Hebrews, The Supremacy of Jesus
14 Jul 2012, Dr Alex Currie
(Alex is Thornleigh's Church Pastor)
Hebrews - The Supremacy of Jesus
Introduction and Importance of Hebrews.
This amazing epistle was most likely written before the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 70AD. Whoever the writer was he consistently refers to the temple in present tense. In Matthew 24, the Second coming and the destruction of Jerusalem are intertwined. Perhaps there are two scenario's to be considered. Scenario 1 - God sent a special message to vacillating Jewish Christians who were considering returning to Judaism. Scenario 2 - The destruction of Jerusalem is a type of the end of the world. So God sends us a message in Hebrews to have faith and trust in Jesus before His return to this planet.
Hebrews 1:1-2 says 'In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,..." This is the most sonorous piece of Greek in all the New Testament. Whoever the author was he introduced every artifice of word and rhythm the Greek language provided.
Read through Hebrews and discover how Jesus is Better, Superior and Greater than anyone or anything.
Thank God He is a God who communicates. How did God speak? He spoke through Prophets in the Scriptures - 'at many times and various ways'. Men of God were 'moved' or blown like autumn leaves by the Spirit of God. (1) He spoke through Nature. Psalm 19 says 'The heavens declare the glory...' (2) Flowers, birds, trees all reveal God's handwork. He spoke through dreams to people like Joseph and Nebuchadnezzar. (3) He spoke through Paul and Barnabas, and the disciples etc. He spoke to Samuel when he was a lad, "Speak Lord, your servant is listening." (4) Sometimes we may hear a voice in our heads saying 'This is the way to go, walk...' (5) God spoke to prophets like Daniel and Ezekiel in Visions. (6)
In Genesis 1 He spoke "Let there be...' (7) and there was. David wrote " "He spoke and it was done, He commanded and it stood fast." (8) On Sinai, God spoke and wrote - commandments. (9) God spoke through events such as creation, the flood, and Calvary's cross. (10) God spoke through a rainbow (11) - still does. On the Damascus Road, Paul was blinded by light and heard a voice saying 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (12)
Has God spoken to you? Are you listening for God? A man living in Leeds, England visited his Doctor complaining of hearing problems even although he had a hearing aid. The doctor removed hearing aid and his hearing improved. He had been wearing the hearing aid in the wrong ear. (13) Jesus cried "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!' (14) The writer of Hebrews declares "Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts." (15) A masters student, Herrick Choko from the Solomon Islands shared a testimony on how God had spoken to him.
Hebrews declares that God spoke 'at many times', Greek, 'polumeros' and 'in various ways' (16) = polutropos. Famous Greek orators often used sonorous adjectives into the first sentences they spoke or wrote. Great thoughts demanded great dress. (17) So the author of this epistle was well trained and when he became Christian he continued using the talents God had given him.
The Old Testament prophets had a variegated grandeur, but fragmented truth. So Amos cried for social justice; Isaiah gasped at the holiness of God, while Hosea stumbled upon the forgiving love of God. Hebrews is like a jigsaw but it puts all the pieces together.
God's final word however is His Son. He is superior. Jesus was not a fragment of truth, He was the whole truth the way and the life. (18) He was the full revelation of God. Prophets were friends of God, but Jesus was the Son of God. Prophets grasped part of the mind of God; Jesus was the mind of God. These verses stress the continuity with prophets. Jesus was better than any prophet, He was supreme. So God has spoken to us by His Son.
Notice six great things about Jesus.
1. The Glory of God belongs to Jesus.
He is the 'apaugasma' of God's glory. There are two meanings of 'apaugasma', effulgence, that is light which shines forth or reflection. It most likely has the first meaning. Jesus was the character of God's very essence and substance and being. In the Greek, 'image' or character is like a seal, the mark , the impression that a seal leaves on wax. So Jesus was the exact impression and image of God. He is the glory of suffering love. (19)
2. The coming Kingdom belongs to Jesus.
New Testament writers never doubted Christ's ultimate triumph. They were absolutely confident that God's amazing grace love was backed by God's power and the kingdoms of this world would become the kingdoms of the Lord. He is returning to this planet as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
3. Creative action belongs to Jesus.
John declared 'Through Him all things were made...' (20) Jesus who created the world would recreate the world. Jesus who made the world would redeem the world. Are you a different person because of Jesus? The bible calls for us to be born again.
