The central theme of the book of Hebrews is the supremacy of Christ. We read over and over how Jesus is better, greater than, more than, or superior. Hebrews shows us that Jesus is better than the angels, superior to Abraham and Moses, more excellent than the law and the old covenant, greater than the priests and sacrifices, and more glorious than Jerusalem and the Promised Land.
But this is not just a theological exercise or a playground standoff to prove that Jesus is superior – it’s all driven by pastoral concern. The faith of the Hebrew Christians is being threatened. They had converted to Christ, but were feeling pulled back into many of the traditions and rituals of the Jewish faith. They faced intense persecution for their Christian faith – they are being mistreated, property taken, some even imprisoned. Many are feeling tempted to stop gathering together with the Christian church and return to the stability, history, and comfort of Judaism.
And so the author warns them of the consequences if they depart the faith and calls them to hold on to the superior Savior:
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16
“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone…” – Hebrews 6:19-20
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23
We too need to be reminded that Jesus is better, he is superior to whatever temptation in the world or distraction in our own heart that would threaten to pull us away from him. Let the opening verses of Hebrews remind you and stir you with a picture of just how great our Savior is:
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” – Hebrews 1:1-4
In the past, God spoke to his people through the prophets; but now, in these last days, God has spoken to us by his Son. The message of God spoke loud, the Word of God became flesh, and his heart started beating; the full and final revelation of God came in Jesus the Son.
Through the Son, God created the whole world, upholds the whole universe through the power of his word, and has been appointed to be the heir of everything. At the end of the age, God the Father will make all things new – a new heaven and a new earth where God’s people will dwell – and Jesus will inherit it all as Lord and King.
Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory – the fullness of his beauty, power, and love. Jesus doesn’t merely reflect the glory of the Father – he himself radiates the glory of the Father, like the sun radiates light. See, Jesus is not a mere image of God, he is God himself. The Son is the exact imprint, the exact expression of God’s nature. Jesus in the flesh radiated the fullness of God’s divinity, because he was and is God himself. As Jesus himself said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9).
The primary work Jesus came to earth for was to rescue his people from sin and death and bring them into God’s presence. To do so, he had to make purification for our sins through his death on the cross. Once he made his sacrifice for sins, and rose back to life in victory and he sat down on his throne of grace at the right hand of God the Father, the Majesty on high. In conquering sin and death and achieving the salvation of God’s people, Jesus demonstrated and validated that he is far better, far superior to even the angels.
Jesus is superior! Pursuing the pleasure of fallen creation will never satisfy like knowing the Creator himself! Don’t reach for something or someone that is inferior. Don’t settle for the light reflecting off the moon when you can experience the radiant glory of the Son himself. Center your life on the Superior Savior!
You can follow our sermon series in Hebrews here.