Hebrews 2:10-18 – Jesus went where no man could go!
By Pastor Lee Hemen
July 8, 2012 AM
When I was young there was a TV show called “Wagon Train” that ran on NBC from 1957–62 and then on ABC from 1962–65. The show chronicles the adventures of a wagon train as it makes its way from Missouri to California. There were 284 episodes in 8 seasons and it was one of the longest running series of its day next to the TV western “Gunsmoke.” I loved it because of its strong characters and the idea of strong consistent leadership that was based on integrity and a moral code. The Wagon Master was the captain and leader who kept folks safe as he lead them west through many trials and hazards. Believe it or not, much of the science fiction TV series “Star Trek” was based on “Wagon Train” and its concepts. They both “boldly went where no man had gone before.”
When we read the gospel narrative we discover that we have a real hero who went boldly where no man could ever go, Jesus Christ. The author of Hebrews begins to relate just how Jesus’ became our Wagon Master, our captain, and our redeemer. Let’s discover what the author teaches us concerning how Jesus went where no man could go…
How did early settlers pick a good Wagon Master to follow west? Some became the leader simply because they sponsored the wagon train headed westward. However, the best ones were those men who had the experience to lead and who had been where the train was headed. They knew the trail because they had traveled it themselves. In this sense we discover that…
I. Jesus was made the perfect captain! (v. 10)
1. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him! (Hebrews 5:8-9 NIV)
1) We do not like to suffer and when we hear of anyone or anything suffering we are repulsed by it. Therefore it is kind of a shock to our senses that “we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor” suffering for us! The author writes, “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.” (Hebrews 2:10 NIV) Perfected through suffering? Yes, because the operative word here is the word “perfect.” God found this fitting that his Son would suffer for us. As Wesley would state, “It became him. It was suitable to all his attributes, both to his justice, goodness, and wisdom… in bringing many adopted sons to glory… to [the] perfect the captain – Prince, leader, and author of their salvation, by his atoning sufferings for them.” The writer of Hebrews used, for the first time, the Greek word archēgos of Jesus, which literally means “author”, “leader” or “captain.” It is almost equivalent in some respects to the English word “pioneer.” Hebrews therefore tells us that Jesus’ suffering was appropriate in order to become the “Wagon Master” or captain we need, Jesus was made perfect for his role “through suffering” death. Since we suffer in life, Jesus, God incarnate, suffered in death and in doing so was made the perfect captain for us to follow!
EXAMPLE: On the Fourth of July after our church’s potluck picnic some of us walk together down to the Fort where they have the public fireworks display. As we head down we often walk in a single line and every once in a while we stop to wait for others. When we start up, one of us invariably hollers, “Forward, yo!” It comes from old John Wayne movies like “Fort Apache” or “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”, when the troopers head out to track down Indians. It is like a Wagon Master getting his wagons to follow him. We then all fall into line and follow the leader just as the troopers or Conestogas did in those movies. This is kind of what the writer of Hebrews is sharing about Jesus. He was perfected in his death and suffering for us in order to become the perfect captain or Wagon Master for us to follow!
Sadly, for some, the TV series “Star Trek” became almost like a family. Captain Kirk was the fun-loving brother, Spock the intellectual nerd of the family, and Bones the irascible Uncle. Kirk would always get the girl, Spock would raise one eyebrow, and Bones would mutter. Each week we were invited in to join them in their latest adventure, but as enjoyable as that was, they were not part of our real family. They were make-believe. However, we discover from Hebrews that…
II. Jesus made us “family”! (Vv. 11-13)
1. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29 NIV)
1) There is a deep family fidelity and unity between Jesus and his followers. By His death He makes them holy, and those who are made holy by him are of his same family. The writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 22:22 as referring to Jesus Christ, and these words as being spoken by Jesus the Son to God the Father. John would declare that “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13 NIV) As an older brother surrounded by his siblings, Jesus “will declare” our names to all in heaven and earth, “in the presence of the congregation” he sings our praises as we sing his! This is how we can say, “I will put my trust in him.” But more than this, God can as well because Jesus did what his Father desired! Jesus related, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19 NIV) In the end, Jesus will declare, “Here am I, and the children God has given me!” WOW! I like that! Jesus made us family through his suffering and he leads us to God! Paul would write that “This is why it says: ‘When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.’” (Ephesians 4:8 NIV) Remember when Jesus prayed to God the Father concerning his followers, “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.” (John 17:6-7 NIV) The author of Hebrews is establishing the fact that Jesus made us family!
EXAMPLE: The British learned that true leadership is not paid for or given out as a prize but rather it is earned through skill, respect, and character. The British military would give out officer commissions to the wealthy aristocrats, but when war erupted they were sometimes worthless on the high seas or battle field. In fact, early colonials learned to kill the officers first because of the distrust the elite officer class had with the common rank and file. It rendered the army useless because there was no leadership. How glorious to learn then that God loved us so much that he sent his one and only Son to live among us, to die for us, and to lead us back to his presence! And even more wonderful is learning that Jesus did this to make us part of his family! His brothers and sisters in Christ! Paul would proclaim, “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” (Ephesians 3:14-15 NIV) Jesus made us family!
The Prince and the Pauper tells the tale of two boys who trade clothing one afternoon and, as a result, they trade lives as well. Each of the boys is fascinated by the other’s life — Tom, by the luxury and the cleanliness that Edward has, and Edward, by the freedom that Tom has. After many adventures and experiences, matters are set right again. Jesus’ willingness to come to earth is more than a tale of royalty wanting to discover the common man. The author of Hebrews teaches us that…
III. Jesus also shared our humanity! (Vv. 14-18)
1. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:8 NIV)
1) Here is a wonderful glorious truth: It is not for the heavenly beings known as angels but rather those who become “Abraham’s descendents” that Jesus came in order to “free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” Did you know that he means all Christians? Satan had the power of death in the Garden in that he brought it to all mankind through the sin of one man Adam, but now through God’s Son, Jesus, we are freed from that fear! Why would God do such a thing? The author says it was simply because “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil.” Death no longer holds any fear for those who have faith. This is why Paul would grandly write, “‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57 NIV) Hebrews reminds us that in fact it was “For this reason he had to be made like his brothers 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.” Whatever our needs are on our trail of life our Wagon Master leads us because he earned the right to through his sacrifice! As Jesus would declare, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest… If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” (Matthew 11:28 & John 7:37 NIV) Jesus understands us at our basic needs. In fact, like one who has walked a mile in our shoes, “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” That is the glorious wonderful truth; Jesus also shared in our humanity!
EXAMPLE: The fearful settlers made up of shopkeepers, farmers, womenfolk, and children look to the lean grizzled suntanned man on the horse and wonder, “Can this man lead us to where we are going? Does he know the way?” Of course we all know he can, he is the Wagon Master. He has been over the trail, fought the Indians, and kept the bandits at bay before. He looks at the crowd of faces, leans back in his saddle, and tells them that the trail will not be easy. It will be tough as nails, rain, sleet, dust and mud, flies and bugs, and heat and cold. Yet through it all he will faithfully lead them safely to their destination because he has been there and back himself. Jesus is way better than any dusty old Wagon Master, he is the Shepherd of our souls and Jesus also shared in our humanity. He knows the way.
Jesus was made perfect, Jesus made us family, and Jesus also shared our humanity!
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 27 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.