Hebrewsby Robert M. Solomon
The second reason why Jesus had to be made fully human was in order to chart a new course for human history and individual lives.
Jesus is identified as the archēgos (translated as ″pioneer″ or ″author″; Hebrews 2:10). This great title is also used for Jesus elsewhere in Scripture (Acts 3:15; 5:31; Hebrews 12:2). It refers to one ″who brings something in order that others may enter into it″.8 The default story of every human being is a sad one. We are born into sin, we sin, and we are eternally condemned. Jesus became a trailblazer (″pathfinder″).9 Like us, He was born into this world as a child. But unlike us all, though He was tempted in every way, He did not sin (Hebrews 4:15, 7:26-28, 10:14). Unlike Adam and Eve, our forebears, who sinned at a tree in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:6-7), Jesus died on a tree to save us (Acts 5:30; 10:39).
Jesus, as the new Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45), traced the major milestones of human life and charted a new course for human beings. Those who believe in Him will share the new story of the new Adam: we are born, we die, but we will be resurrected and will ascend to the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6). It is in this way that Jesus is the Pioneer of our salvation. Strangely, the author says that Jesus had to be made ″perfect through what he suffered″ (Hebrews 2:10). Does this mean that He had to be ″improved″ through suffering? The answer is no because in the next verse (v. 11), he is differentiated (″the one who makes people holy″) from the rest of us (″those who are made holy″). Jesus did suffer for us on earth. In His sufferings, He shows that God is not a stranger to human suffering and perfectly identifies with His suffering creatures. Jesus is not made better by suffering, but we become better people because of suffering. For suffering ″produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope″ (Romans 5:3-4).
By suffering for and with us, Jesus saves us and shows His sympathy for our painful situation (Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:15-16; 5:7-10). He identifies with us (″of the same family″), calling us brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2:11; see Mark 3:35). The author quotes Psalm 22:22 (Hebrews 2:12) and Isaiah 8:17-18 (Hebrews 2:13) to reiterate his point.
8William Barclay, ″The Letter to the Hebrews″, in The Daily Study Bible (Edinburgh: St Andrews Press, 1992), 26.
9Bruce, Epistle to the Hebrews, 43.
What has Jesus done to change your story and destiny? Who did Jesus say are His brothers and sisters (Matthew 12:50)? What does it mean for Jesus to call you His brother or sister (v. 11)? What changes do you need to make in the light of your reflections?
How are we perfected through suffering? When we suffer, how can we follow in the steps of Jesus (1 Peter 2:21) and draw inspiration and comfort from Him?