Summary: Six characteristics of Christ demonstrate that He is better than the Old Testament prophets
Shiloh Bible Church
The University of Maryland. Their main campus at College Park is not far from Washington Bible College. When I was studying at the seminary, my roommate and I would go to Maryland U and do personal evangelism. We would engage students in conversation and seek to share the gospel with them. We always found that the students were willing to share with us their opinion on religious matters. And so we would often begin by asking a student, “Who is Jesus?” The responses we received were varied. Some would say that He was a talented teacher or a powerful prophet. Others would say that He was a kind rabbi who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. And a few students with a Christian upbringing would say that He was the Son of God.
In explaining to these students who Jesus is, we would often go to the gospels and show how Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John portrayed Him. This morning I would like to answer the question, “Who is Jesus?” But instead of turning to the gospels for the answer, I would like us to turn to one of the New Testament epistles. Two verses tucked away in the introduction to the book of Hebrews reveals who Jesus is. Please turn with me in your Bibles to the book of Hebrews chapter 1.
The first 3 verses of Hebrews 1 focus on Jesus Christ. And there the writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is better than even the great prophets of the Old Testament. And He is better than the prophets because of who He is. And who is Jesus? The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is …
We begin at Hebrews 1:1: “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things.”
Jesus Christ is heir—heir of all things. At creation, God gave our first parents dominion over the earth. In Genesis 1:28, God told Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
But Adam and Eve lost their dominion and their right to rule when they sinned against God. But one day Jesus—the perfect Man—will have dominion over the whole earth. In the second Psalm, the Lord says to Jesus, “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter.”
Now, when will this psalm be fulfilled? When will Jesus rule the earth with an iron rod? The answer is: during the millennial kingdom. Jesus will return to earth and establish His kingdom. And He will rule and reign for 1,000 years.
Now, this concept is extremely important for our understanding of the book of Hebrews. Remember, the writer is encouraging these Hebrew Christians not to abandon their faith in Christ and return to their old religion of Judaism. And one of the ways he seeks to motivate his readers to move forward in their relationship to Christ is to remind them of all they stand to gain if they persevere and remain faithful to the Lord. And what did they have to gain? The privilege of ruling and reigning with Christ in His kingdom.
Listen carefully to what Paul says in Romans 8:17: “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
If you have trusted in Christ as your Savior, then you are God’s child. And if you are God’s child, then you are His heir—you have eternal life—and you will enter Christ’s kingdom when He establishes it here on earth.
But the rest of the verse states: “and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
If you want to be co-heirs with Christ—if you want to share in His glory, ruling and reigning with Him in His kingdom—then you need to share in His sufferings—you need to persevere in the faith and remain obedient to Him.
Entering Christ’s earthly kingdom is a free gift that is accepted by faith. But ruling with Christ in His kingdom is a reward for faithful followers. Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:12: “If we endure, we will also reign with Him.”
So, if you want to reign with Christ in His kingdom—if you want significant duties to fulfill in the millennium—then you must continue to follow Christ.