SEVEN WAYS CHRIST IS SUPERIOR
Last week we read that the word the Father spoke through the Son, Jesus Christ, is the superior word. It is superior to the word God spoke through the Old Testament prophets. The writer made that point so that the Jewish Christians who thought about returning to Judaism would realize their mistake. They would otherwise trade the superior word for the inferior word.
The reason the word spoken by God through Jesus is superior is because Jesus Christ the Son of God is himself superior. So, the writer told us seven things about Jesus that make him superior to the prophets and his words superior to theirs.
Here are the seven things:
1. God appointed Jesus the heir of all things;
2. God created all things through the Jesus;
3. Jesus is the radiance of the glory of God;
4. Jesus is the exact imprint of the nature of God;
5. Jesus upholds the universe by his word of power;
6. Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father; and
7. Jesus became superior to angels and his name superior to theirs.
We covered the first four last week.
Jesus Upholds The Universe Through the Word of his Power
Jesus not only worked in the creation of the world, he holds it and keeps it from falling apart. He keeps it from chaos. Colossians 1:17 says in him all things hold together. Remember that, in the beginning, the earth was without form and void. (Genesis 1:2) Jesus keeps it from returning to that state. The sun continues to burn because Christ sustains it. The earth continues to revolve around it in the same orbit because Christ makes it happen. The earth rotates on its axis because Christ sustains it. Even small changes could destroy the earth, but Christ sustains it by his power. This is a power assigned to God in the Old Testament (see Isaiah 40:21-26) and the Jewish Christian would see it as a strong claim to deity.
Jesus Sits at the Right Hand of God
Hebrews 1:3 says, after Jesus made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Jesus died, was buried and rose on the third day. (1 Corinthians 15:1-3) (Philippians 2:5-8) He then ascended (Luke 24:50-53) back to heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Father. The words “sat down” are important. He sat down because his work of salvation was finished. He even said this on the cross: “it is finished”. (John 19:30) This idea would also resonate with Jewish Christians. They knew the Jewish priests continually offered sacrifices for sin. They did it over and over. But Christ did it once and it was completely accomplished. His sacrifice was greater than the sacrifice of animals and it made a permanent purification for sins.
Jesus sat at the right hand of the Father. That is the favored position, the place of honor. David prophesied about this in Psalm 110:1: “The LORD says to my Lord sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.” This is the exaltation of Christ. Peter preached it in his sermon at Pentecost. He quoted the verse and said it applied to the exaltation of Christ to the right hand of God. (Acts 2:32-36) When Stephen was stoned to death as the first Christian martyr, the Holy Spirit allowed him to see into heaven where he saw the glory of God and the Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father. (Acts 7:55) Revelation 5:6-8. shows part of this also.
Jesus will reign from this throne next to the Father. He will sit there until all his enemies are conquered, which is the meaning of “until I make all your enemies your foot stool”. (Acts 2:35) Charles Wesley captured this concept in his hymn “Rejoice, the Lord is King”, which says:
He sits at God’s right hand till all His foes submit,
And bow to His command, and fall beneath His feet:
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
This doctrine is sometimes called the “Session of Christ”. His reign is the reason he protects us from many evils. His protection will be perfected or fully realized upon his return, when all his enemies are conquered and his reign is consummated. John received a vision of this that he recorded in Revelation 20. Satan was defeated, all who followed him were defeated and all enemies were thrown into the lake of fire along with death. Jesus is seated at God’s right hand and will continue to reign with the Father in eternity.
Jesus Became Superior to the Angels
Verse 4 is the transition from the prologue (introduction) to the first long argument of the sermon which is the Book of Hebrews. Why is the writer concerned about Jesus’ position relative to angels? I can think of two reasons. First, in the first century, people were fascinated with angels. People are today. They were messengers for God and warriors. Some lived in God’s very presence. They were majestic and reflected the glory of God. Some people may have worshipped angels. Yet, despite their exalted nature and existence, Jesus is greater than they.
The second reason is that angels were said to have revealed the law. This is mentioned several times in Hebrews. So again, the word of the Father given through Christ is greater than the word of the law, in this case, thought to have been given through angels. Jesus is superior to them and his name is superior to them, because his name is Son. He is not servant, but Son, heir and co-ruler with the Father. The remainder of the chapter develops this assertion fully. But one thing to remember at this state is that verse 2 says Jesus acted to create the world. Angels are created, they are creation rather than Creator. We worship the greater, not the lesser. Romans 1 condemned man because he “exchanged the truth about God for a ie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forevermore.
Jesus' name is superior to the name of the angels also. This is first because he is the Son. Second, this is because he is Lord. I will discuss that in more detail later. The word for angels means “messenger”. A messenger is not greater than his Lord.
These seven things show you the person and work of Christ. It shows you that Christ is exalted. He deserves your honor, praise and obedience.
But with all the discussion about the superiority of the Son of God, we should ask the question: How do we know Jesus is the Son of God?
Someone said just this week that Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God, only the Son of man. But the Bible tells us Jesus is the Son of God. It says so here in verse 2 and again in verse 5. But that is not all.
God the Father told us Jesus is he son. He did so twice. The Father first declared it at Jesus' baptism. Matthew 3:17 says "behold, a voice from heaven says 'this is my beloved son, in whom I am we'll pleased.' " Later, at the Transfiguration, God said "This is my beloved Son with whom I am we'll pleased, listen to him". This is recorded in Matthew 17:5.
That should do it for you, but, if not, the angel Gabriel told us. In Luke 1:32, he told Mary "he will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High".
Satan also acknowledged it. In Matthew 4:3, he said "if you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." When he used the word “if’, he was not doubting, he was goading Jesus to reveal himself by serving himself.
In Gadara, the demons also acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God. (Luke 8:26-39)
A more reputable source, John the Baptist told us also. In John 1:34' he said " ...I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God".
The disciples said it. Read Matthew 14:32-33.
The Centurion said it Read Mark 15:39.
And Jesus certainly said it. He called God his father in his prayer in John 17:1 and also John 8:38That is the same as saying he is God's son. If I say Joy is my wife, I am also saying I am her husband.
And, finally, when Jesus told Nicodemus (John 3:16) that God sent his only son, he was clearly referring to himself.
The Bible is clear that Jesus is God's son and Jesus clearly claimed that very thing.
Because he is the Son, he is superior. He is exalted. That is why we worship him and honor him above any created thing. Failure to exalt him over the creation is a sign of the depraved mind in need of salvation as described in Romans 1.