Hebrews 2:5-9 - Jesus Is Greater Than The Angels

Let me tell you about something that happened to me when I was in High School. I had heard that there was a group of girls that were going to have a sleepover and one of the things that they were going to do for fun was to come to my home and toilet paper my yard. When I heard this I invited some of my friends to my house and we decided that we would hide out in the yard and wait for the action to take place.

We had to wait longer than we wanted to for them to show up. In fact, we almost went inside but then we saw a car so we hid out of sight. The car stopped near my home and the young ladies got out with rolls of toilet paper in hand. Right before they began to start we came running out and foiled their mischievous plot.

All the guys were happy that we had spoiled their fun night. We celebrated in front of them for having outwitted them. After they drove off we went inside my house and bragged about how smart we were. The next morning, however, we came out and discovered that the girls had returned and finished the job that they had set out to do the first time. The yard was a mess and the young ladies had the last laugh.

I mention this story to make a point. In our text the author of Hebrews is going to make sure that his readers are not going to be misled, or continue to be confused, about how Jesus is superior to angels.

Even though the author has already spent quite a bit of time in Hebrews 1 making an argument that the Eternal Son of God is greater than the angels, he is not ready to pack up his pen and paper just yet. He knows that if he does not take time to say more about this then there would be an opportunity for the false teachers to come in and lead them away or for doctrinal confusion to persist within this congregation. If this were to happen these things would come back and make a mess of their lives.

In Hebrews 1 we saw that the author often asked questions to direct his argument and to make his points. He began in Hebrews 1:5 by asking two questions. He asks, “For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’?” Then he asks to which of the angels did God ever say, “I will be to Him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? The clear answer to these questions is that the Father never said these things to the angels. The Father only said this to His Son.

Then at the end of Hebrews 1 he asks two more questions. He asks, “And to which of the angels has He ever said, ‘Sit at My right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet?’” And he asked, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

In Hebrews 2:1-4 the author asked another question which also brought a warning that the hearers needed to respond too in obedient faith. He says, “We must pay closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?

One might think that at this point the author had spoken enough about angels so we might expect him to pack up his pen and paper and move on to some other topic; but that is not what he does. He knows that there are some questions that could arise that may continue to cause these believers problems. He does not state these questions out loud like he has done previously but they are clearly on His mind as he continues this discussion.

  • He knows that they may ask, “How can Jesus be greater than angels if he was a man like us?” Therefore, in Hebrews 2:5-13 he argues that Jesus, when He appeared in the flesh was still greater than the angels.

  • He also knows that there are some who may wonder, “How Jesus can be greater than the angels when He was publicly humiliated and died on a Roman cross?” Therefore, in Hebrews 2:14-18 he defends Jesus in His suffering and death as being greater than the angels. In fact, when these things happened to Jesus He was redeeming His people, destroying death and delivering them from the power of the devil.

Only after addressing these things, that Jesus was the Son of God (1:2,5) and the Son of Man (2:6), can he then discuss how Jesus is a faithful apostle and high priest of our confession (3:1). And how Jesus Christ is our confidence, our boasting and our hope (3:6