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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 Therefore, we must attend all the more to what
we have heard, so that we may not be carried away.
For if the word announced through angels proved
firm, and every transgression and disobedience received its just recompense,
how shall we escape if we ignore so great a
salvation? Announced originally through the Lord, it was confirmed for us by
those who had heard.
God added his testimony by signs, wonders,
various acts of power, and distribution of the gifts of the holy Spirit
according to his will.
2 For it was not to angels that he subjected the
world to come, of which we are speaking.
Instead, someone has testified somewhere:
"What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you care
You made him for a little while lower than the
angels; you crowned him with glory and honor,
subjecting all things under his feet." In
"subjecting" all things (to him), he left nothing not "subject
to him." Yet at present we do not see "all things subject to
but we do see Jesus "crowned with glory
and honor" because he suffered death, he who "for a little
while" was made "lower than the angels," that by the grace of
God he might taste death for everyone.
For it was fitting that he, for whom and
through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make
the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.
He who consecrates and those who are being
consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them
saying: "I will proclaim your name to my
brothers, in the midst of the assembly I will praise you";
and again: "I will put my trust in
him"; and again: "Behold, I and the children God has given me."
Now since the children share in blood and
flesh, he likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one
who has the power of death, that is, the devil,
and free those who through fear of death had
been subject to slavery all their life.
Surely he did not help angels but rather the
descendants of Abraham;
therefore, he had to become like his brothers
in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God
to expiate the sins of the people.
Because he himself was tested through what he
suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.
1 [1-4] The author now makes a
transition into exhortation, using an a fortiori argument (as at
⇒ Hebrews 7:21-22;
⇒ 9:13-14; ⇒ 10:28-29;
⇒ 12:25). The word announced through angels
(⇒ Hebrews 2:2), the Mosaic law, is contrasted with
the more powerful word that Christians have received (⇒ Hebrews
2:3-4). Christ's supremacy strengthens Christians against being
carried away from their faith.
2 [5-18] The humanity and the
suffering of Jesus do not constitute a valid reason for relinquishing the
Christian faith. ⇒ Psalm 8:5-6) is also applied to
Jesus in ⇒ 1 Cor 15:27; ⇒ Eph
1:22; and probably ⇒ 1 Peter 3:22. This
christological interpretation, therefore, probably reflects a common early
Christian tradition, which may have originated in the expression the son of man
(⇒ Hebrews 2:6). The psalm contrasts God's greatness
with man's relative insignificance but also stresses the superiority of man to
the rest of creation, of which he is lord. Hebrews applies this christologically:
Jesus lived a truly human existence, lower than the angels, in the days of his
earthly life, particularly in his suffering and death; now, crowned with glory
and honor, he is raised above all creation. The author considers all things as
already subject to him because of his exaltation (⇒ Hebrews
2:8-9), though we do not see this yet. The reference to Jesus as
leader (⇒ Hebrews 2:10) sounds the first note of an
important leitmotif in Hebrews: the journey of the people of God to the sabbath
rest (⇒ Hebrews 4:9), the heavenly sanctuary,
following Jesus, their "forerunner" (⇒ Hebrews
6:20). It was fitting that God should make him perfect through suffering,
consecrated by obedient suffering. Because he is perfected as high priest,
Jesus is then able to consecrate his people (⇒ Hebrews
2:11); access to God is made possible by each of these two
consecrations. If Jesus is able to help human beings, it is because he has
become one of us; we are his "brothers." The author then cites three
Old Testament texts as proofs of this unity between ourselves and the Son.
⇒ Psalm 22:22 is interpreted so as to make Jesus
the singer of this lament, which ends with joyful praise of the Lord in the
assembly of "brothers." The other two texts are from
⇒ Isaiah 8:17, ⇒ 18. The
first of these seems intended to display in Jesus an example of the trust in
God that his followers should emulate. The second curiously calls these
followers "children"; probably this is to be understood to mean
children of Adam, but the point is our solidarity with Jesus. By sharing human
nature, including the ban of death, Jesus broke the power of the devil over
death (⇒ Hebrews 2:4); the author shares the view of
Hellenistic Judaism that death was not intended by God and that it had been
introduced into the world by the devil. The fear of death
(⇒ Hebrews 2:15) is a religious fear based on the
false conception that death marks the end of a person's relations with God (cf
⇒ Psalm 115:17-18; ⇒ Isaiah
38:18). Jesus deliberately allied himself with the descendants of
Abraham (⇒ Hebrews 2:16) in order to be a merciful
and faithful high priest. This is the first appearance of the central theme of
Hebrews, Jesus the great high priest expiating the sins of the people
(⇒ Hebrews 2:17), as one who experienced the same
tests as they (⇒ Hebrews 2:18).
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