Jesus set aside the glory that was His in eternity past when He took on the nature of a man. During His time on earth as a man, Jesus was somehow reduced to a status below the angels just as sinful humanity was less than the angels. But Jesus was sinless, representing the second Adam who was the person that God originally designed us all to be. Even in the flesh, Jesus exercised dominion over angels, both good and fallen. He controlled the seas. He controlled sicknesses and even had dominion over death. As Hebrews 2:7-9 says, God left nothing outside of Jesus’ control: “You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet. Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”

As it was mentioned in the first chapter, Jesus is now at the highest place in Glory at the right hand of the Father waiting the day when God will put all His enemies under His feet. He exercised dominion over all things while on earth, but His own people rejected His kingdom according to plan so that you and I might share in His glory. Paul writes in Philippians 3:20-21, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” Through His death, He paved the way for our redemption from the consequences of our sin and opened the gates of heaven for us all through faith alone: “not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

We should pay closer attention to Jesus than to the angels because He died for our sins. They didn’t and they couldn’t. As Brown points out, “Death was the terrifying problem of the ancient world and if Jesus was to be really and truly ‘like his brethren’ (2:17), he had to go through its grim experience. The angels could not feel these pangs of human desolation. Death was unknown to them.”[1] Please note that Jesus’ death was “by the Grace of God.” This is how one commentary describes this: “The grace of God is equivalent to the love of God (by analogy to Rom. 5:15; 2 Cor. 8:9; Gal. 2:20–21; Eph. 1:7; 2:5, 8; Titus 2:11; 3:7). In the words of John Calvin, ‘The cause of redemption was the infinite love of God towards us, through which it was that he spared not even his own son.’”[2] Again, sinking our roots into God’s love for us as expressed on Calvary is what will change our lives, not trying harder!

[1] Raymond Brown, The Message of Hebrews: Christ above All, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 56–57.

[2] Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, Exposition of Hebrews, vol. 15, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 68.