But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels1 for the suffering of death2, crowned with glory and honour3; that he by the grace of God should taste death4 for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things5, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory6, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
- 1 Heb 2:7, Ps 8:5
- 2 Phil 2:8
- 3 Phil 2:8-9, Eph 1:20-23
- 4 Matt 16:28, John 8:52
- 5 Pr 16:4, Rev 4:11, Rom 11:36
- 6 John 17:22, 1 Pet 3:18
we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels…
- Preceding verses (1:4-14, 2:5-9) spoke of infinite superiority of Christ above angels. Here we see Him voluntarily “made” lower than the angels. Why? “For the suffering of death”.
- The one who created angels (Heb 1:2) is made to be lower than them
- “How these words should melt our hearts and move our souls to profoundest wonderment! (Pink)
- “Little” (βρᾰχύς); According to LSJ, βρᾰχύς can mean small time, short distance, small size, small in number, low importance, or humble.
- Author uses the word in 13:22 to mean “few words”
- Pink believes lower here means not “a little lower” than the angels in stature, but rather “made lower for a short time”, but I cannot find a translation that takes this approach
- This makes good sense, but Psalm 2:5, which this verse quotes, does not seem to mean “short time”, but rather “lower in stature”
- Thayer’s Lexicon supports Pink – “the writer transfers to time what the Sept. in Psalm 8:6 says of rank” as in Acts 5:34 and Luke 22:58
- Pulpit commentary – The phrase βραχύ τι, where it occurs in this verse with reference to Christ’s temporary humiliation, is by many taken to mean “for a little while,” on the ground that this meaning suits best the application to Christ, [but] … if “a little” be, as it seems to be, the original meaning in the psalm [Ps 2:5], there is no necessity for supposing a departure from it.
…for the suffering of death…
- The sinless Christ was not ‘subject’ to death, so He laid down His own life in suffering (John 10:18)
- In the incarnation, Christ took on the nature of mortal man and subjected himself to death. As angels were not capable of dying, Christ was for a time lower than they.
- Phil 2:8 – And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
…crowned with glory and honour…
- Because of His humiliation, He has been highly exalted by God the Father (in His resurrection)
- Phil 2:8-9
- Eph 1:20-23
- The “crown of thorns” has given way to the crown of “glory and honor”
Have you “crowned with glory and honor” Him whom the world has cast out? Do you, in a practical way, own Him as your Lord and Master? Is His glory and honor ever the paramount consideration before you? Is He receiving from you the devotion and adoration of a worshipping heart? “Worthy is the Lamb.” O may He, indeed, occupy the throne of our hearts and reign as King over our lives. In what esteem does the Father hold His once humiliated Son: He has crowned Him with glory and honor; then what must He yet do with those who “despise and reject” Him?
…that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
- that (ὅπως) means “so that”, “to the end that”, etc. What follows ὅπως expresses purpose.
- “by the grace of God” – the efficient cause that moved the Son to suffer was solely the free grace and mercy of God
- Christ had to “taste” the bitter cup of suffering – Matt 26:39
- “taste death” – According to Gill this is a common Jewish phrase for death, see Matt 16:28 and John 8:52
- “for every man” – the Greek word is πᾶς which has the following range of meanings (according to Thayer’s Lexicon) – each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything
- The “all” is not defined by the original text. “All men” is an interpretation.
- The next verse clarifies the “all” here to be the “many sons” who are brought to glory
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things…
- became (πρέπω). Meaning is seemly or fit. ESV uses “fitting”.
- God is the Creator AND Sustainer of “all” things
- Everything was created by Him, is sustained through Him, and exists for His glory
- See: Pr 16:4, Rev 4:11, Rom 11:36
…bringing many sons unto glory…
- Christ will bring “many” sons into His own amazing glory
- “the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one (John 17:22)
- “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God…” (1 Pet 3:18)
…captain of their salvation…
- Captain (ἀρχηγός). According to LSJ: leader, chief, prince, originator
- Various translations use: pioneer, leader, founder, author, source
- See Acts 3:15, 5:31, Heb 12:22
In closing, let us ask the reader, “Are you one of these many “sons” whom Christ is bringing “unto glory”? Are you quite sure that you are? It is written, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). Is this true of you? Can others see the evidences of it? Is your daily life controlled by self-will, the ways of the world, the pleasing of your friends and relatives, or by the written Word, for that is what the Spirit uses in leading His sons.