After discussing at great lengths the importance of Jesus, His person and work, the author of Hebrews begins chapter 2 with a connection with what he’s already said in the first chapter. He’s demonstrating that Jesus is superior to prophets, to angels, and to all creation. Well, what should that mean to us? Hebrews 2:1 begins, “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” What does it mean to pay “closer attention?” The BKC on Hebrews says, “The truth he had just enunciated has important implications. The therefore shows that this admonition arose directly from the preceding material. Since the Son is so supremely great and is destined for final triumph over His enemies, the readers would do well to pay more careful attention to these realities.”[1]

What is the content of “what we have heard?” It’s got to be the good news about Jesus Christ. The message that was spread by Paul and the other apostles!  It’s the good news about the appearance of the Messiah of the Old Testament in the person of Jesus of Nazareth who made purification for our sins (Hebrews 1:3).  Our focus should be on Jesus. Even the Old Testament prophets spoke about Jesus. Focus our attention on that. The Angels are all about Jesus. We should learn about Jesus from the conduct and activity of the Angels. The whole world was created, choreographed, and is being sustained by Jesus. It’s all about Him. The God of love is revealed to us through all creation and all the records of the law and the prophets. Ultimately, His love for all mankind is fully demonstrated on Calvary. Romans 5:8, says, “But God demonstrated His love for us in this; while we were yet sinner Christ died for us.” God’s love for us should get our more diligent attention.

Why should we keep our focus on Jesus? Because everything around us tries to distract us! Like Peter walking on the water, as long as he had his eyes on Jesus, he was fine. But when he took his eyes off of Jesus and put them on the situation around him, the waves and the wind, he began to sink. The Handbook for Translators says about this phrase “drift away”, “In secular Greek it is sometimes used to describe a ship drifting away.” It quotes Barkley who says, “Otherwise, we may well be like a ship which drifts past the harbor to shipwreck.”[2] In religious circles, it’s often easy to lose our focus on the gospel and the person of Jesus. Instead of focusing on Him, we look to religious rituals, regulations, and disciplines to save us. It’s not that we deny the truth of Christ, but we live as if it doesn’t matter. We are more concerned about what we do than what He did for us. Paul was disturbed by the Galatians who had drifted away from Jesus and slipped back into a life of religious obligations and observations. Some were preaching good works instead of faith in Jesus, as the basis for life. It’s in this passage that Paul brings up angels. He says, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” Don’t drift into a focus on good works rather than on Jesus!

[1] Zane C. Hodges, “Hebrews,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 783.

[2] Paul Ellingworth and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on the Letter to the Hebrews, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1994), 27.