Summary: Hebrews presents Jesus as the Greater Revelation - greater than any prophet - and the Greater Representation of God - greater than Angelic Beings
The book of Hebrews is not the easiest book in the New Testament to study. It is, however, one of the best books for learning exactly who Jesus is. That’s why we’ve chosen Hebrews as the book we’ll be studying in our Pueblo groups for the next 12 weeks.
The book of Hebrews is unusual because no one knows for sure who wrote it. There are theories that it may have been written by Paul, Silas, Barnabus, Apollos, Luke, or some other church leader. But, since we can’t know for sure, we’ll go with what we can know. It’s obvious that the book was written by someone who was knowledgeable in both Jewish traditions and in Greek philosophy. The writer was not afraid to tackle difficult theological questions and to attack false teachings with authority.
Hebrews was written to first century Jewish Christians. It seems obvious from the topics in Hebrews that these early Christians were beginning to drift back to the legalism of their Jewish tradition. It is obvious that some were venerating certain prophets and even worshiping angels.
In other words, early Christians were in danger of putting laws or prophets or angels ABOVE Jesus Christ. When you understand that, it’s easy to see why the letter to the Hebrews has one main focus. No matter what topic Hebrews addresses --- whether prophets or angels or priests or rulers or nations or laws or traditions or religious ceremonies --- for every topic Hebrews has one message: JESUS CHRIST IS GREATER.
The Greek word “kreitton” is used 13 times in Hebrews to describe Jesus Christ. It can be translated as “superior, better, or GREATER.” The author leaves no doubt: Jesus Christ is GREATER than anything or anyone.
Without even bothering with a greeting, this letter to the Hebrews starts with a bold declaration: In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. Hebrews 1:1-2
1. Jesus is the Greater Revelation: Hear Him! Hebrews 1:1-2
It’s interesting to think of the various ways God communicated throughout the Old Testament.
· He spoke to Abraham out under the stars
· To Jacob in a dream, with angels descending on a ladder
· To Moses in the burning bush, Ex.3:2
· To Balaam through a talking donkey
· To Elijah in a still, small voice I Kings 19:12ff
· To Isaiah in a vision in the temple Isaiah 6:1ff
· To Amos in a basket of summer fruit, Amos 8:1
· Through visions, dreams, and symbols.
· Through the Urim and Thummim that the priests consulted. (Divining stones used like dice to discern the Lord’s will in hard to decide matters)
· Through a pillar of fire, a column of smoke,
· and through natural disasters and miraculous wonders …
Since the beginning, God spoke whenever he chose to speak, saying whatever He wanted to say, in any way He chose to say it. But Hebrews boldly asserts that in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son. (period.) Jesus Christ is God’s GREATEST and final REVELATION.
The problem was that some of the Jewish Christians were putting too much emphasis on certain Old Testament Prophets. This is understandable when you realize that for thousands of years, the Prophets had been their main way of knowing what God wanted.
When Jesus was still on earth, his Apostles made the same mistake. You may remember what happened when Peter, James and John climbed to the top of a mountain with Jesus. Before their very eyes, Jesus was transformed into a Being of Light. Then, to their amazement, Moses and Elijah suddenly appeared and started talking with Jesus.
For all they knew, these famous Prophets had come to stay. Maybe they would assist Jesus in establishing a powerful Jewish Kingdom right then and there! When Peter saw they were leaving he said to Jesus, “Lord, wouldn’t it be a good idea for us to erect 3 shelters right up here on the mountain – one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah?”
But God used this occasion to make something crystal clear, once and for all. 34While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” Luke 9:34-35
The message God gave that day is His the message for us today. Jesus is God’s chosen Son. Listen to Him! But so often we see folks --- even in the church --- who would rather listen to: