Another reason why Jesus adopted our human nature and lived among us was that He could be our example, the only one who could model for us what is the right way to live before God.

In Hebrews 12:1–4, Jesus is the culmination of a long list of characters whom the apostle provides as exemplars of faith. This passage calls Jesus “the founder and perfecter of our faith” (ESV). The Greek word archegos (“founder”) can also be translated “pioneer.” Jesus is the pioneer of the race in the sense that He runs ahead of the believers. In fact, Hebrews 6:20 calls Jesus our “forerunner.” The word perfecter gives the idea that Jesus had displayed faith in God in the purest form possible. This passage teaches both that Jesus is the first one to have run our race with success and that He is the one who perfected the art of what living by faith is all about.

Hebrews 2:13 reads: “And again: ‘I will put My trust in Him.’ And again: ‘Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.’ ” (NKJV). What’s happening here is that Jesus said He would put His trust in God. This reference is an allusion to Isaiah 8:17, 18.

Isaiah spoke these words in the face of a terrible threat of invasion from Northern Israel and Syria (Isa. 7:1, 2). His faith contrasted the lack of faith of Ahaz, the king (2 Kings 16:5–18). God had exhorted Ahaz to trust in Him and to ask for a sign that He would deliver him (Isa. 7:1–11). God had already promised him, as a son of David, that He would protect Ahaz as His own son. Now, God graciously offered to confirm that promise with a sign. Ahaz, however, refused to ask for a sign and, instead, sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son” (2 Kings 16:7, NKJV). How sad! Ahaz preferred being “son” of Tiglath-pileser than the son of God.

Jesus, however, put His trust in God and in His promise that He will put His enemies under His feet (Heb. 1:13; 10:12, 13). God has made the same promise to us, and we need to believe Him, just as Jesus did (Rom. 16:20).

Hebrews 2:13 contains the words of Jesus to His Father talking about His brethren: “Here am I and the children whom God has given Me” (Heb. 2:13, NKJV). Patrick Gray suggests that Jesus is described here as the guardian of His brothers. The Roman system of tutela impuberum determined that at their father’s death, “a tutor, often an older brother, became responsible for the care of minor children and their inheritance until they reached the age of majority, thus heightening the older brother’s natural duty to take care of his younger siblings.” (The Epistle to the Hebrews and Greco-Roman Critiques of Superstition (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2003), 126.) This explains why Hebrews refers to us both as the siblings of Jesus as well as His children. As our older brother, Jesus is our tutor, guardian, and protector.