Summary: Why compare Jesus to angels? What is it about angels that could possibly warrant the comparison?
OPEN: Billie Burke was a famous actress in years gone by. While enjoying a transatlantic ocean trip, she noticed that a gentleman at the next table was suffering from a bad head cold.
“Are you uncomfortable?” she asked. The man nodded.
“I’ll tell you just what to do about it.” She offered. “Go back to your stateroom 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 what I’m talking about. I’m Billie Burke from Hollywood.”
The man smiled “Thanks” he said, “and I’m Dr. Mayo from the Mayo Clinic.”
APPLY: Sometimes, it’s important to know who you are talking to… and sometimes it’s important to know who you’re talking about.
I. The writer of Hebrews thinks it’s important for us to know who we’re talking about when we talk about Jesus.
He starts out with a powerful introduction: “… in these last days (the Father) has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he (Jesus) had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven." Hebrews 1:2-3
Throughout Hebrews we’re told how much better Jesus is.
· He’s better than angels
· He’s better than any man that’s ever lived
· He’s a better high priest than has ever served
· He offers a better covenant than man has ever known and
· He offers a better sacrifice than has ever been offered.
Jesus is a better… than anything.
Billy Sunday once said: "There are 256 names in the Bible for the Lord Jesus Christ, and I suppose this was because He was infinitely beyond ALL that any one name could express."
Why would that be important for us to know that Jesus was better than all this? BECAUSE if we don’t realize how much better Jesus is, than anything we could possibly know, … something ALWAYS WILL be better. Whether it is money, love, power, popularity - something will always edge Jesus out if He is not regarded as being the "best" that we could have.
And, if we don’t accept that Jesus is better than anything else in our lives, you & I will always be uncertain about our faith.
ILLUS: Back in 1992, George Barna conducted a survey of church people and found that only 55% of those who attend church regularly said that their faith affected the way they live. That meant that 45% felt their faith didn’t affect their lives. Why would that be? Because Jesus wasn’t all that much better than anything else in their lives.
Apparently the people to whom this author of Hebrews is writing, had the same problem. That’s why he warns them in Hebrews 2:1-4
"We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away (vs. 1)… how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him (vs. 3)."
If Jesus isn’t BETTER than anything else for us, we’ll neglect our salvation. As we get distracted and pursue “something else” we’ll drift away from God and face the danger of losing our salvation.
UNDERSTAND THIS AND TAKE NOTE: There is nothing better than Jesus.
II. I find it interesting that the writer of Hebrews starts out saying that Jesus is better than any angel. Hebrews 1:4 “So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.”
Why begin by comparing Jesus to angels? What’s so important aboutangels that we’d even need to make that comparison? Well, angels were the most powerful and wondrous of all of God’s creation. The Old Testament speaks of these beautiful beings that
1. were continually in God’s presence
2. so powerful they could destroy an entire army single handedly in a night
3. AND could create such an atmosphere of fear - just by seen - that people would bow down in abject terror. Their presence has such a powerful effect that, invariably, the first words from their lips were: “fear not.”
When you’re confronted by such powerful beings as angels, there’s a natural tendency to want to bow down and worship them. In fact, the Apostle John almost fell prey to that error. In Revelation 22 we’re told: “I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me.