Why Greek Matters (Part 8) – Leading Many Sons and Daughters to Glory

Hebrews 2:10 – For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons (and daughters) to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. (ESV)

What picture does the idea of Jesus “bringing many to glory” conjure in your mind? Perhaps you see yourself in the bottom of a pit, stuck and helpless. Jesus standing at the top of the pit, reaches down and pulls you out. Or perhaps we could use by analogy the common way of saying someone “brought me into their office/house/etc.” If we follow these examples, we are in one place (which incidentally, is a pretty bad place), while Jesus is in another (a good place). Thus in saving us, Jesus brings us from the place we are to a different place. The focus of the movement is us. We are the ones who are brought from one place to another. Jesus does not move. His position is relatively static and motionless.

In this verse, the word “bringing” could also be translated “leading” (from the word ἄγω, agō). Jesus leads many sons and daughters to glory. Rather than standing at the top of a pit and pulling us out, Jesus is shown as the one who fully enters into our situation and leads the way out. Jesus, because we as humans share flesh and blood, he also partook of them (Heb. 2:14). But his entrance into our situation was not limited to physicality itself, but all the weakness and frailty that comes with being made of “flesh.” Jesus experienced suffering and temptation (Heb. 2:18), which undoubtedly had physical, mental, and emotional dimensions.

Not only does Jesus come down and fully share our experience, he goes ahead of us to lead us into our future. He is our forerunner (Heb. 6:20), the one who runs ahead as a precursor or predecessor. He is leading us to “glory,” a term which has already been used twice in the previous few verses, first to describe the exalted state God intended for every human being in creation (Heb. 2:7), and second, to describe the exalted state Jesus possesses in his resurrection and ascension (Heb. 2:9). In being raised from the dead and seated at God’s right hand, Jesus became something as a human being, that was originally purposed for all human beings to share.

As Jesus overcomes the pangs of death, bursts the bonds of decay, and ascends to a place as God’s vice-regent over the entire created order, he treads a path we are all meant to follow. He is leading us to glory. As the image of God so gloriously endowed to the human race has been so corrupted and muddled by a long history of violence, hatred, exploitation, and death, Jesus embodies within himself, the full restoration of that image, the full liberation from its debilitating corruption. He escapes the tyranny of sin and death, and becomes an agent of God’s gracious and life-giving rulership on Earth. In such, he beckons us to follow him into the future we are meant to share with him. Charles Wesley captures this so well in one my favorite hymns, as he echoes this invitation:

Soar we now where Christ has led // Following our exalted head // Made like him, like him we rise // Ours the cross, the grave, the skies!

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