It’s a good job we will have eternity in which to praise King Jesus, because (as hymn writers have rightly said) even eternity is too short to utter all His praise! Here He is, the Anointed One, the Son of God, the Son of David, the Prophet like Moses (but better) the Priest like Melchizedek (but better) and the promised better King in the line of David! There are just a few of the honors and titles ascribed to Him in the opening chapter of Hebrews. This is holy ground indeed – how blessed we are to have such a Savior and the Bible by which we may know Him!
On Sunday we saw that the angels are mighty, and the scriptures tell us that they were the ones God sent to deliver the Law to His Old Testament people (Hebrews 2:2, Acts 7:53, Galatians 3:19)! The original readers of this letter were tempted to leave Christ and put themselves back under that Law, so the writer shows them in Hebrews 1:4-14 that Jesus is greater even than the angels.
We saw that Jesus has inherited a greater name than the angels – He is the Son of God! To prove this, the writer shows:
- Jesus, not the angels, is God’s Son, a title that is peculiarly His due to His resurrection (Hebrews 1:5a, Acts 13:32, Romans 1:3-4). Also, this Son of God is the Son of David, the everlasting king promised to David (Hebrews 1:5b)
- Jesus is worshipped by angels and not the other way around (Hebrews 1:6)
- Jesus is sovereign, angels are servants (Hebrews 1:7-9, 14)
- Jesus is eternal, angels are creatures (Hebrews 1:10-12)
- Jesus is in charge, angels are not (Hebrews 1:13)
Like the first readers of this letter, we shouldn’t swerve from Jesus, because there is no-one and nothing else to go to that is better than Him. We were called on to search ourselves for signs that we might be drifting away from or else downgrading Him, and urged to return with all our hearts.
At the start of chapter 2, the writer will deliver his first warning to his readers based on the contents of chapter 1. Since the law declared by angels was trustworthy and those who departed from it were justly punished, how will those escape who depart from the salvation that was introduced by One far greater than the angels – the Son of God Himself? The ministry delivered by the angels (the Law) is called a ministry of death in 2 Corinthians 3:7, and its glory is described as fading. The Law revealed and condemned sin – which is all it can do for sinners. The ministry of Jesus, in contrast, is the ministry of the Spirit and of righteousness – the ministry of life – and its glory is permanent and surpassingly dazzling. What a terrible sin to leave the ministry of Jesus and return to the ministry of the angels!
Furthermore, the writer goes on to speak of the destiny of Jesus Christ. Quoting from Psalm 8:4-6, the writer shows that Jesus – the Son of God, Who created the angels and is eternally greater than them, was actually made lower than them “for a little while” when He took human flesh to make our salvation possible (what an unimaginable stoop!). However, this Jesus is now crowned with glory and honor because of His suffering death to save His people, tasting death for everyone. As a result, in the world to come, says the writer, everything will be put in subjection to Him (and not to angels). The passage has a strong undercurrent that if we are joined to Jesus in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, we will be joined with Him also in His rule. Although we were made a little lower than angels, by God’s grace we will be lifted up in Jesus, crowned with glory and honor and will reign with our King of kings, even judging the angels (1 Corinthians 6:3)!