The Founder of Salvation
“For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Heb. 2:10).
One theme we see over and over again in the Bible is the idea that suffering brings honor and glory. Joseph, for example, suffered through many years of dishonor and imprisonment before rising to a place of honor in the court of Pharaoh. Likewise, Daniel faced scorn and a death sentence for refusing to bow to the pagan customs of the Persian Empire but later achieved honor as a prophet in the history of redemption. This should not be surprising because, as we have seen in the book of Hebrews, much of Jesus’ own glory has come as a result of His suffering.
But the author of Hebrews does not merely observe that the suffering of Jesus brings Him glory and honor (2:9), He also makes the judgment that this sequence of events is right and proper. It is fitting that God, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering (v. 10).
This verse is both wonderful and troublesome. It is wonderful because we are told that God is going to bring many sons to glory. This is a marvelous hope. God is not only going to absolve us for our sins and grant us eternal life, He is also going to bring us to glory. We are going to become radiant reflections of God Himself. We are going to be glorified.
This verse is troublesome, at least initially, because it says that Jesus, the founder of our salvation, is made perfect through suffering. Jesus will be “made perfect”? What can this possibly mean? Does it mean that Christ possesses some lack or sin? The answer is no. The Bible is clear that Jesus does not possess any kind of blemish or sinful defect (1 Peter 2:21–22). What then is the author telling us when he writes this verse? The word translated “perfect” in many of our English translations can also mean “set apart for an office,” and this is what it means here. It is fitting that Christ, in bringing many sons to glory, be set apart for an office by His suffering.
But which office is Christ made perfect, or set apart, for? Hebrews 5:9–10 makes it clear that Christ’s suffering sets Him apart for His office as High Priest. This flows from the fact that the suffering of Christ is the sacrifice for our sins. Here in chapter 2 our author hints at Jesus’s role as our Great High Priest.
The Bible teaches us that Jesus is our Prophet, Priest, and King. Sadly, many do not confess Christ because they do not understand that a suffering priest is required for their redemption. Reflect on Jesus’ priestly suffering and ask the Holy Spirit to make you continually aware of your need for this work.
Passages for Further Study
- Deut. 30:1–3
- Isa. 53:4–6
- Matt. 16:21–23
- 1 Tim. 2:5–6
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