Hebrews: Our Superious Savior
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by Woodrow Kroll
Description: Small groups and individuals who want to explore this great epistle will discover 14 thought-provoking lessons in this volume. As part of the Back to the Bible Study Guide series, Hebrews uses the ESV text to work through the epistle's themes and personalize its enduring witness to Christ's supremacy and sufficiency.
eBook Publisher: Crossway Books, 2008
eBookwise Release Date: June 2009
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [128 KB]
Reading time: 74-104 min.
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The world often claims today that one savior is just as good as another. The world is wrong. Why look for a "just-as-good" savior when there is One who is the best (and only) Savior?
The Supremacy of God's Son
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2but 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. 3He 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, 4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
5For to which of the angels did God ever say,
"You are my Son,
today I have begotten you"?
"I will be to him a father,
and he shall be to me a son"?
6And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
"Let all God's angels worship
7Of the angels he says,
"He makes his angels winds,
and his ministers a flame of fire."
8But of the Son he says,
"Your throne, O God, is forever
the scepter of uprightness is
the scepter of your kingdom.
9You have loved righteousness
and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has
with the oil of gladness
beyond your companions."
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 (Heb. 1:3).
"You, Lord, laid the foundation of
the earth in the beginning,
and the heavens are the work
of your hands;
11they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment,
12like a robe you will roll them up,
like a garment they will be changed.
But you are the same,
and your years will have no end."
13And to which of the angels has he ever said,
"Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet"?
14Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?
From a recent Barna Group survey, it was determined that 75 percent of Americans believe that angels are real. God's Word tells us a lot about angels. Angels are persons. They're not its or things. There are so many of them you can't count them--thousands, ten thousands, ten thousands times ten thousands! Angels are powerful beings. They can do things we cannot do. They are intelligent beings--certainly smarter and more aware than we are. They function more directly in God's presence than we do. But just because they're superior to humans doesn't mean angels are superior to everyone. Angels are not superior to Jesus.
Perhaps your Bible translates
Hebrews 1:4 as "better than angels."
"Better," "superior"--it's the same word.
Interestingly enough, that word better or superior occurs 13 times in this tiny Book of Hebrews. And the writer of Hebrews declares that everything about Jesus is superior.
Why is He superior to the angels? What is it that sets Him apart from angels in this world? Notice in verses 4-that there is a special relationship between Jesus and God the Father and a special relationship between Jesus and angels. To God, Jesus is Son. To angels, Jesus is One to be worshiped--God. This, by the way, answers those who believe that Jesus is or was an angel. That idea is nowhere found in Scripture. We don't pray to angels. They join us in praising and worshiping the Son of God. For a vivid description of this, read Revelation 5.
he Letter to the Hebrews comes to us with no human writer indicated. But the content of this New Testament book indicates eloquently the Holy Spirit's authorship. This is an important bridge document that makes the Old Testament come alive in a new way for followers of Jesus. Hebrews begins by reminding us that God had already been talking to His creation for a long time before "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). God spoke to our forefathers, says the writer of Hebrews, through the prophets; but now He is speaking to us through His Son, Jesus.
According to this first chapter of Hebrews, Jesus is superior as a communicator of God's Word. When compared to the two main types of messengers (prophets and angels), Jesus is in a class by Himself. The Old Testament prophets were called of God and spoke what God wanted communicated in their times and in many ways (see Heb. 1:1), but none of them had Jesus' credentials--the Son of God. Angelic servants of God had the same limitation despite their impressive appearance.
" 'I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord' (Phil. 3:8). That describes a superior Savior!"
Therefore Jesus is exalted over all the other ways God has communicated in the past. None of the Old Testament prophets--not Isaiah, not Jeremiah, not Daniel, not Ezekiel--could claim that he was the Son of God.
Jesus is unique. When it came to communicating God's will, He accomplished the same task that prophets and angels did, but He did it perfectly, completely. He is the Superior Communicator. He stands apart from all the rest of the world because, the Bible says, this particular prophet through whom God spoke had a relationship to God that no other Prophet ever had--the relationship as the Son of God. Even the genuine prophets were merely servants of God. Jesus is the Son of God.
While we're thinking about the superior position of Jesus, we have to add His role as God's chief executive officer "through whom [Jesus, God the Son] also he [God the Father] created the world" (Heb. 1:2). Jesus is God's heir when it comes to "all things" (v. 2). While on earth Jesus could heal humans, give orders to nature (tell a storm to quiet down), and overrule laws of nature (multiply bread and fish) because He knows how creation works. He set it up to begin with.
As the second person of the Godhead, the Son of God (John 3:16), Jesus, was in a superior position to do for His creation what angels could not do. Psalm 8 reminds us that we (and for a time Jesus) are a little lower than the angels. But angels are still created creatures like us; therefore, an angel couldn't die for us as a substitute, but Jesus could. In Jesus' divine portfolio, "after making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Heb. 1:3).
Jesus claimed to have a relationship with God that is unique and distinct. John the Baptist said of Jesus, "For he whom God has sent utters the words of God" (John 3:34). Jesus said about Himself, "If you knew me, you would know my Father also" (John 8:19) and "[I] speak just as the Father taught me" (John 8:28). So, the words that Jesus speaks are not words that were revealed to Him by God--He, the Son, actually is speaking the words of God the Father. That's a sharp distinction and a mark of superiority.
Micah spoke words revealed by God. Jeremiah spoke words revealed by God. The prophet Muhammad claimed to speak words revealed by Allah. But here's the difference: Jesus does not speak the words revealed to Him by Jehovah. Jesus knows the words of Jehovah. God simply speaks through Jesus. There is no revelation necessary because He knows the words of God. And only the Son of God can know the Word of God. So His position is unique and different from all the others.
We are titling this survey of Hebrews Our Superior Savior because that is the wonderful theme of the letter. The chapters we will study lift up candidate after candidate who merit our attention--angels, prophets, Melchizedek the high priest, great men and women of faith--all who ultimately must acknowledge, as we do, that Jesus is superior. Jesus' relationship to the Father is superior; His work is superior, and the offer He makes to us is superior to any other we could accept. He offers to us a relationship with Him and His Father that no one else could offer. Perhaps the apostle Paul put it as well as anyone when he wrote, "I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" (Phil. 3:8). Now that describes a superior Savior!
Our mental image and our thoughts about Jesus can always be improved. Until we see Him face-to-face, we will always be looking through a "mirror dimly" (1 Cor. 13:12). Pray that as a result of your study of Hebrews you will experience in a new way the superiority and majesty of Jesus Christ.
As you read Hebrews 1:1-, consider these questions:
1) As you begin this study of Hebrews, what is your current impression of
the purpose of the letter?
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2) According to this chapter, who is Jesus?
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3) How is God the Father distinguished from God the Son in these verses?
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4) Whom do you find more impressive, a genuine prophet or an angel?Why?
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5) How does this first chapter of Hebrews relate to what some people
today believe about angels? What do you think is the source of people's
knowledge about angels?
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6) What would you say is a balanced and biblical view of angels and their
role as God's messengers?
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7) How do you acknowledge the superiority of Jesus in your own life?
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8) What perspective does Hebrews 1:10-12 bring to those who think the
central responsibility of human beings is to preserve the world?
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