If you were to begin reading the Book of Hebrews with great concentration, you might never want to leave chapter 1. That first chapter establishes Jesus' absolute superiority over the most esteemed prophets and magnificent angels and his sublime preeminence over every other individual in the Bible. Among all the people mentioned in the Word of God, His character alone inspires awe, for who among us can even comprehend Him, much less be like Him in all our ways?
This is the chapter to read when faith flickers and doubts depress us, for it speaks mightily of the One Who authors and perfects our faith (12:2). Chapter 11 of Hebrews is often called the faith chapter, and understandably so, for it speaks of men and women who lived and died with their faith in God intact. Chapter 1, however, is the chapter that inspires our faith, gives us solid reasons to continue in that faith, and paints a vivid picture of a Messiah worthy of our faith.
Chapter 1 describes Jesus as Prophet, Servant, Priest, Suffering Savior, Creator, Warrior, Son, God, and King. It is Jesus who speaks directly to us the very words of God that hold the universe together. He "perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God's nature"(1:3, The Message). He sacrificed Himself for our sins and was the first high priest ever to sit down after a sacrifice was made--there were no chairs in the Tabernacle or the Temple--because His sacrifice was done "once and for all" ( 10:10).
Most importantly, Jesus is the Word, the mode of speech that God uses to communicate to the world. "At many times and in various ways"(1:1) God spoke to His creation through the prophets, but today the avenue God uses to speak to us is the Word, Jesus.
Verse 2 goes on to say that God " has spoken to us by his Son."The interesting part of this is that in the original Greek text, this sentence has no article or possessive; that is, there is no word corresponding to our English word his. The sentence, therefore, literally reads, " He has spoken to us by Son."Said a different way, God speaks Son, just as I speak English and certain friends of mine speak Spanish or French. God's only Son is also His unique language, or Word, for communicating with man.
Since God uses the Son to communicate with mankind, we need to begin to learn His language to adequately and accurately communicate back to God. Jesus tells us the importance of that fact when He says, " No on comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). Jesus did not simply deliver the message of God's plan of salvation--Jesus is the message. At one time the prophets of God were interpreters for God, but now God speaks directly to His people through the character of His Son.
Above all else, Jesus reigns supreme, and " after he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven"(v. 3). He is worthy of the worship of men and of angels, while His enemies become little more than a place to rest His feet (v. 13). This is truly a chapter to encourage the faithful, for in it we find all the reasons we need to place our lives into the hands of the One who sustains "all things by his powerful word" (v. 3). Isn't it good to know that " all things" include even you and me?
By Jim Thornber