By: Gary L. Hutchens
The book of Hebrews gives a great deal of attention to emphasize the superiority of Christ, the gospel, Christianity and the church over Moses, the old law and Judaism. In doing so, the writer provides a lot of information about Christ, giving Him much glory in the process. Note briefly several points made in just the first three verses of the first chapter…
During Old Testament times, God spoke through prophets. But in bringing into being His ultimate plan for man’s salvation, God communicated the gospel to us through His Son (Heb. 1:1-2). Christ did not just appear on this earth, He did not just go to the cross to bear our sins. He personally proclaimed God’s will for man during His ministry on this earth. There is no way to rightly accept Christ without also accepting His teachings (Rom. 1:16; 2 Jn. 1:9).
Christ is said to be the heir of all things. This is probably a reference to Ps. 2:7-8 and a part of God’s eternal purpose through Christ (Eph. 3:11). While the first chapter of Genesis speaks of God creating the universe, the Hebrews writer points to the oneness of the Father and the Son in noting that Christ was there and active in the work of creation (Heb. 1:2).
When the apostle Philip asked the Lord to show them the Father, Jesus said, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father…” (Jn. 14:8-9). The Hebrews writer reinforces this truth by describing Christ as “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person,” comparing Him with the Father (Heb. 1:3). “Express image” is powerful in its effect to convey the very understanding that Jesus expressed to Philip. Interestingly, this is the same word, perhaps with a little different shade of meaning, as is used in Heb. 11:1 to describe the essence of our faith.
The reason for Christ dying on the cross was to pay the debt for the guilt of our sins. Later in this same book, the writer goes into some detail in discussing the great blessing of His sacrifice (Heb. 9:25-28). In the fruit of the vine, we remember the blood that He shed on the cross for the remission of our sins (Matt. 26:28). We contact the power of that blood in baptism (Acts 2:38; 22:16).
Physical death could not keep Christ in the tomb. He arose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:20), ascended to Heaven (Acts 1:9-11) and is presently at the right hand of God (Acts 2:32-33).
We learn all of this about our Savior in just the first three verses of this one book from God’s word- “Hebrews.” When we consider even this much of all that we are told about our Lord, truly we must conclude that we have a most glorious Savior, indeed…
Gary L. Hutchens