Christ is the Best
How many of you have had someone ask you what you thought of the global pandemic and how it plays into the “end times”?
Sadly, this is a question I have received several times.
Such questions should be received graciously.
It comes from a place of fear and concern over what the world is becoming.
I merely remind them that such pandemics have happened before with far worse consequences.
After all, in the 14th century the bubonic plague resulted in the deaths of one-third of the population in Europe along with the heavy, continuous rains, unusually cold weather, unending wars, diseased livestock, and famine to top it all off.
And we can’t forget the Spanish flu that struck about 100 years ago.
I have to wonder if there were 24-hr news in the 30s and 40s, how much people would be panicking over the ends times, what with a world war, followed by a pandemic, then the Great Depression followed quickly by another world war!
We don’t have it nearly as bad as 14th century Europe or even 20th century America.
The answer to all of this, of course, is to trust in God and in His Word.
We see this idea in the first view verses of Hebrews, the prologue of this book.
This is a microcosm of what this book is all about.
It establishes how much greater Jesus is, as the Son of God, in the way He communicates with men today, showing Him to be a Prophet.
On top of that, the writer here introduces us to the idea that He is a priest, and a king as well.
Then we transition into the rest of the chapter, we will find that He is far superior to the angels (this evening).
Various times and ways (1:1).
These last days (1:2).
Prophet, priest, king (1:2-4).
Various times and ways (1:1).
The writer starts off this book by talking about what used to be (1:1).
This reminds us of the various manners in which God had spoken to His people in the past.
Logically speaking, if a God exists and created intelligent life, wouldn’t He want to communicate with them, especially if He loved them?
And if He wants to communicate with His creation, how do you suppose He would do it?
Well, it’s exactly as we see in Scripture.
At times, He spoke to people in dreams, in visions, as a voice from heaven, even in a burning bush.
It is revealed how He spoke to Moses, that it was different than how He spoke to most people in time past and even since then (Num. 12:6-8).
Moses certainly was a unique case before the coming of Christ.
The Greek word here in Heb. 1:1 indicates such revelations were given piecemeal, a little bit at a time.
It shows that there was no full revelation given to any one person.
Yet, what happens in these last days?
These last days (1:2-3).
This is a phrase found in many places in Scripture.
It is common among many in the religious world to interpret the phrase “last days” as meaning that last few years before Christ returns.
But a careful reading of this, and any other use of the phrase, suggests otherwise.
Here we see that the last days talked about there were happening at the time Hebrews was being written.
The word “these” indicates that it is something happening at that moment.
The last days began in the first century!
Does that mean the last days include today?
Well, if they were in the last days, and this is 2000 years later, I would presume that we are still in the last days.
So we see how God speaks to us today—through His Son Jesus Christ.
He doesn’t speak to us today in visions and dreams, but through His Son.
This makes Him greater than all the prophets to have come before.
While they all had a little bit here and a little bit there, we have the whole revelation given to us through Him.
Remember that question we asked a little while ago? How would God speak to His creation?
One way, is by coming down here and doing so directly—and guess what? That’s exactly what He did!
But wait, in Acts we do see where God communicates using visions and dreams—doesn’t that mean that God speaks in other ways to us now?
No, because then it would disprove Heb. 1:2, wouldn’t it?
You see, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to communicate with His people, to guide them into all truth (John 16:13).
The Spirit inspired the Apostles to write God’s Word for us today (2 Pet. 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).
We are judged by the words of Jesus that He communicated via the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and other writers of the Scripture (John 12:48).
You see, Christ speaks to us today through His Word, the Bible!
Once the Bible was finished, we needed no more divine revelations, for it was all perfect and complete.
They received things piecemeal, but we have it all!
Will there be mysteries left? Of course, but we have all we’ll ever need this side of eternity.
But can we know whether or not the end of all things is near?
The only way we can know is through Scripture, and Scripture tells us it will come as a thief in the night, no one knowing the day or the hour (1 Thess. 5:1-2; Matt. 24:36).
So relax, put your trust in Him, and live your life for His glory regardless of whatever is going on in the world around us.
