Today, read Hebrews 2.
Yesterday’s reading in chapter 1 emphasized to us that Christ is superior to angels. Like, really superior--he’s the Son, they are just servant-messengers.
That does not mean, however, that angels are unimportant. Far from it; the end of chapter 1 said they are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (1:14). Today’s reading in chapter 2 picked up on that truth and told us to be careful not to drift away from Christ. Verse 2 of chapter 2 told us why we should be careful not to drift away: Angels may not be as great as Jesus, but look at the kind of judgment people faced when they ignored the message angels brought. [Think here of Sodom and Gomorrah.] So verse 3 told us, if God punished people who disobeyed the message of angels, what will he do to those who ignored the salvation that Jesus taught us about? Right; he’ll punish us with even greater severity.
Verses 3b-4 told us that the message Jesus taught was also validated by “those who heard him” (aka, the Apostles) and “signs, wonders, and various miracles and gift of the Holy Spirit.” In other words, the gospel is not a made-up idea and the threat of punishment for ignoring the gospel is not empty. Instead, God provided plenty of proof that Jesus’ message was valid; that proof consisted of the eyewitnesses of his life and teaching and the miracles Jesus did to authenticate his message.
Beyond the threat of punishment, though, there is great blessing for those who do believe the gospel and follow Jesus Christ. Verses 5-8 tells us that God is going to make rulers in the world to come out of those who believe the gospel in this world. Although it hasn’t happened yet, Jesus provides the evidence that God will bless us. This evidence is described in verse 9; Jesus was humiliated to death on our behalf, but now has been raised to glory and honor.
Speaking of Christ’s humiliation, the author of Hebrews wants us to know that everything Jesus suffered was to bring us into God’s family. And, despite our sins and rebellion against God, “Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters” (v. 11). His willingness to call us his brothers and sisters stems not from anything we did to become worthy; it comes from his atonement for us on the cross (v. 9, 14, 17-18).
So don’t turn away from Jesus. Even if the cost becomes high and we experience persecution for Christ, don’t turn away from him. Turning away from him means eternal punishment but trusting him means enjoying the acceptance and fellowship of being Christ’s family as well as the promise that we will reign with him in his kingdom. It is true that following Christ can be painful and costly in this life but that cost is so temporary and so cheap compared to what Christ did to redeem us and compared to all that he offers us in him.
So don’t be discouraged today if your faith costs you something in this life. Instead, let that cost strengthen your faith in Jesus because of the promises he’s made to us.