Summary: Introduction to series on Hebrews entitled "Jesus is Better" this first sermon gives seven reasons that Jesus is better than every other religious system.
A Study of the Book of Hebrews
Sermon # 1
Jesus is Better
The writer of the book of Hebrews returns again and again to the word “better” which is found some thirteen times in this book to show the superiority of Jesus to every other religious system. “Christ is better than the angels (1:4). He brought in a better hope (7:19) because He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises (8:6).” [Warren Wiersbe. ”Be Confident.” (Wheaton: Ill.: Victor Books, 1982) p. 8]
This letter is written to a group of people who are about to give up on their faith. This is a group who are at a standstill spiritually and in danger of going back-wards (5:12). They are exhorted to take stock of what Jesus has to offer and not to give in to fear or doubt and stay the course.
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, (2) has in these last days spoken to us by His Son…”
Ever since the world began, God has been speaking to human beings at different times and in different ways; sometimes by direct communication, sometimes through dreams and vision but most of all through his prophets. In biblical times when a God’s prophets spoke and His people listened. The reason was simple. When a prophet spoke, the people knew they were hearing from God. The Apostle Peter says, “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).
In the Old Testament period God spoke to His people through the prophets. This self-disclosure was periodic and partial in nature. It was spread over a period of at least 10 centuries and it was given in a variety of means.
The point here is that God’s message is no longer spoken through the prophets but now through God’s very own son. The prophets were merely instruments in the hand of God but Jesus was the visible presence of the invisible God. Formerly the revelation of God was fragmentary now it is complete, formerly it was partial now it is perfect, formerly it was preparatory now it is fulfilled. God did not entrust His full revelation to be given by man. He took the initiative to declare it Himself through His Son.
As John MacArthur states in his commentary, “Every religion is but man’s attempt to discover God. Christianity is God bursting into man’s world and showing and telling man what He is like.” [John McArthur. McArthur New Testament Commentary – Hebrews. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1983) p. 3]
Now the writer of Hebrews gives his readers seven Good Reasons that “Jesus is Better” than the prophets!
Let’s pick back up with verse two, “… whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;(3) who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
First, He is the Heir of all things!
“whom he has appointed heir of all things”
Since Christ is the Son and even more particularly the only Son, of God He is also the heir, the sole Heir of all things.
He is the Heir of all things because and he is …
Second, He is the Creator of all things!
“through whom He also made the worlds”
The apostle Paul says of Christ relation to the Creation, “For by him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created by Him and for him. (17) And He is before all things and in him all things consist.” (Col 1:16-17) Paul explains that all things are not only made by him but for Him. John says, (1:3) “All things are made through Him, and without Him was made that was made.”
Interestingly it says in Hebrews “he made the worlds” the word translated world here is not the normal Greek word (kosmos) but rather (aionos) which means “the ages.” Jesus not only made the universe but he brought space, time and matter into existence. Jesus is He who was before history, at the beginning of history and will be at the end of history.
He is not only the Creator of the Universe but…
Third, He is the Sustainer of the Universe!
“upholding all things through the word of his power”
Not only did Jesus create all things by His word (John 1:1-5) but He also upholds all things by that same powerful word.