God does not want us to be anxious for anything (Phil. 4:6), let alone for His Second Coming! We should be eagerly awaiting it! “O Lord, come!”
His Son has a unique position.
As a Son, He is an heir, and that of all things, the one who inherits it all.
And it’s only fitting because He is the Creator of all things!
As John writes, “without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3).
Paul states this quite plainly, too (Col. 1:16).
For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
And amazingly, we become joint-heirs with Him! (Rom. 8:16-17).
He, of course, gets the lion’s share, but just to share in that—such an amazing thing to consider!
So Christ has this unique position as Son, heir, and Creator.
Prophet, Priest, King (1:3-4).
Jesus has the honor of holding three distinct offices in His church.
This is quite unique in all history as well.
These first few verses set that up for us and will be proved as the book progresses.
The only other person to have come close to having such a position in all the world is Melchizedek (Gen. 14; Psa. 110).
Others have had several roles: Samuel was prophet, priest, and judge. David was a prophet and king.
But it is Melchizedek that the writer of Hebrews focuses on.
We will certainly delve into that when we get to Chs. 5-7.
Jesus’ prophethood is shown as one through whom God speaks, as we saw in 1:2 since God speaks through Him.
And in fact, He is greater than any other prophet, because He also “[upholds] all things by the word of His power.” No other prophet’s word had such power!
This shows that He is not only the Creator, but the Sustainer of all that there is!
He is our priest, as seen “when He had by Himself purged our sins.”
And He is royalty, as shown when He “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
Glory and image.
Here we see a mention of the “brightness of His glory.”
Angels sometimes appeared as beings light, so this is nothing new for heavenly beings.
But Jesus showed Himself as one of these glorious heavenly beings when He was transfigured before Peter, James, and John—something we talked about a few months ago.
His face was glowing, and even His clothes were whiter than anything they had ever seen.
At the same time, we see that Jesus is the “express image of His person.”
Paul notes something similar, that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15).
He is the image, or the likeness, of the person (substance/essence—Heb. 11:1) of the Father!
While we are all made in the image of God, Jesus has a unique position of sharing in His substance and essence.
This shows that to be the Son of God means far more than to be a son of God.
Sons of God can refer to angels (Job 1:6) or to righteous men (Matt. 5:9), but to be the Son of God means you are God (John 5:18).
As Paul wrote, “For in [Jesus] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9) – and this the writer of Hebrews emphatically affirms!
All of this proves Him to be even better than the angels.
Angels are ministers whose titular function is to deliver messages.
Angels are essentially errand boys—Jesus is far greater!
We’ll talk a lot more about that this evening.
While Christ was a messenger as the Word, He was the Ultimate Messenger, delivering the gospel through His very presence here on earth.
After all, John calls Him the Word made flesh, having dwelt among us (John 1:14).
And as a result, His name is far more excellent (better) than that of any other prophet, priest, king, or angel that came before or has come since.
After all, there is “no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Not in the name of David, Moses, or Abraham—certainly not in the name of Mohammad or the Buddha.
Not even in the name of Gabriel or Michael.
Only one name has the power to save—Jesus!
Jesus is the Son of God, which means He is God.
Jesus is a Prophet because God speaks through Him.
Jesus is our Creator and Sustainer.
Jesus is a Priest (more on that later).
Jesus is a King!
Jesus is better than the angels.
The writer of Hebrews further proves much of this (Son, Creator, King) later in this very chapter.
And so much more of this will be proved even later in the book, His priesthood in particular.
We will see so much more of His glory and awe as well.
And who wouldn’t want to serve such a wonderful and magnificent Lord?
Since the Lord speaks to us today through His Son, shouldn’t we listen to Him?
Since He is our prophet, priest, and king, doesn’t He have the right to tell us what to do?
Since it is only through His name we might be saved, shouldn’t we try to figure out how?
Let’s be joined to Him by obeying the gospel, which is His Word, today!
That’s all we need to worry about, not whether or not the Lord is returning sooner or later.
If we are truly faithful to Him, it shouldn’t matter anyway.