5For [God] did not subject to angels the coming world, concerning which we are speaking, 6but He testifies where someone is saying, “What is man, that you remember him, or the son of man, that you look upon him. 7You made him, for a little while, lower than angels, you crowned him with glory and honor, 8you subjected all things underneath his feet.” For when he subjects all things to him, He leaves nothing un-subjected to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. 9But we see Jesus, for a little while having been made lower than angels, because of the suffering of death, having been crowned with glory and honor so that, by the grace of God, he might taste death on behalf of everyone. 10For it was fitting for him, on account of whom are all things and through whom are all things, having led many sons [and daughters] into glory, to perfect the pioneer of their salvation through sufferings. 11For the one sanctifying and the ones being sanctified are all from one. Because of this he is not ashamed to call them brothers [and sisters]. Hebrews 2:5-11
The writer of the book of Hebrews is quoting from Psalm 8 here, a song of wonder and celebration looking back to the creation and expressing the awe due the Creator regarding how God made the human to be just a little lower than the heavenly beings. But the writer of Hebrews emphasizes more than just a positional aspect of comparison between humans and angels: a little lower than. He also emphasizes the temporal aspect: for a little while. According to Hebrews 2:7, God made humans ‘for a little while’ lower than angels, and according to the context (2:5), the coming world (literally the ‘about-to-be realm’) is subjected to humanity and not angels. Psalm 8 has been transformed by the writer of Hebrews from a reflection on creation to a vision of the about-to-be realm because of and through Jesus.
The passage clearly declares that, “[right] now we do not yet see all things subjected to [the human]” (2:8) “but we see Jesus,” who was made lower than angels for a little while and crowned with glory and honor (2:9), just as God originally intended for the human in this creation. It is apparent that Jesus IS the human we were created to be, sharing fully in the human experience, including the suffering of death and having been crowned with glory and honor. Jesus has become the human we were meant to be, even in this fallen creation with the suffering of death. Not only did Jesus, as Son of God (1:2a), fulfill God’s intention for humanity, but he is also called “the pioneer of the salvation of many sons [and daughters]” who are led into glory (2:10), and he is referred to as the One who is sanctifying his brothers and sisters, those who are continually being made holy (2:11).
As you read through the rest of Hebrews you find that Jesus is our great high priest who offers himself as a sacrifice for sin, once for all (10:10), with his own blood by which sanctifies (10:14, 29; 13:12). His is the sacrifice that doesn’t just cover over sins, like that of bulls and goats (10:4), but his blood removes them (9:26). Jesus both takes away sins and establishes the way of holiness we are to live, a way that leads into glory, the destiny God intended for humanity going back to Genesis 1.
Jesus is referred to as our pioneer, the pioneer of the salvation of many sons and daughters of God (2:10), and the pioneer and perfecter of the faith (12:2). Jesus is the one who reaches the goal to which the pathway of faith leads. Jesus is the one who brings faith to the intended destination, the glory and honor of the about-to-be realm which is subjected to the sons and daughters of God. Jesus’ sacrifice sets us free (9:22; 10:18), but his pioneering work is established to lead us to follow him into glory, the realm for which we were created in the beginning, the pathway of freedom called holiness!
Dr. Rick Boyd