I’ve just started a new study on the book of Hebrews and thought I’d share my thoughts as I journey through this.
“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 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 1:1-3 NIV
The epistle to the Hebrews starts off dramatically and in just one short paragraph the writer dares us to read further as he states that the Son of God is creator, heir and sustainer of all things and the full manifestation of God.
Unlike in Paul’s other epistles, there are no greetings, indication of the writer’s name or good wishes given at the beginning. Hebrews seems to be written more like a sermon than a letter. The author’s purpose is clearly to draw us back to Christ and remind us of the temptations and pressures of following other voices (even spiritual ones) and therefore serving more than one master. First, there were the prophets, God’s ancient spokesmen, then angels, Israel’s guardians, then Israel’s leader Moses followed by Joshua and finally Aaron, the founder of Israel’s priesthood. Each of these voices needed to be heard and brough truth, yet they all were inadequate if it stopped there. Jesus eclipsed all of these and we should be careful not to diminish you Christ really is- more than just a leader and great teacher.
Jesus’ superiority to all prophets is shown in six ways here. First, he is the Son. God’s word through His son is final and complete. Second, the Son is the creator and heir of all things. Creation’s beginning and end are the boundaries of time, yet Jesus stands at both end of the future and the past. Third, the Son shares fully in divine nature. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory. Radiance is light that comes from the source of light. Next, the Son is the master of the universe, sustaining all things by His powerful word. This seems to express movement and progress towards an appointed end. Fifth, Jesus accomplished something no one else did or ever could “After he had provided purification for sins“- the picture of the cross.Lastly, Jesus has supreme honor by being given the seat at the right hand of the father. There’s a reference here to Psalm 110 “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”
In regards to my earlier note that Jesus is greater than the angels, Angels played a very powerful role in Israel’s past. There does not seem no be a record of an Old Testament angel whose message was denied or attacked. When an angel spoke, people heard and headed the message. Later on verses 6 we read that the angels are commanded to worship him and him alone. All of the chosen voices of God had and still have great significance, but God’s word is not complete without Christ.