Chapter 2 begins with a reminder to pay attention to what we have been taught so that we do not wander away from it.
Following the discussion in chapter 1 about the angels being God’s messengers, verse 2 reminds us of their role in bringing His message and the dangers of ignoring it.
The message given to our ancestors by the angels was shown to be true, and all who did not follow it or obey it received the punishment they deserved (v2)
The NIV version describes this as being binding, with every violation or disobedience receiving its punishment. This is referring to the law given to Moses.
Verse 3 gives an even stronger warning in saying that the message of salvation brought through Jesus is greater than that given by the law, and that if we ignore it the punishment is even greater.
How then shall we escape if we pay no attention to such a great salvation? The Lord himself first announced this salvation, and those who heard him proved to us that it is true.
This message was confirmed by the signs and wonders performed by Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Disciples.
Jesus said in Matthew 5 v 17;
Do not think that I have come to do away with the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets. I have not come to do away with them but to make their teachings come true.
The writer then goes on to discuss our role and position in comparison to the angels saying that they are not the rulers in the age to come
What are human beings, O God, that you should think of them; mere human beings, that you should care for them?
You made them for a little while lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honour and made them rulers over all things (v6-8 & Psalm 8 v 4-6)
Gods purpose from the beginning was that man should be sovereign over the creatures of the earth (Genesis 1 v 27-28) but that was destroyed by Adam’s disobedience (Genesis 3) with the penalty being death.
We humans are not ruling now but:
We do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels (referring to his time as a human being) so that though God’s grace he should die for everyone. We see him now crowned with glory and honour because of the death he suffered (v9)
We see in verses 12 to 14 how Jesus is then proud to call us his own. The NIV version refers to us as his brothers (and sisters) as God has made us his children though the work Jesus did and destroyed the Devil’s power over death.
Since the children, as he calls them, are people of flesh and blood, Jesus himself became like them and shared their human nature. He did this so that through his death he might destroy the Devil who has the power over death, and in this way set free those who were slaves all their lives because of their fear of death. (v 14 – 15)
The angels didn’t need help (v16) but it was the descendants of Abraham. Jesus had to become like us to be able to be our high priest (and as we saw in Philemon our intercessor) and pay the penalty required.
He is able to help us via the Holy Spirit because he himself suffered and was tempted.
So: obedience to the law is not enough. We have to accept the salvation offered though Jesus to be able to receive our forgiveness and then take our place in God’s kingdom
Quotes from Good News Bible