability to “sympathize with our weaknesses” (4:15), that is the basis of our aid in temptation. His sinlessness is critically important or He could not help us. But, His experience of life and his sympathy for us leads to the invitation to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we obtain mercy and grace to help in time of need” (4:16). We will find ourselves in times of need often, and we have a place to go and one who can hear our cry for help.
It is awesome to read these important words in the Epistle to the Hebrews concerning Jesus,
”Who, In the days of His flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (5:7-9).
This text reveals that Jesus was truly human and was perfectly prepared for His role as our Savior and High Priest through what He experienced. He never sinned, and that is not implied. What He did was live and experience our humanity in order to be our all-sufficient Savior.
You may think you are all alone when you find yourself tempted to sin. You have a Savior who is your advocate and source of strength. We can go to Him in prayer and seek His aid. We can seek for mercy and grace in time of need. We can ask Him for a way of escape as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 10:13. He is praying for us. He has given us His Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen us. He has given us His Word to guide and strengthen us as well. He has given us one another in the fellowship of the church to support and encourage one another. But He Himself is able to minister to us because He became one of us.
In our day, some may question the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Of course we believe that Jesus Christ is indeed God incarnate, totally God and totally man. It is interesting that in the early days after the resurrection and the ascension of Christ, there were some who questioned aspects of the humanity of Christ. How could God become man?
That is ultimately a mystery, although it is clearly taught in Scripture (John 1:1-5, 14-18). But, the question answered in our text is not how but why would God become man? And the answer is that man needs God and for God to help man at his point of need, God needed to become man. Jesus is able to help us in our weakness because he experienced weakness and temptation and yet overcame them victoriously. And now having suffered temptation, “He is able to help those who are tempted” (2:18).
Every day we face temptations. Are we finding our help in Jesus, or are we giving in to temptation? We certainly should pray, “…do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from the evil one” Matt. 6:13a). We need to remember that He overcame the evil one in life and in death, and we can rely on Him (see Matthew 4:1-11). What a ministry! What a Savior!
Jesus became like us in order to help us, sinners in need of forgiveness. Of course, Jesus was and is “holy, undefiled, separate from sinners” and thus He serves an eternal and unchangeable priesthood (7: 26).
As our High Priest, He made “propitiation for the sins of the people” (2:17). Jesus has dealt with sin personally (1:1-4). It was the Son of God Himself who made a way of forgiveness. No one else could do this for us. He had to be our sin-bearer personally. He dealt with sin completely. Out text tells us that “He made propitiation for the sins of the people” (2:17).
This means that sins were dealt with completely. Ultimately the punishment for sins was completed. The full work of forgiveness and cleansing was accomplished through Christ. He did what we could not do. He did what we could not do completely. It is a finished work. He sat down after it was accomplished (1:3-4).
Praise God for that! It is also a means of forgiveness that deals with the guilt of sin finally and eternally (Read 9:12-15).
I wonder if there is someone reading this today who senses that they cannot be forgiven? Jesus became one of us to provide personally, completely, finally, and eternally a means of forgiveness. His death on the cross, His blood shed, His resurrection, and ascension on high, all speak to the completeness of the offering for sin.
So, as 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness…..And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the whole world.” (1 John1:9; 2:1a-2)
If you are a person coming to Jesus Christ for the first time, your sins can be forgiven completely. For children of God, the blood of Jesus Christ continues to cleanse from all sin.
Are you wondering if your sins are really forgiven? Could it really be true? Absolutely true. This is why Jesus became man, suffered on a cross, took upon Himself the penalty of sin, indeed the very wrath of the Father, and made total provision for our forgiveness and salvation. Jesus provides aid to sinners. This is why he came.
As Luke write, “… for the Son of Man (Jesus) has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10)
But, there is one other major truth that we must see in this text and that is:
Certainly, in the sovereign plan of God, a primary reason Jesus had to be flesh and blood, of the seed of Abraham, was so that He could die a death that would defeat death. Through His death, He “destroyed Him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Through that mysterious victory over death and the devil, those who fear death can be released from the bondage of that fear. We can say with the Apostle Paul, “death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54, see Isaiah 25:8).
There is no need for people who have received “the Aid of Jesus” to be enslaved by the fear of death.
We have received the necessary aid, the appropriate help to resolve the problem of death. The “sting” associated with death, of course, is due to sin and the judgment it demands. But, as we have already noted, despite the fact that the “wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
We need to be honest today. We live in a world filled with death, but it is a subject that we don’t like to think about or talk about.
Right now, though, due to the pandemic and other crises in our world, we are having to face the reality of death every day!
Some people deal with the fear of death by avoiding the subject. Others live in a dream world, assuming that they will live a long time, so death is not an issue in their lives. But, death is a reality we all must face. Death came into the world through the sin of man.
Jesus came to bring life and life after death. In His death and resurrection, He destroyed the work of Satan which brought death, and He conquered the power of death. Those who are in Christ need not fear death, since we are united to Christ.
“The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57). Since Christ has dealt with sin and death, we can shout the shout of thanksgiving for the victory he has accomplished for us. And we can hear the Apostle’s encouraging word, “….Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
We as believers need not live in fear. Our focus should be on living in the Lord and living for the Lord. We know that our lives are meaningful now in the Lord, and His reward will come as well in eternity. What a provision we have in Christ! His death and resurrection have changed everything.
Our ultimate crises are more than resolved through the aid that Jesus’ provides.
The triple threat of temptation, sin, and death are met victoriously through the one who was willing to be made “a little lower than the angels” (2:9) for us.
It is His people, with faith like that of Abraham, a faith focused on Jesus Christ Himself, who experience the benefits of His aid, His provision, His crisis ministry.
Are you wrestling with temptation? He is the source of help.
Are you living under the weight, the guilt of sin? He is the one who has provided forgiveness.
Are you living in fear, and the fear of death specifically? Jesus has conquered death. Oh, there still is the reality of physical death, but life eternal is our gift in Jesus Christ.
This is why Jesus Christ is the focus of our lives as believers. We find everything we need in Him.
As the writer to the Hebrews says, later on, we must “fix our eyes on Him.” In other words, our faith and our hope should rest in Him alone. We are to be faithful to Him.
Because of Him, we can draw near to God (10:22).
Because of Him, we can be strong in our faith, trusting in the promises of God in Him (10:23).
Because of Him, we need to encourage one another to live for Him daily in love and good works (10:24-25).
Because of Him, we can praise God and serve others (13:15-16). He is our focus, He is our life.
Do what is necessary to focus on Jesus. Turn from sin and self, and trust in Him. Lay aside every sin and weight, and run the race of faith, fixing our eyes on Him (Hebrews 12:1-2).
He became “low” so that He could raise us to be with Him above. Meanwhile, He is the source of aid and of help for all who trust in Him.
Praise His Name!