Unity of the Sanctified
From Gospel Translations
“For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers” (Heb. 2:11).
- Hebrews 2:11–13
The preceding verses inform us that Christ receives glory because of His suffering and that this suffering sets Him apart as our High Priest. Having established this, the author of Hebrews now goes on to describe the identification of the Great High Priest with His people.
“He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin” (2:11). According to the context, the one who sanctifies is Jesus and those who are sanctified are His disciples. The one origin of which the author speaks cannot be referring to a divine origin since Christ is by nature deity and we are not. Rather, the author is referring to something that happened at the Incarnation. In the Incarnation, Christ took on a human nature and now possesses all of our humanity. All that Jesus lacks is sin, but that does not make Him less than human because sin is not an inherent part of human nature as originally created.
In order to prove that Christ shares our common human nature, Hebrews quotes from two Old Testament passages. Verse 12 cites Psalm 22:22. This is the Psalm that Jesus quoted as He suffered on the cross. It is a messianic Psalm, expressing the hope that God would rescue the sufferer. The Psalmist declares that he will praise God among his brothers. By applying this text to Himself, Jesus makes Himself one with the nature and situation of His people. The author of Hebrews rightly cites it to show that Jesus shares our humanity.
The quotations we find in Hebrews 2:13 are taken from Isaiah 8:17–18, another well known messianic passage in New Testament times. Isaiah 8:17 describes the trust that Isaiah had to have in Yahweh because the people of His day ignored his prophetic warnings. John Owen tells us that Christ had this same trust (Heb. 2:13) only because He shares our human nature with all of its “needs and troubles.” Isaiah 8:18 is also quoted in Hebrews 2:13. In the face of national apostasy, Isaiah and his sons, both faithful to God, were signs of judgment to the nation of Israel. Likewise, Jesus and those who follow Him as sons, both faithful to God, are also signs of judgment on a faithless world (1 Cor. 1:21–25).
The Hebrew Scriptures look to a Messiah who is both fully God and fully human. In the coming days, we will see the benefits that come from having a Messiah who shares in our humanity.
The Bible tells us that Christ is at the same time both fully God and fully man. Though we cannot explain how this is so, it is unspeakably awesome that the Lord of the Universe did not think it beneath Himself to take on a human nature. In prayer, thank Jesus for sharing in our frailty that we might one day share in His glory.
Passages for Further Study