Study 1 THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST
HIGHLIGHTS IN HEBREWS
by Francis Dixon
(Key verses: Hebrews 1:1-3 and 8:14)
In this series we are to consider twelve highlights in the epistle to the Hebrews. This book is massive; we don’t know who the author was, and in a way this doesn’t matter – look up 2 Timothy 3:16. We do know that it was written to Hebrew Christians, that is, to Jews who had moved on from Judaism to Christ, had been born again, but who because of persecution and trial were tempted to go back to their former Jewish religion. What is the theme of the letter? It is the Person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ; this includes His pre-incarnate glory, His incarnation, His life, His teaching and ministry, His death, resurrection and ascension, His present ministry at God’s right hand, and His second coming. It is also the theme of our first study, centred in chapter 1. Verse 1 shows us the splendour and magnificence of the language which is used and tells us that all down the ages God has spoken to men and women through the prophets. All this revelation of God by the spoken Word was authentic, but it was only preparatory. When Jesus came God spoke fully and finally in Him. But who is Jesus Christ? There is no more important question than this and in this first chapter of Hebrews there are two inspired portraits of the Lord Jesus. If we view them separately and then place them together we get a beautiful composite picture of our Lord’s Person and work.
1. PORTRAIT NUMBER ONE (Hebrews 1:2-3)
Who is the Lord Jesus Christ? He is the eternal Son of God, brought out in verse 2 – ”by his Son”. Jesus is the eternal Son of God who became man for our redemption, and the fact that He is the Son of God is asserted in these two verses by seven characteristics which can only be said of deity:-
- 1. He is the “heir of all things” (verse 2). This means that the world was created by Him and for Him. The whole history of this world has been mediated through God’s Son. How great He is!
- 2. He is the creator of the universe (verse 2). It was by Him that the worlds were made (John 1:3); compare Colossians 1:16. This simple statement from Scripture is very satisfying in these days when unregenerate men place a question mark over the biblical account of the creation.
- 3. He is the radiance of God’s glory (verse 3). This is a beautiful expression. It means a shining forth, just as the sunshine in which we revel is the radiance of the sun itself. The Lord Jesus was and is the shining forth of the magnificence and majesty of the eternal God. Bow and worship Him!
- 4. He is the exact representation of His being (verse 3). He is the visible expression of all that God is – look up and compare John 1:18. Jesus is the exact replica of God (John 14:9).
- 5. He is the One who upholds the universe (verse 3). Jesus holds it together and controls it (Colossians 1:17). Science has an answer to the mystery of the universe and has discovered many great laws, but behind these is the Lord Himself.
- 6. He has provided purification for our sins (verse 3). Notice that it is in the past tense: there is no future purgatory because the work is finished.
- 7. He is seated in the place of authority and power (verse 3). The words “right hand” mean the place of power and authority (Matthew 28:19). He is also sitting down because His work is done; no priest of the old dispensation could ever do this because his work was never finished (Hebrews 10:11-12,14).
2. PORTRAIT NUMBER TWO (Hebrews 1:8-14)
Notice again that in verse 8 our Lord is spoken of as “the Son”. But who is He?
- 1. He is the King in His kingdom (verse 8). He is the Son and He has an eternal throne; His administration is always just, and He has a kingdom.
- 2. He is the altogether sinless One (verse 9). Look up 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:26; 9:13-14. He is the sinless Son of God.
- He is the designer of the universe (verse 10). This is a repetition of what we saw in our first portrait, but with more details. The language is very precise.
- 3. He is the eternal creator (verse 11). The Lord Jesus will never “perish”. Everything else will wear out and pass away; He remains the same!
- 4. He is the unchanging One (verse 12). The present system will change and there will be a new heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3:11-13); compare the great words recorded in Hebrews 13:8.
- 5. He is the final conqueror (verse 13). Ultimately He will overcome all His enemies. He is waiting for this time to come when He will manifest His power and put down all who oppose Him (Hebrews 10:13). Never doubt this, and make quite sure that you are on His side now.
- 6. He is the Lord of angels (verse 14). The angels are God’s messengers, who have been described as ’God’s errand boys’! They are sent out by Him to minister to and for those who are the heirs of salvation. This means the angels are commissioned by the Lord Jesus to look after all who belong to Him and trust Him as their Saviour and Lord.
These two portraits show our Lord Jesus in the glory of His unique Person and in the all-sufficiency of His finished work. They present Him as the Son of God - our glorious, sovereign, reigning and soon-coming Lord!