4. Sustaining power belongs to Jesus.
New Testament writers understood that the God who made also provides. He is called Jehovah - Jireh, in the Old Testament, the one who sees and meets our need. (21) Paul wrote ''He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (22) When you feel like giving up He will strengthen and sustain you.
5. To Jesus belongs the work of redemption.
He made purification for the sins of humans. By His sacrifice he paid the price of sin. By His continued presence ministering to us, he liberates from sin.
Billy Burke was a Hollywood actress who was on a transatlantic ocean trip, she noticed a man getting some sun on the deck who seemed to be suffering from a very bad head cold.
"Are you uncomfortable?" she asked him. The man nodded. "I'll tell you just what to do," she said. "Go to your room and drink lots of orange juice. Take two aspirins. Cover yourself with all the blankets you can find. Sweat the cold out. I know just I'm talking about. I'm Billie Burke from Holly wood."
"Thank you," the man said. "I'm glad to meet you. I'm Dr. Mayo from the Mayo Clinic."
A school board on Rhode Island undertook exhaustive search for a new principal of the local high school. They meet with several candidates, then held a press conference. The president of the school board walked to a microphone and said, "After finding no qualified candidates for the position of principal, the school board is extremely pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. David Steele to the position."
Jesus is highly qualified as we can see from the above points!
6. To Jesus belongs the mediatorial exaltation.
He's at the right hand of glory - not as judge according to Hebrews but as our intercessor.
A schoolteacher phone a parent saying, "Mrs. Smith, your son did something in class that surprised me so much I thought you should know about it immediately." The mother became quite concerned, even though she knew her child who was in third grade was usually well-behaved.
The teacher continued speaking "Nothing like this has happened in all my years of teaching." The mother was now really worried, but the teacher continued: "This morning I was teaching a lesson on creative writing and as I always do, I told the story of the ant and the grasshopper." She then told the mother the story: "The ant works hard all summer and stores up plenty of food but the grasshopper plays all summer and does no work. Then winter comes. The grasshopper begins to starve because he has no food. So he begins to beg, 'Please Mr. Ant, you have much food. Please let me eat, too.'" The teacher said, "Then I told them, 'Boys and girls, your job is to write the ending to the story.'
Your boy raised his hand asking if he could draw a picture. I agreed if he finished writing the story first. In previous years, most students said that the ant shared his food through the winter and both the ant and the grasshopper lived. A few children wrote, 'No, Mr. Grasshopper. You should have worked in the summer. Now, I have just enough food for myself. So the ant lived and the grasshopper died.' But the teacher continued, 'your son, ended the story in a way different from any other child, ever. He wrote', 'So the ant gave all of his food to the grasshopper. The grasshopper lived through the winter, but the ant died.' "And what was the picture at the bottom of the page?' asked the mother. Mark had drawn three crosses. Christ gave everything for us.
(1) 2 Peter 1:21
(2) Psalm 19:1
(3) Genesis 41; Daniel 2
(4) 1 Samuel 3
(5) Isaiah 30:21
(6) Daniel 8,10; Ezekiel 1:1
(7) Genesis 1:3, 6,14, etc.
(8) Psalm 33:6
(9) Exodus 20:1; 24:12
(10) Genesis 1 and 2; 7-9; Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23;
(11) Genesis 9:13-17
(12) Acts 9:6
(13) Warren W Wiersbe, Hebrews Be Confident, Christian Press, Aust.1982, p. 9.
(14) Matthew 11:15
(15) Hebrew 3:7-11
(16) Hebrews 1:1
(17) Barclay, Hebrews, under Hebrews 1:1
(18) John 14:6
(19) See Barclay
(20) John 1:1-3
(21) Genesis 22:14
(22) Colossians 1:17
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