Hebrews 2:9-11 opens to us a spiritual reality that we must come to understand and appreciate if we are to make the most of this wonderful opportunity of salvation that God gave to us completely unbidden. Because of our disobedience and the resulting curse of death placed on us, we could never experience what is said of us in Psalm 8:4-8, which the author of Hebrews refers to here. However, Jesus suffered death and gained the victory for us. As a result, He wears the crown of glory and rules the universe. We know this Being as God-in-the-flesh, but the author uses His earthly name, Jesus, so that we can see the historical setting of His victory.
"Jesus" calls to mind the concept of salvation, as it means "savior." The author writes that Jesus accomplished the redemption of His people by "tast[ing] death," not—interestingly—by merely "dying." To taste death is a graphic illustration of the painful way He suffered and died. He was not spared this excruciating trauma because He was the Son. He experienced suffering, both physical and emotional, to the very marrow of His bones.
In Hebrews 2:10, we find that the "everyone" of verse 9 is, in realty, not in this context the whole world, but it is limited to the "many sons" being brought to glory—in other words, the church. He bore the suffering that should have come upon us as the wages of our sins. He is the Author, the Pioneer, the Trailblazer, the Forerunner, going before us to our salvation. He is the One clearing the path, as it were, as we make our way following our calling. In Hebrews 12:2, He is called "the author and finisher [or perfecter] of our faith." The Father made Him pass through gruesome suffering in our behalf.
He completed His preparation for the responsibility that He now holds as our High Priest; the Father has charged Him with the task of preparing many others to share life with them in the Kingdom of God. Jesus, therefore, is the One who makes men holy. The path to sanctification lies in obedience to doing God's will, and that obedience is to be given out of gratitude because one understands and knows the Father and Son from within an intimate relationship (John 17:3).
Verse 12 quotes Psalm 22:22, putting the words in Jesus' mouth: "I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will sing praises to You." In the holy Family of God, this spiritual relationship supersedes all human aspects. Jesus died for our sins; He redeemed us from the curse of sin; He forgives our sins; He gives us gifts; and He leads us to glory. Because of His sacrificial work, He is not ashamed to give us the name "brothers"! This implies that we, in turn, may call Jesus our Brother. What a privilege to be called brothers of the Son of God!
John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is God's True Church Today?