I am about to start a sermon series on the book of Hebrews, and will endeavor to share those messages here. Hebrews ties together the Old and New Testaments by showing how Jesus is carrying forward into the church age the work started by God among the Hebrew people. Written to a Jewish audience, the letter to the Hebrews strives to prove that Christianity is the continuation of Judaism, and not something else entirely. If you have ever questioned why a Christian should read or study the Old Testament, this book will be an eye-opener. Quite simply, most of what God was doing in the Old Testament was meant to help us understand the work of Christ in the New.
In the opening passage of Hebrews 1, we are reminded that God used to speak to us through the prophets. He has spoken “at many times in many ways.” Now he has spoken through his son. I am reminded of a parable Jesus tells about some men renting a vineyard. When the landlord sent a messenger, they attacked and killed him. The same happened to a second messenger. Finally the man sent his son, reasoning that he would be respected and listened to. The evil men killed the son also, believing they would be able to take possession of the vineyard. Jesus was prophesying how the prophets before him had been killed, and how even he – the Son of God – would die at the hands of evil men. Just as in the parable, God had been sending messengers, and now was sending into the world his very own son.
The Son is the “heir of all things” and it is actually through him the world was created. Colossians 1 reiterates that the world was made through him and for him. Other parallels between Heb 1 and Col 1 exist. In Hebrews, the Son is the “imprint” of the glory of the Father. Colossians describes him as “the image of the invisible God.” I’ve always been struck by the idea of having an image of something that was invisible in the first place. But that is one of the very reasons Christ came. No man can look on God and live, but Jesus is God wrapped in flesh. If we want to know what God is like – what value he places on human life, how he feels about sin – then what we do is look at and listen to Jesus. He is God we can see.
“After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High.” Hebrews will later go into great detail not only about how Jesus is a more excellent sacrifice than the blood of bulls or doves but also that he is a better high priest than Aaron or his sons. He has no sins of his own to be forgiven of before making intercession on our behalf. His sacrifice is all sufficient, never having to be repeated as the Levitical priests did over and over again. The opening paragraph of Hebrews is a very good summation of the person and ministry of Jesus Christ. One could easily share the Gospel from just these first three verses.