This Son is Superior (Hebrews 1:3-4)
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, ⁴having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. —Hebrews 1:3-4
Everything in the book of Hebrews points to Christ as the superior and final agent of God’s redemption and revelation. We see this theme most clearly in this week’s verses. Drawing from Psalm 2 and Psalm 110, the writer of Hebrews makes seven stunning affirmations about the Son of God.
The Son is the heir of all things. Everything culminates in Christ. The mission work of this age is to bring to Christ what rightfully belongs to him.
The Son is the creator of all things. Though the second person of the Trinity is not mentioned by name in the creation account, we see in Genesis that God created by the action of his divine speech. This word spoken is to be identified with the Word who later became incarnate.
The Son is the sustainer of all things. Every proton, every electron, every compound, every particle and planet, every star and galaxy is upheld by his powerful word.
The Son is the revelation of God. He is the manifestation of God’s presence, not merely a reflection of the divine glory but the radiance of it. He is the exact imprint of God, same in essence and nature. Christ shows us God as he truly is.
The Son made purification for our sins. He took away the stain and guilt of sin, not just as a shadow of greater things to come (like the former sacrifices), but as the substance of all that had been prefigured.
The Son sat down. Just like a mother sitting down at the end of the day because the kids are finally in bed and the kitchen is clean, so Christ sat down at the right hand of God because his work had been accomplished. The enthronement was complete (Ps. 110:1) and the priestly task completed once for all (Herews 9:25-26).
The Son, therefore, has become much superior to angels. He is superior to these heavenly messengers because God’s final word has been spoken through them. None will come after him. Our great salvation has come—confirmed by signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Spirit—and it shall never be surpassed (2:1-4).
God has spoken by his Son, and this Son is superior to all persons, heavenly beings, institutions, rituals, and previous means of revelation and redemption. That’s the big idea in 1:1-4 and throughout the book of Hebrews. Christ is superior to angels (chs. 1-2), to Moses (ch. 3), to Joshua (chs. 3-4), to Aaron (ch. 5), to Abraham (ch. 6), to Melchizedek (ch. 7), to the old covenant (ch. 8), to the tabernacle (ch. 9), to the high priest (ch. 10), and the hope of the promise (ch. 11), the kingdom (ch. 12), and to the city to come (13). The Son is our Great Superlative, surpassing all others because in him we have the fullness and finality of God’s redemption and revelation.
Which of these seven affirmation seems particularly relevant for you this week?
What person or thing are you tempted to believe is bigger than Christ?
How does the superiority of the Son comfort, encourage, and convict you?