Friday, May 9, 2014

The Book of Hebrews: Christ is Superior!

Having completed the book of Galatians, which was Paul’s plea to his readers to remain in grace and to not stray back to legalism, it feels natural to turn next to the Book of Hebrews. There are so many well-loved verses in this book, so many comforting promises, I believe it will truly bless us to study it.

The authorship of this book is debated, but most ascribe it to Paul. It certainly has his passion and scholarship. However, regardless of who penned this book, the actual author is God. Paul told Timothy. “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” (2 Timothy 3:15-17 NLT)

This book was written to Jewish believers, and like Galatians, it’s primary purpose was to warn believers against going back to reliance on Jewish traditions. The theme of the book is the superiority of Christ. The author argues that Christ is superior over angels, over man, over Abraham, and over Moses and the prophets. He holds the superior priesthood and was the superior sacrifice.

We are going to park in the first few verses for a bit, because there is so much here:

Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets.  And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. (Hebrews 1:1 NLT)

Jon Courson, in his Application Commentary: New Testament, writes about the many ways in which God spoke in past times:

God spoke through his creation:

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

    The skies display his craftsmanship.  
Day after day they continue to speak;

    night after night they make him known.  
They speak without a sound or word;

    their voice is never heard.  
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,

    and their words to all the world. (Psalm 19:1-4)

But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.  They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them.  For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. (Romans 1:18-20)

Courson reminds us that God also spoke through the conscience of men, He spoke through angels throughout the scriptures, and He spoke through the prophets. However, the author of Hebrews wants us to know that those ways of communication were not sufficient to reveal the nature of God and to capture the hearts of men. They still didn’t get it. So God, in Christ, finally came to earth as one of us so that we might fully know Him:

And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. (Hebrews 1:2a)

Courson expresses the importance of this statement succinctly:

“So God sent his Son, His final Word to humanity. There’s nothing more to be said. There’s nothing left unsaid. It’s all said in Christ.” Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: New Testament, P.1435.

The book of Revelation calls Jesus the Alpha and the Omega. The A-Z. Everything we need to know about God is within the Son. If you want to know what God is like, you need to know Jesus. That’s basically what this book of Hebrews is about. We’ll hang out on this verse again next time!

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