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.
But why is the word spoken by God through Jesus superior? It is because Jesus himself is superior. So, the writer tells us seven things about Jesus that make him superior to the prophets and his words superior to theirs. And interestingly, the list alludes the Psalms, specifically Psalms 2 and 110, which were recognized as Messianic Psalms (Psalms that spoke of the Messiah to come). 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.
Heir of All Things
Jesus is the heir of all things because he will inherit all of creation from the Father. Psalm 2 speaks of this. This is a royal Psalm, recognizing David as king and stating that God will bless the Gentile nations through their obedience to the Davidic king. To the King, the Father says, starting in verse 7, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me and I will make the nations your possession.” God told David he would rule the Gentiles and this Psalm calls that promise to mind. The writer of Hebrews tells us the promise is ultimately fulfilled in Christ.
And, really, the promise goes even further back into history. God gave Adam the earth. He made him lord over it and he was to take dominion over it. He said “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over every living thing…”. (Genesis 1:28) Adam forfeited his inheritance by following Satan rather than by God. But God promised to take it back through another son. He told Satan that the seed or offspring of the woman would bruise his head. (Genesis 3:15)
God continued to work and he promised Abraham and his descendents dominion over the land of Canaan. (Genesis 17:8) God fulfilled that promise in Christ by giving him even more, the dominion and ownership of all of creation. He inherits all things.
The World Was Created Through Him
Jesus’ superiority and his divinity are shown in his role in the creation. Hebrews says “through him who created the world”. (1:2) Jesus was not only present and existing at the time of the creation, he had a part of it. John said “all things were made through him and without him was not any thing made that was made”. (John 1:3) “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made”. (Psalm 33:6) In the Greek translation, the word for “word” is “logos”. This is the word John used in John 1 when he said “in the beginning was the Word”. The Father desired to create the world and Jesus was the one who made it happen, he was the personification of the word of the Father.
Colossians 1:16 says all things were created by him and through him and for him.
His part in creation is tied to his right to inherit. The thought here is he made everything and therefore it will all become his.
The Radiance of the Glory of God & the Exact Imprint of His Nature
I counted this as one statement because I believe it is a parallelism (two ways of saying the same thing). Glory is the expression of God’s perfect and holy nature. Jesus is the exact expression of God’s nature. The ESV uses the words “exact imprint”. The NIV says “exact representation”. An imprint is like a stamp. The image stamped is the exact imprint of the stamp. If you want to know the Father, know the Son. Jesus is fully God; he shows us the nature of the Father. John said “No one has ever seen God (the Father); the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” (John 1:18) 1 Timothy 6:16 says the Father dwells in unapproachable light, and no one has ever seen or can see him”.
Jesus taught this concept to the disciples. When Thomas asked Jesus to show them the Father, Jesus said whoever has seen him had seen the Father for the Father was in Jesus and Jesus in the Father. (John 14:6) The Father and the Son are both of the godhead, they are both God, both divine. Therefore, Jesus could reveal the Father’s nature to us.
Paul also expressed this thought. In Colossians 1:15, he said Jesus is the image of the invisible God.You also see here that the Son and Father are separate persons, since one reflects the
other. This is a part of Trinitarian doctrine: there are three persons yet one God.
Reflect this week on who Jesus is as revealed in these verses!