Reflections For Life
JESUS IS GREATER
RUN THE RACE | THE HEBREWS SERIES
Hebrews 1 : 5 - 2 : 4
Pastor Lou Gallo
April 5, 2020
Read Hebrews 1:5-2:4
Throughout the book the author will use Old Testament evidence to prove that Jesus has established a new and greater covenant. It’s the Old Testament that testifies to Jesus as the greater sacrifice, greater priest, the greater prophet, and the greater king!
Hebrews 1:5-6 says, “For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? 6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God's angels worship him.”
The main theme of Hebrews chapters 1 and 2 is that Jesus is greater than the angels.Why angels? Why two chapters about angels?
Throughout the Old Testament, angels were known to appear in human form, they minister before the very throne of God, they guide and protect humans, and the Bible says that they revealed the Law to Moses. Now it’s not clear if the Bible is referring to the 10 Commandments or the whole law – which Jewish tradition said consisted of 613 commands.
The author connects the angels to to the Law – to the Old Covenant!The author wants to establish that Jesus is greater than the angels because the author of Hebrews is encouraging Jewish Christians not to turn away from Jesus and turn back to the Law due to persecution.
The original hearers were suffering because they were Christians and the temptation to avoid persecution was great. Turning back to the Law would give them some comfort and relief!
What is meant by Jesus is the Son of God and what is meant that He is “begotten” and the “first-born?”
The doctrine of the Trinity says that within the one, undivided God there are three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It’s one of those mysteries that requires faith – we can’t logically understand it.
Yet, it is one of the most important doctrines of the Christian faith and usually, it comes to the question; Who is Jesus? Was He just a good man? Was He a prophet?Or, is He fully God?
The beauty of the Trinity is that while all the persons of the Trinity are completely equal in their nature and attributes, however, they have different roles. You can’t be a Christian and not believe that Jesus is fully God!
This word ‘begotten’ and ‘first-born creates some confusion.Does it mean that Jesus is not eternal and had a beginning?It doesn’t mean that Jesus was made or conceived by the Father. It doesn’t mean that there was a point in time, even if it was before creation, when Jesus did not exist. Jesus, like the Father and the Spirit are eternal. No beginning and no end!
The word, begotten, helps us to understand the relationship between God the Father and God the Son, not Jesus’ origin.The word begotten helps us to understand the unique role of the Son of God.Begotten at least means; Jesus is the only one like Himself. He is unique.
The angels are called sons of God, God’s children are called sons of God.But there is only one SON OF GOD!
In a similar way, Hebrews 1:6 says, “And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God's angels worship him.”
Jesus has the rights and privileges of a firstborn son, especially the son of a king who inherits the Throne.So, “first-born”like begotten, has to do with Jesus’ role, not His origin.
The point the author of Hebrews is making is that the angels are connected to the Old Covenant and if Jesus is greater than the angels – follow Jesus! Run the Race in Christ!
The author of Hebrews warns his hearers and he warns us too…
Hebrews 2:1-4, “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
Therefore! Means in light of all that has been said so far…
This is the first of five warning passages in the book of Hebrews.
The argument here is from the lessor to the greater. If the message declared by angels was true and every transgression or disobedience was punished. How much more is true of the message of the Son of God!!
The whole book of Hebrews starts with the words, “But in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son…”
If we drift away from His Son we are in danger of neglecting our great salvation. Drifting away here means turning away. The word is apostasy. It means you once believed and now you don’t.
How can we drift away?
How can we drift away? Certainly, we can say by neglecting God’s Word, prayer, serving, fellowship, worship, etc. will have an effect on our hearts.
But this is, in chapter 2 is more than just struggling with doubt. This is turning away from Jesus to something else! In the case of the Hebrews – back to the Law to avoid persecution.
If we’re not anchored to our relationship with Christ – our hearts will grow cold and we can drift away. If we’re not constantly, coming to Christ, depending on Christ, trusting Christ, following Christ, confessing to Christ. We are in danger of turning away!
If we take sin lightly and do not vigorously apply the gospel to our lives – we run the risk of drifting.
If we think about the times we’re living in…there are many temptations that rage against us. If those temptations take root in our minds and hearts – we run the risk of drifting.
The danger of drifting is neglecting. Neglecting this great salvation.
When temptations to turn away from Christ take root in our hearts we are in danger of neglecting our great salvation.This time of isolation is such a wonderful opportunity to really ask ourselves these hard questions.
The fact is we have a great salvation!!
Verse 3 asks, “How shall we escape?”How shall we escape the punishment our sins deserve? How shall we escape the hopelessness of the world, the fear the world brings.
Maybe in the middle of this worldwide virus crisis you are asking, “Where’s God?” So many people are dying! And maybe you’re tempted to get off the path of following Christ.
Questions for Reflection:
Why did the author of Hebrews focus so much on angels?
Where are we tempted to turn away from Jesus?
Where are we tempted to find comfort in things other than Jesus?
Where’s your confidence? What do you look to for security?
How do you regularly anchor yourself to God’s word to stay on the path and run the race in Christ?
We pray that this exercise will strengthen your relationship with the Lord as you draw near with confidence.