There are two words of which I want you to be aware: pioneer and high priest. Do you see how the author carefully lays out the atoning work of Jesus Christ? When we talk about atonement we need to know about what we are talking? To atone means to do something in order to make something right. So, the wrong thing is that we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Look at vs.10 and you will see that Jesus had to come in the flesh, had to be one of us, so that he might taste death for everyone. That is in vs.9, so go back just one. He moves on from speaking about angels to say that even we are given authority over the land, something the angels never had. We see that in verses 8, okay so take another step back.
But what is exciting about Hebrews is that we have laid before us the basic fundamental beliefs that we have in regards to the incarnation. Incarnation means God in the flesh. “In” means in or taking the substance of, and carna mean flesh or meat. In Italian the word carne means meat, so there we are. Starting at vs.8 we read that we, humans, people, do not have the world under our control. In fact, it is very much spinning out of our control and that is a result of sin. So, God sent Jesus to taste death for us so that he could be the pioneer of our salvation. Jesus paved the way for our salvation.
He goes on in vs.14 that since Jesus was flesh and blood, just like we are flesh and blood, his death destroyed the devil. The devil, the adversary, is the one who has the power to use death. The result of Jesus’ coming on earth was to free all of us who might have the fear of death. Are you afraid of dying? No, seriously, I’m asking you who are reading this right now. Are you afraid of dying? If so, what are you afraid of: pain, suffering, not knowing what comes next, emotional pain of those left behind? His death provides eternal life which gives us a hope that we have never had before. We are able to live our lives without fear because we know the end of the story of our lives.
The author calls Jesus the high priest, which is interesting because I think it would be better if he were called the sacrificial lamb who is slaughtered by the high priest. He is the one who made a sacrifice of atonement which made our relationship with God intact once again. He was like us in every single respect. We will find out later that he is like us in every single respect, except he didn’t sin (Hebrews 4:15). But here we definitely have laid the foundation down that Jesus is human like us. He suffered like us, he died like us, he was one of us. But as the high priest he made the sacrifice, himself, for our sins. He is both the high priest, the one performing the sacrifice for God on our behalf, and the sacrifice itself. Hebrews is really growing on me. I think I love it.