Messianic Jews 2:14-18
Letter to the Messianic Jews
In my last post, we continued to learn about Yeshua, the Son of Man ~ Part 3 in Messianic Jews 2:10-13. That passage concerned Yeshua’s identity as a real man. In this post, we continue to explore Messianic Jews 2:14-18 ~ Yeshua, the Son of Man ~ Part 4. This passage concerns Yeshua as humanities true sacrifice.
“14 Therefore, since the children share a common physical nature as human beings, He became like them and shared that same human nature; so that by His death He might render ineffective the one who had power over death (that is, the Adversary) 15 and thus set free those who had been in bondage all their lives because of their fear of death. 16 Indeed, it is obvious that He does not take hold of angels to help them; on the contrary, ‘He takes hold of the seed of Avraham.’ 17 This is why He had to become like His brothers in every respect — so that He might become a merciful and faithful cohen gadol in the service of God, making a kapparah for the sins of the people. 18 For since He himself suffered death when He was put to the test, He is able to help those who are being tested now.’” ~ Hebrews 2:14-18 (CJB)
Verse 14 explicitly analyzes the Messiah’s work in taking on Himself the nature of humanity (compare Philippians 2:6-8). “For the Messiah Himself died for sins, a righteous person on behalf of unrighteous people, so that he might bring you to God” ~ 1 Kefa 3:18. By doing this He tricked the one who had power over death (that is, the Adversary), as explained in Matthew 4:1-11. For Satan has the capability of causing death but has no right to inflict it on someone who resists his temptations and does not sin (Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:14-16; Matthew 4:1-11), because death is the punishment for sin (Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12-21). Does that mean Yeshua render Satan ineffective? Not entirely, yet. Although Satan continues to exercise power, his days are numbered, and he will ultimately be destroyed (see Luke 10:18; Revelation 12:9; 20:2, 10).
As Believers, we should have no fear of death. We should know in our knower, our ultimate destination. Personally, I have no fear of death and admit at my age; I find myself more and more looking forward to it. However, I am concerned about the method of my demise. Going to sleep and not waking up is my preferred method of choice.
Yeshua did not take hold of angels to help them because angels cannot die. He takes hold of not human beings generally but the seed of Avraham, because Jews, of all humanity, have in the Torah the most stringent conditions to fulfill in order not to sin and by not sinning escape death. If Yeshua could live as a Jew according to the Torah without committing any sin, so that He would not have earned the death penalty, He would deliver Jews from death and Gentiles (see Romans 11) as well.
Yeshua had to be made exactly like those to be rescued from death so that He would fully know and empathize with our experience and thereby, as our cohen gadol, be able to be entirely merciful and faithful, making a kapparah (atonement) for the sins of the people. The Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 53:12 predicted this seven hundred years in advance and also makes the best commentary: it is precisely because he “poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors” ~ Isaiah 53:12 (ESV).
The majority of the mitzvot outlined in the written Torah deal with the sacrificial system, including the cahanut (priesthood), in which all the cohanim (priests) and the cohen hagadol were members of the tribe of Levi. Thus it is astounding, indeed revolutionary, to find that Yeshua, the Son of David, from the tribe of Judah, is spoken of as our cohen gadol. Much of the rest of the letter is occupied with explaining how this can be and why it is necessary.
How has God enabled Yeshua to become humanities true sacrifice? Making a kapparah for the sins of the people in the Tanakh required the animal sacrifice to be unblemished (see Leviticus 11:3). So, then, what the writer to the Messianic Jews is saying is that through suffering Yeshua was made fully able for the task of being the pioneer of our ultimate salvation.
Why should that be? Barclay explains it this way: 
- It was through his sufferings that he was really identified with men.
- Through this identity, Jesus Christ sympathizes with man.
- Because he sympathizes Jesus can really help. He has met our sorrows; he has faced our temptations. As a result, he knows exactly what help we need; and he can give it.
In my next post, we’ll explore Yeshua as better than Moshe as a servant in Messianic Jews 3:1-6.
 Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT) by William Barclay.