Jesus taught His disciples that there will be significant rewards for those believers who prepare themselves for His return. One of the best places in all of the Bible to understand what these rewards will be like is found in the book of Hebrews. But for us to fully understand the implications of living and investing our lives the way God has intended us to, we must start at the very beginning of the letter.
The letter to the Hebrew believers doesn’t start with your typical Biblical greeting and stated occasion for writing. The author pulls no punches and gets right to his point, almost as if he were giving a thesis statement for the entire book. He then spends the next 11 chapters fleshing out what he meant by the first verses, before he gets to how it looks when it is lived out. Once we understand his thesis main point, we will have the correct lens in order to see the author’s intended life-application for his readers.
Long ago God spoke to the [Israelite] fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things and through whom He made the universe.
The first thing we are to know is that God has upgraded his message-delivery system. God had previously sent messengers to reach out to the Israelites in a variety of ways – prophets with a wide range of backgrounds, visions, dreams, a talking donkey (seriously!), clouds, a burning bush, even angels – all to get Israel’s attention. What should really get their attention now is Who has been sent in these last days…the very One that made it all in the first place, the One that owns it all.
For further emphasis, they are reminded of exactly who Jesus is…
[Jesus] is the radiance of His glory, the exact expression of His nature and He sustains all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
His qualifications far exceed that of any messenger previously sent by God, and, on top of that – Mission Accomplished. Christ fulfilled the mission God the Father gave to Him. Jesus brought the good news of reconciliation with God through His sacrificial death on the cross. Jesus announced that new life was available in Him and proved it with His resurrection. After charging His disciples to spread the word, Jesus left Earth, and rightfully sat down in the place of highest honor in Heaven.
So He became higher in rank than the angels, just as the name He inherited is superior to theirs.
Wasn’t Jesus, as the second person of the Trinity, already higher in rank than the angels? God the Son was always superior in his identity (his essence as God); BUT NOW, His humanity has inherited a superior rank. While Jesus was living in the flesh as the God-man, we was inferior…he joined us in our inferiority. But by His faithfulness, Jesus fulfilled the words of the angel Gabriel, when he announced Jesus’ birth to Mary:
He will be great
and will be called the Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
The author of Hebrews then presses his point:
For to which of the angels did He ever say
You are My Son, today I have become Your Father (Psalm 2:7),
I will be His Father, and He will be My Son (2 Samuel 7:14)?
And again, when He brings His firstborn into the world, He says
And all God’s angels must worship Him (Psalm 97:7).
Christ – in His humanity and through His faithfulness to complete His work – inherited the title of Son, and has been appointed heir of all things. And as such, He is the Superior Messenger with a message that is superior to all previous messages.
The author states this upfront, because it is the key point to understanding the rest of his letter. If you boiled it down to one sentence, I’m sure he’d say:
DO NOT FORGET WHO IT IS YOU’RE DEALING WITH NOW.