Hebrews 1

Read Hebrews 1. [Note: the schedule I put together for reading through the New Testament moves around so that there is some variety in our readings. That’s why we’re not starting Mark today even though we finished Matthew yesterday.]

One of the challenges to our faith comes in the form of “pluralism”–the idea that every religion leads to the one and only God. Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6), so we believe that Christianity is the exclusive way to God.

That’s not a popular idea, as you know. Even Christians, at times, have speculated that God might save people outside of Christianity in nations or tribes where there is no Christian witness.

Hebrews 1 provides some important information that explains why pluralism is wrong. It is true that God has spoken throughout human history “in various ways” (v. 1). The writer of Hebrews, though, wants us to know that “in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (v. 2a).

Christ, the Son of God, is uniquely qualified to reveal God to us because he “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being,” Being God himself, Jesus could reveal God to us as no other person or angel (vv. 5-14) ever could.

Furthermore, Christ has “provided purification for sins” (v. 3), something that no other religion, revelation, or spirit being can do.

It is impossible, then, for any other religion to save someone or reveal God to anyone because there is only one God and Christ is the only one capable of revealing him and reconciling us with him.

Despite the pressures we feel from pluralism, we must maintain our conviction that Christ is the only way to God. If we give up (or just get careless) about this truth, it will weaken every conviction we have as Christians and kill our motivation to spread the gospel message.

Hebrews 1

We’ve finished reading Matthew’s Gospel; the schedule today calls for us to read Hebrews 1.

God created us with a desire to worship him. When we rebelled against him, that desire to worship him remained but has now been bent by the sinful nature within each of us. A worshipper who is morally bent will look for something else to worship besides God and that means worshipping what God created instead of the Creator himself. This “worship” does not always take the form of bowing down in prayer and praise to something other than God. It can take the form of fascination with something or someone other than God.

The book of Hebrews was written to teach Jewish people that Jesus is better than whatever else fascinates them. Christ as God’s messenger is the focus (vv. 1-2) and the author of Hebrews argued that Christ was superior to other messengers from God, namely angels.

The author of Hebrews does not disrespect angels or deny their importance (or existence!). Instead, the author described the greatness of Christ (vv. 2b-3) and then set out to demonstrate the many ways in which Christ is superior to them (vv. 4-14). First, his name is superior to their name (vv. 4-5). Second, the exaltation he receives as God (vv. 6-13) shows him to be greater than the role of servant that angels have for believers (v. 14). Angels are important agents in God’s creation, but they are merely created beings not the Creator himself, which Jesus is.

I don’t recall ever meeting someone who worshipped angels, but there are people who have more of an interest in the supernatural and the afterlife than they do in God. They want to see “those pearly gates” or figure out who the Beast in Revelation is, or decode some hidden message they believe is in the Bible. Some people are fascinated by believers from the past or images of the virgin Mary on a tortilla or some other aspect of theology or spirituality or paranormal activity. All of these are ways in which people miss the greatness of Jesus because of their fascination. While they may not intend to steal glory from Christ, they dishonor him by focusing on something besides him that is subservient to him.

Has that happened for you? Is there any aspect of spiritual life that fascinates you more than the Lord Jesus? If so, allow this passage refocus your mind on the glories of our Lord Jesus Christ.