BELIEVE IT OR NOT

Who is JESUS, Really?

00022902_hHebrews 1:1-3 (Amplified Bible):

IN MANY separate revelations [each of which set forth a portion of the Truth] and in different ways God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets.

[But] in the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a ] Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time [He made, produced, built, operated, and arranged them in order].

He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high.

JESUS IS “BETTER” –

Jesus is BETTER, is mentioned thirteen times alone in the The Letter to the Hebrews— to show the superiority of JESUS to other religious systems.

  • Christ is “superior” than the angels (1:4).
  • Jesus brought a “better” hope (7:19), because He is the MEDIATOR of a “better” covenant…
  • Which was established upon “better” promises (8:6).

[Warren Wiersbe: “Be Confident” (Wheaton, Ill; Victor Books, 1982) p. 8]

THIS LETTER in Hebrews, is written to a group of people who are about ready to give up on their faith–

This group of Jewish Christians, who more than likely met together regularly, seemed to be at a standstill spiritually and in danger of going backwards (Hebrews 5:12).

They are urged strongly by the writer of the LETTER–take stock of what JESUS has to offer and not give into FEAR or DOUBT and stay the course:

“God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets, in the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a ] Son…”  (verses 1 b. & 2 a.).

Ever since the world began, God has been speaking to His creation at different times and different ways; sometimes by direct communication, and sometimes through DREAMS & VISIONS.

But most of all, through His prophets.

IN BIBLICAL TIMES when a prophet of God spoke…His people listened.  The reason was simple:  When a prophet spoke, the people knew they were hearing from God.

The Apostle Peter says,

“For no prophecy ever originated because some man willed it [to do so–it never came by human impulse], but men spoke from God who were borne along (moved and impelled) by the Holy Spirit”  (2 Peter 1:21).

During the Old Testament Period…

GOD SPOKE to His people through the prophets.  This self-disclosure was timely and partial in nature and was spread over a period of at least 10 centuries and…it was given in a variety of means.

Today, GOD’S MESSAGE is no longer spoken through the prophets but is spoken through God’s very own Son, JESUS.

The prophets of old were merely instruments in the hand of God BUT…

He was the VISIBLE presence of the INVISIBLE God–

Formally, the REVELATION OF GOD was fragmentary but now it is COMPLETE!

Formally, it was PARTIAL, and now it is PERFECT!

Formally, it was PREPARATORY, but now it is FULFILLED!

God did not entrust His FULL REVELATION to be given by man…

God took the initiative to DECLARE it Himself through His Son.

As John MacArthur states in his commentary, “Every religion is but man’s attempt to discover God.  Christianity is God bursting into man’s world and showing and telling man what He is like.”  [John MacArthur: MacArthur’s New Testament Commentary – Hebrews (Chicago Moody Press 1983) p. 3 ]

THE “SEVEN GOOD REASONS” THAT JESUS IS SO MUCH BETTER!

While reading the three verses in Hebrews in study, I wrote down the reasons I found in my study notebook.

VERSE 2 –  “Who He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of ALL THINGS, also by and through Whom He created the world…”

VERSE 3 –  “the sole expression of the glory of God…upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His word of power…”

FIRST, He is Heir of All Things! (verse 2)

Since Jesus Christ is the Son and particularly the ONLY Son of God, He is also the HEIR, the sole HEIR of ALL THINGS.

 He is the HEIR because and He is…

SECOND, He is the CREATOR of All Things!  (verse 2)

Colossians 1:16-17:

[16] For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him. 

[17] And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together).

The Apostle Paul explains that ALL THINGS were created by Him and for Him.

John says, in the Gospel of John, that “All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being” (1:3).

Interestingly, it says in HEBREWS, “He created the worlds”.

The word translated “world” here is not the normal Greek word (kosmos), but rather (aionos), which means “the ages”.

JESUS not only made the universe but He brought SPACE, TIME AND MATTER into existence.

JESUS is He, Who was before history, at the beginning of history and will be at the end of history.

He is not only the OPERATOR of the Universe, but…

THIRD, He is the SUSTAINER of the Universe!  (verse 2)

Not only did JESUS “CREATE” ALL THINGS by His Word (John 1:1-5), but He also “UPHOLDS” ALL THINGS by the same powerful WORD.

