Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Messiah: Fulfillment of the promise.Hebrew 1: 1-12
Verse: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Hebrews 1:3
In the first century, some Jews believed in Jesus as the Messiah and yet still wanted all the rituals of Judaism. The boundaries between Christianity and Judaism weren’t clear, and these people weren’t sure where their primary identity was. This letter, for the most part, is written to Jewish people who have heard the gospel, and believed in Jesus as the Messiah, but keep running back to the law for forgiveness. Some are trying to hold on to both the old and the new, but the author shows us we only get one covenant. It is Jesus who gives us access to God.
Here, in the first sentence of this portion, there is a contrast between old and new. God spoke to the patriarchs in many ways — some things to one person, something else to another, a different portion to someone else many years later, etc. God would sometimes speak in a thundering voice, sometimes in a whisper, and sometimes in a vision. Some Jews might have felt honored that God had dealt with their nation in many different ways, but the problem is that none of the methods or none of the prophets had the whole message, and none of the visions revealed everything we need to know.
That is in contrast to the way that God has spoken in his Son. Jesus is not a prophet — he is a Son, and as a Son he has a complete revelation of what God wants to reveal. This is definitive. The prophets could only dimly foresee the day of Jesus Christ, but he is the fulfillment of what they said. God has spoken to us in his Son.
Verse 2 tells us that God appointed him “heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds.” He was appointed heir even before anything existed. He is the Creator and the owner of the universe. Not only that, “He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word” (verse 3). Unbelievers might think it blasphemous to say that these things. When we look at him, we see God’s glory, and he is the exact representation of his nature, and he is so powerful that he can sustain the universe simply by speaking a word.
If you want your sins to be forgiven, to be purified, then you need to pay attention to Jesus, because he provides the way for us. He is with God, and he carries far more authority than the prophets do, because they had only part of the truth. What the prophets wrote was true, but it was only part of what we need. Now we have Jesus, and in him, we have all that we need.
Hebrews begins by celebrating Jesus and comparing Him with Angels: “having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” As the Son of God, he is by nature superior to the angels, who are messenger servants of God.
Jews in the first century had a lot of respect for angels. They speculated about them and even assigned them a role in giving the law at Mt. Sinai (Gal. 3:19). Some gave the angels too much honor (Colossians 2:18). Angels were considered administrators of God’s will and the agents of his power throughout the universe, like in Daniel 10. The author of Hebrews leverages their respect for angels to proclaim the worth of Jesus Christ. They are amazing. They are special in their task, Yet Jesus is greater. Jesus is much superior to angels. Everything you think is special and awe-striking about angels is nothing when put in the light of the Son. The Son is vastly superior to angels. Verses 4-14 can be summerised as how Jesus is greater by who he is.
Jesus is better than angels, because he is the Divine Prophet.
Jesus is better than angels, because he is the Divine Priest.
Jesus is better than angels, because he is the Divine King.
Now what does all of this have to do with anything for us today? There are a couple of points we need to consider. First, think about how easy it is that we can read these verses and allow our hearts and our eyes to glaze over. But do we see what the author is doing? Do not fail to see the superiority of Jesus? Do not fail to be in awe of Jesus. Familiarity breeds contempt is a saying that we have and that saying is often true. We lose awe for Jesus. The power of the scriptures lose awe within us so that we would rather spend our time doing nearly anything but reading the scriptures. We lose awe about prayer that we are talking to the Lord himself so that we fail to pray at all in our lives. Notice that this is exactly the warning the author gives.
We are seeing who Jesus is and the problems of our lives that he came to solve. Jesus is opening our ears and freeing our lives from sin and we need to see that. We need to pay careful attention to Jesus in our lives. So look and consider if you have Jesus in your sight. Nothing is greater than Jesus, not the angels and surely not anything else that we hold dear. Those things might be good, but they are not required. Only believing in the gospel is required. Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the dead are the only things that solve the sin problem and give us new life. Because Jesus solved the sin problem, he is greater than all things. See how great he is and love him above all else.
Holy and faithful God, thank you for keeping your promises and sending Jesus. Thank you for taking care of your people at all times. Your faithfulness to your word gives me assurance that you will send Jesus back to bring victory to all of your people, just as you have promised. In Jesus name. Amen.
Thought of the Day
“All the promises of the prophets were carried on the shoulders of the one born in Bethlehem, And he fulfilled them all” - Paul David Tripp
Dr.JohnK.Thomas Tabor MTC