Have you ever just wanted God to whisper in your ear? To tell you why it hurts right now? which choice to make? How to handle your conflicted desires? How to forgive hurt? To point the way to starting life over? To explain why He did or didn’t act in a situation? To make it clear what He would like you to do for Him? To give you permission to give up or energy to carry on?
The epistle to the Hebrews seeks to present to readers the message from God – it begins the truth that God speaks to us today. God used to speak in plain ways in the days of the prophets. The prophets delivered messages about repentance/warnings/ Signs of Messiah. The Hebrews had followed Jesus but it seems were questioning that decision. Maybe because of persecution or family pressures or disappointment in life. They were drawn back to old familiar ways of life – Life before Jesus / without Jesus.
A Relevant question: How many today decide to try to live without Jesus? Christians can even fall into this trap – depending on themselves, neglecting the spiritual life, falling into worldly attitudes. What would God say about all of this? He would tell us to listen to Jesus. So that’s what the book of Hebrews is about – listening to Jesus as the source of life. Hebrews begins with the foundational truth of the entire epistle: Jesus is our All in All, He is God’s Son, grace-filled, and worthy of our devotion and commitment.
Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. 2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. 3 The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. 4 This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names.Hebrews 1:1-4, NLT
1. GOD HAS ALWAYS DESIRED TO BE KNOWN
“He began revealing himself to us in the Garden of Eden, as he showed us his love for beauty and order in his creation. He revealed the power of his wrath in the Flood and his ability to save in the ark. He revealed his ability to deliver us from captivity and bring us to the Promised Land in the story of the Israelites’ escape from Egypt. He revealed his love for holiness and righteousness in the Law. He revealed his plan for the ages through the prophets. And he gave us some hints about how he was going to take care of our sin problem in the building of the Tabernacle and in the festivals, feasts, and sacrifices. …”Nancie Guthrie, Hoping for Something Better
Many ways. Literally means “in many portions”.
“God spoke through a rainbow (to Noah), an angel (to Hagar), dreams (to Joseph), a burning bush (to Moses), Urim and Thummim (to high priests), a small voice (to Elijah) and a vision in the temple (to Isaiah).”Edward Fudge, Hebrews
“He would have us know how He loves us and longs for us, how He wants to save and to bless, how He would have us draw nigh and live in fellowship with Himself.”Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All
God desires to be known and he has moved in history to reveal himself to the Creation. To you and to me.
2. ONLY JESUS COULD REVEAL THE FATHER TO US. (Hebrews 1:2-4)
Jesus reveals the Father to us. Guthrie: In Jesus God is saying, ‘I want to show you who I am.’ It is in watching Jesus love, care for, listen to, and heal that we begin to know God. Because God is infinite in every way, we never stop growing in our knowledge of Him. Jesus is uniquely qualified to reveal the Father to us:
1. He is the Eternal Son of God – as a part of the Trinity, Jesus has always existed.
2. He the Heir of all things. Naturally the Son is the Heir and all that the Father has belongs to Him… He is the only rightful heir. (Lightfoot) Guthrie: “Jesus, the Son of God, can make good on all that he has promised to give us. Why? Because he has all the resources. He is the heir of all things.”
Romans 8:16b-17a “…We are God’s children.And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory.”
Jesus is heir of all things, and through Him we are heirs of God.
3. Jesus is Creator of all things. Romans 11:36 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen. Jesus knows the Father like no one else can.
4. Jesus radiates the glory of God.
AMP: The Son is the radiance and only expression of the glory of [our awesome] God [reflecting God’s Shekinah glory, the Light-being, the brilliant light of the divine], and the exact representation and perfect imprint of His [Father’s] essence…
Jesus reflects God’s Glory (presence). Mohler: “The idea of ‘radiance’ goes back to the notion of the shekinah glory in the Old Testament. The shekinah was a shining, visible glory that demonstrated the majesty of God, and in the exodus (Exod 13:21; 40:34-35) and at the dedication of Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 8:10-11). Looking at Christ is the way we see most fully the glory of God.”
