Jesus is Superior to the Prophets (Hebrews 1:1-3)

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Hebrews begins with the declaration that God speaks. God has something to say and it is important that we listen. Previously, God spoke through the Prophets. Our English word Prophet comes from the Greek word prophetes. This refers to someone who speaks on behalf of God. God used many men throughout the history of the Old Testament to speak His words to His people. We learned about Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jonah, Elijah, Elisha, etc. Jesus reprimanded the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, saying: “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24:25). Now, in these last days, God “has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb 1:2). God speaks to us. Let us listen to Jesus.

The Status of the Son

Heir of All Things. Jesus is greater than the prophets because He is not just a messenger; He is the Son. As the “only begotten” (John 3:16), He is the heir of all things. In Psalm 2:8, God the Father said to God the Son: “Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance.” Jesus told His disciples before He ascended into heaven: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt 28:18). Paul told the Church in Rome that we are Children of God “…and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom 8:17). Jesus is the heir because He is the One who provides redemption. The inheritance includes all things, and one major inheritance is the redemption of “a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues…” (Rev 7:9).

Through Whom also He Made the World. Scripture testifies that Jesus made the world. John 1:3 says, “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being.” 1 Corinthians 8:6 says, “One Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.” Colossians 1:16 adds, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him.

The Character of the Christ

Radiance of His glory. Because of the nature of human language, it is inherently difficult to give an accurate description of the Trinity. Jesus is described as the radiance of God’s glory. Some translations say “reflection”, but radiance or brilliance is preferred. The point in this verse is that Jesus is just not reflecting God’s glory but is emitting God’s glory because Jesus is God (John 1:1). When we speak of God we speak of Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. Trinity is one Being existing as three Persons. The Father sent the Son, and the Son emits God’s glory because He is God.

Exact representation of His nature. The Greek word our Bibles translate as “exact representation” (or express image/exact imprint) is charaktēr. If that word looks familiar it is because that is where we get our word character. Its original meaning came about as someone would scratch a symbol (character) with a tool onto stone or other material. It also came to be used with signet rings. A signet ring is a ring that had a specific imprint on it. Historian Emily Stoehrer said, “They were really used as a signature would be used today, as a way of leaving your mark and a way of assuring authenticity. You could mark a document with them, you could leave an impression in wax or clay.” A king would issue a decree and send his message out with couriers. The courier would bring the news on the official scroll that bore the king’s seal which came from his signet ring. With the seal, it was as if the king himself was making the message in person. This is the sense in which Jesus said to Philip, “John 14:9 said to Philip, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’” We know God because we know Jesus.

The Mission of the Messiah

Made Purification of Sins. Jesus’s primary mission is “to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). Jesus saves by offering Himself in life and death in order to purify us so that we would be reconciled to God. Jesus lived a perfect life and has perfect righteousness. Jesus willingly sacrificed His life as a substitute (Matt 20:28). God accepted Jesus’ death and applied it to the account of all who are saved. God removed our sin from us and placed it upon Jesus. God took the righteousness of Jesus and placed it upon us (Rom 3:22). Jesus’ death cleansed us of all our sin, and we are now adopted into the family of God (Eph 1:5). After Jesus did this, He sits at God the Father’s right hand ruling and reigning supreme.

Upholds all Things by the Word of His Power. Jesus not only made all things, but He also upholds all things. Remember what we learned in Colossians 1:16, “all things have been created through Him and for Him.” The next verse says, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Col 1:17). Jesus sustains the world around us. Everything in the universe has existed, exists, and will exist because Jesus upholds it. This means that Jesus not only supports but also carries all things along His intended course to his final destination. There is no molecule or atom that is outside of Jesus’ authority and domain and the world will be brought to its appropriate end according to God’s will.God is speaking. Are we listening? One of the most effective traps the Devil uses is busyness. When we are busy, we can quickly become distracted. When we are distracted, we are slow to listen. Are you distracted? If so, remember the words that Samuel said to God when He called, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening” (1 Sam 4:9). As you listen to Jesus, obey all He says. Let us serve the Lord with gladness.