“Consider…what instant destruction would happen if the earth’s rotation slowed down just a little.  The sun has a surface temperature of 12,000 degrees F.  If it were any closer to us we would burn up, it were any further away we would freeze.  Our globe is tilted on an exact angle of 23 degree, providing us with four seasons.  If it were not tilted, vapors from the oceans would move north and south and develop into monstrous continents of ice.  If the moon did not retain its exact distance from the earth, tides would flood the land completely, twice a day…If the atmosphere did not remain at its present density, but thinned out even a little, many of the meteors which now harmlessly burn up when they hit the atmosphere would constantly bombard us…How does the universe stay in this kind of fantastically delicate balance?  [MacArthur p. 17]

Photo by Chad Blotner @ Bass Pro Shop
Photo by Chad Blotner @ Bass Pro Shop

You can choose to “BELIEVE IT OR NOT”…But the evidence is laid out plainly in the Bible and that’s what I believe when the Word says, “Jesus maintains and sustains the balance of the universe.”

He is not only the SUSTAINER of the Universe, but…

FOURTH, He is the RADIANCE of God’s Glory!  (verse 3)

“He is the sole expression of the glory of God”

No mere prophet could ever make the claim.

FIFTH, He is the EXACT REPRESENTATION Of His Father!

“He is the PERFECT imprint and very IMAGE of [God’s] nature”

The word translated “IMAGE” (character) carries the idea that JESUS is the EXACTNESS of the very substance of God.  What we know of the CHARACTER OF GOD, we know through Christ Jesus!

At the beginning of the Gospel of John, an explanation is given to us clearly:

No man has ever seen God at anytime; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God,  Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has DECLARED Him…  (John 1:18).

The word translated “declared” is literally (exegeomai – Greek), meaning He “exegeted”, or “explained” (New American Standard bible – NAS) Him.

The goal should be for every Bible Teacher, myself included, is to “exegete” or explain the Scripture,  JESUS exegeted or explained God.

Later in the Gospel, when the disciple Philip asked Jesus to show him the Father, He replied, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father…”  (John 14:9).

There is not one feature of God’s character that JESUS doesn’t reveal.

He not only is the EXACT REPRESENTATION of God the Father, BUT…

SIXTH, He is the REDEEMER of All Men!

“Offering Himself…cleansing us from our sins…”

When JESUS went to the CROSS, He solved the problem of SIN…Forever, Once for all time!

The apostle Peter puts it this way in 1 Peter 1:18-19:

[18] “You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from [your] forefathers, not with corruptible things [such as] silver and gold.

[19] But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ (the Messiah), like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot.”

JESUS is not only the REDEEMER OF MANKIND, but…

SEVENTH, He is RULER of the Universe!

“when He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high”

That phrase is ‘mind-blowing’ to me as I began to think and meditate deeply of its implications to all of mankind.

“He sat down.” 

Few other statements in the Bible are filled with such great importance.  In my research, I came upon the following noteworthy commentary by Marv Rosenthal:

“We know a great deal about the temple (in Jerusalem) and its furnishings, but fascinately, there were no chairs in this billion dollar building that took 48 years to complete.  There were no chairs because the priests of Israel never sat down.  They never sat down because their work was never done.  Their work was never done because the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin.  It was a stop-gap, it was temporary, it was incomplete.  And so, priest after priest, course after course, year after yer, century after century, with monotonous repetition, would come to the Temple and they would function, but they would never sit down.  They could never rest for their work was never done, the task was never complete”  [See Footnote [i]].

BUT JESUS once for all time paid the PENALTY FOR SIN!

And so Jesus offered Himself as the “once for all time” SACRIFICE for sin.

The work was  now completed and never gain to be repeated.  

“He sat down”–that the significance of Christ’s Words from the Cross when He shouted (telestai)

“It is finished” (John 19:30).

And then “He sat down”–His work is finished.  

“He sat down”–His position is fixed.

None of the angels held such a position of honor in heaven.

Seated in Honor JESUS remains SUPERIOR!

4_jesus-throne

 


FOOTNOTES & CREDITS –

Footnote [i] :  Israel My Glory: “He Sat Down” (April/May 1987) p. 4

Photo Credits:  Google Image, except where noted below photo.

Bible Translation Used:  Amplified Bible.

Commentaries used as note in the text.

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