Believe Jesus: Amazing!
Saying of Jesus “My Lord and my God” has profound consequences, and to be honest, it is much easier to say something else – something less demanding. Effectively, this is what many of the sects and cults do, in claiming to honour Jesus, but not deifying him; and this was something the recipients of the letter to the Hebrews were under pressure to do also. It would have solved so many problems to say that Jesus wasn’t really God, but an angel (or spaceman, or great healer or teacher). Angels are very impressive after all (Rev 19:10)…
What are angels?
Some angels have a human-like appearance (Mk 16:5). Sometimes they shine (Lk 2:9) Some of them have wings (Is 6:2). Angels offer constant worship around the throne of God and serve as his messengers (Hb malak; Gk angelos = “messenger”). An angel spoke to Moses in the wilderness; showed Daniel a vision; announced the births of John and Jesus. At times angels function as heaven’s Special Forces, springing people from jail and killing others off. Angels are the great cosmic harvesters (Mt 13:39) who will reap in God’s people at the end of the ages.
Angels are impressive! Which is why their normal greeting is, “Do not be afraid!”
Angels are amazing, but it is amazing what they cannot do. Hebrews 1 shows us how Jesus is superior to the angels. It closes out the options so that we see how much more amazing Jesus is – and then we get to see how amazing our salvation is!
Jesus’ amazing name
Jesus is eternally the Son, just as the Father is eternally Father. That which was revealed in part in the Old Testament is now openly declared. Paul says something similar in Romans 1:4, “He was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.” The Son is not merely a messenger. He doesn’t just speak of God: He is God!
Jesus’ amazing honour
Angels worship the Son, because he is the ‘firstborn’, the prototokos – the first in rank and priority.
Jesus’ amazing rule
Angels are servants while the Son is sovereign. The angels (and everything else) are created and contingent but the Son is unchanging. He is a king who rules with perfect justice, and no human frailty, which brings joy to his people. The Son is ultimately happy and will bring his people into full joy.
Jesus’ amazing salvation
Because Jesus is more than an angel he does what no angel can do. While angels serve us, Jesus saves us. He is saving, and will save his people, with a salvation that is complete.
It is better to be human than an angel – Amazing!
Verse 14 describes angels as ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation. This is amazing – why is it that angels serve Christians? Because we have received something more amazing than they have!
Angels don’t experience salvation as we do. We are given privileges that angels do not share and tasks that angels are unable to complete. While angels can function as God’s messengers, their task more often is to help us share the message!
We mustn’t settle for a shrunken Jesus – not even an angelic Jesus. Doing so won’t make life easier – it will make it small.