Colossians 1:15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation.
5. Jesus expresses the character of God. Hebrews 1:3 The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God… The Greek word here appearing only here in the NT, refers to an exact reproduction…He is exactly like the Father. (Lightfoot).
6. Jesus possesses the power of God (Hebrews 1:3b and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.)
7. Jesus fulfills the ultimate desire of God to make us His own (Hebrews 1:3c When he had cleansed us from our sins). He could have done all the things previously ascribed to Him and remained in heaven. But in order to deal with sin He had to come to earth and become man. (Lightfoot)
8. Jesus Reigns Beside God Today. He is like the Father, worthy of our worship. Hebrews 1:3d he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. Right hand indicates place of power and highest honor .. sat down implies dignity and dominion (Lightfoot)
3. THIS IS THE SAME JESUS WHO IS OUR ALL IN ALL TODAY!
A. In His Presence we Repent. When we consider the majestic Son of God and that we are in His presence, We are ruined.
“It is when we realize that we are ruined, that we can’t clean up our act ourselves, that we recognize, perhaps for the first time, how relevant Jesus is. Jesus is the sin purifier. His blood is the only cleanser that will take away the stains sin has left in our lives. … Have you ever realized that you are ruined by sin, desperately in need of the sin purifier? Have you ever asked the sin purifier to come into your life and clean up the mess you have made?”Nancy Guthrie, Hoping for Something Better
Jesus put himself at our level so he could bring us up to his level. (Barclay)
B. In His Presence we Worship. He is ultimate (Hebrews 1:4 This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names.)
“If I were favored this day with the visit of an angel – what a privilege I would count it. But Christ, the Son at the right hand, will not only visit but also dwell in me.” …. The great work of God in heaven – the chief thought and longing of His heart – is to reach your heart and speak to you through His Son. oh, let it be the great work of your life, and the great longing of your heart, to know this Jesus.”Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All
C. In His Presence we decide. Will He be the foundation of your faith today?
1. We are midway through the summer break! What was your favorite Summer Vacation?
2. God spoke many times and in many ways. With the group brainstorm some various ways that God spoke to His people. In what ways does God speak to us today?
3. First century Christians were in danger of giving up due to the drastic amounts of persecution. Jewish Christians especially had it hard as they were breaking free from Jewish legalities into the fullness of the gospel. How would you encourage a friend who was losing the grip of faith in their life? In what ways might today’s text be a help in this matter?
4. A pop song from twenty years ago asked, ‘What if God was one of us?’ A provocative thought. In this passage, Jesus is shown coming to earth for a period of time to become one of us. Using your imagination, if Jesus were to come to earth today … where do you see Jesus spending his time? How do you think religious people would receive him? Would sinners be glad to be his friend? How do you resolve the conflict of needing to be with the lost to influence them and not allowing the lost to influence you?
5. Read the following verses in Hebrews as a reminder of what Jesus came to do about sin:
c. 8:12; 10:17
6. Brainstorm with the group a list of qualities of God the Father that we see in the character of Jesus.
7. What does it mean to you that Jesus is greater than angels?
8. What else did you see in this text you wanted to talk about?
Resources that will be used in this series.
Barclay, William. The Daily Study Bible Series: The Letter to the Hebrews. Philadelpha: Westminster Press, 1957.
Cockerill, Gareth Lee. New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Epistle to the Hebrews. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012.
Fudge, Edward William. Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today. Abilene: Leafwood Publishers, 2009.
Guthrie, Nancy. Hoping for Something Better: Refusing to Settle for Life as Usual. Tyndale House Publishers, 2007.
Lightfoot, Neil R. Jesus Christ Today: A Commentary on the Book of Hebrews. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1976.
Mohler, R. Albert Jr. Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary: Exalting Jesus in Hebrews. Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2017.
Murray, Andrew. The Holiest of All. New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1996.
Stedman, Ray C. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: Hebrews. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press,1992.