3 how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? This salvation had its beginning when it was spoken of by the Lord, and it was confirmed to us by those who heard him. Hebrews 2:3
Great question – there is no escape for those who neglect the salvation offered by Jesus. One of the great Bible mysteries out there is the question of who wrote the book of Hebrews – the authorship of this book has been discussed for hundreds of years. Our friend Og Keep is firmly convinced the author is Barnabas, others have made their case for Paul, Luke, Apollos, Aquila, Priscila, Silvanus/Silas and others. We get a big clue as to the identify of the author in our verse of the day: He is NOT somebody who was an eyewitness of the ministry of Jesus, because the author of Hebrews indicates that he heard of the salvation of Jesus not directly from the Lord, but from those who heard the Lord. This, of course, doesn’t really rule out any of our candidates (with the possible exception of Paul, who saw Jesus post resurrection on the Emmaus road), but does seem to rule out any of the 12 disciples and others who travelled with Jesus during His earthly sojourn.
Let’s read our passage, paying particular attention to the end, where we are told how and why Jesus can help us with temptation.
So – Hebrews is a bit of a strange book in many ways. Somewhat difficult to understand in parts, gloriously clear and beautiful in others. There are LOTS of Psalms referenced, and, if I’m being honest, I don’t always understand all of those Psalms references. One thing that is quite clear, however, and repeated over and over again- is the author’s focus on the greatness of Jesus. In this passage, we see how Jesus is great because He became human – not a fake human, like Superman/Clark Kent either. If you aren’t familiar with the reference, Superman was Kryptonian, but he disguised himself as a human. He looked like a human, but had the incredible powers of a Kryptonian. Jesus wasn’t a fake human – he was human in every way. He was also God in every way also…which I realize is a very difficult idea to wrap our minds around. What difference does it make that Jesus was fully human? Let’s read it again:
14 Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through his death he might destroy the one holding the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he does not reach out to help angels, but to help Abraham’s offspring. 17 Therefore, he had to be like his brothers and sisters in every way, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in matters pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 For since he himself has suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted. Hebrews 2:14-18
He understands…He has literally been there, done that. He has suffered under the effects of temptation. He has endured insults, taunts, loneliness, rejection, misunderstanding – all of the bad things that make us human – He has been there and experienced it. So when we cry out to Him for help and comfort – He understands and gets it in a way that only a human can…He was LIKE us in every way, says Hebrews, which means that He is merciful. What a wonderful truth!
Let’s close with some gentle words of comfort from dear brother Spurgeon:
But further, the fact that he has suffered without being destroyed is inestimably comforting to us. If you could see a block of ore just ready to be put into the furnace, if that block of ore could look into the flames, and could mark the blast as it blows the coals to a vehement heat, if it could speak it would say, “Ah! woe is me that ever I should be put into such a blazing furnace as that! I shall be burnt up; I shall be melted with the slag; I shall be utterly consumed!” But suppose another lump all bright and glistening could lie by its side, and say, “No, no, you are just like I was, but I went through the fire and I lost nothing thereby; see how bright I am; how I have survived all the flames.” Why then that piece of ore would rather anticipate than dread the season when it too should be exposed to the purifying heat, and come out all bright and lustrous like its companion. I see thee, I see thee, thou Son of Mary; bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh; thou hast felt the flames, but thou art not destroyed; not the smell of fire has passed upon thee; thine heel has been bruised, but thou hast broken the serpent’s head; there is no scar, nor spot, nor injury in thee; thou hast survived the conflict, and I, bearing thy name, purchased with thy blood, and dear to God as thou art dear to him, I shall survive it too, therefore will I tread the coals with confidence, and bear the heat with patience. Christ’s conquest gives me comfort, for I shall conquer too.
C. H. Spurgeon, “A Tempted Saviour—Our Best Succour,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 9 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1863), 10.
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