As I write this, Christmas season is well in swing and is in fact just around the corner.
And in Hebrews, we find out just what Christmas is all about. Who is this Christ that came? And why is he so important?
The writer of Hebrews starts by telling us,
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. (1-2)
In other words, while there were many prophets throughout the centuries, now in these last days, we find one that was greater than them all. Greater than Isaiah and Jeremiah, and Daniel. And while these men spoke many things clouded in mystery, these mysteries were all revealed in Jesus Christ. He is, as John put it, the very Word of God made flesh (John 1:1, 14), and all the scriptures find their fulfillment in him.
But who is he, really?
Jehovah’s Witnesses claim he is the archangel Michael. But the writer of Hebrews flatly denies this.
Instead, he said,
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. (3a)
The picture here is of a signet ring that was put into wax and then pressed onto paper. And Jesus is the exact representation of the very nature of God. All that God is can be seen in Jesus. Jesus himself is the radiance of God’s glory.
The writer then says,
After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. (3b)
Here we see the why of Jesus’ coming. To die on a cross that our sins may be forgiven. But after he died, he rose again, and now is sitting at the right hand of God the Father in glory. And on the day, Jesus rose from the dead, the Father said,
“You are my Son; today I have become your Father.” (Verse 5, but also see Acts 13:32-34 where Paul uses this passage in reference to the resurrection.)
In ancient times, a king who was over another had a “father-son” relationship with the king who was subject to him. God himself said that of his relationship with Solomon (II Samuel 7:14)
And the writer of Hebrews makes very clear, “No angel ever had this said to them. Only Jesus.” (4-5)
More, when God brought Jesus into the world, he said,
Let all God’s angels worship him. (6)
We see that during the angel’s worship in front of the shepherds. And on the day Jesus returns to earth, God will again command, “Let all the angels worship him.”
That’s significant, because only God is worthy of worship. The Father could not say that if Jesus were not one with Him. (Luke 4:8)
And while angels are compared to things created things like wind and fire (7), Jesus is called the eternal God himself, and the creator of all things. (2, 8-12)
Finally, no angel had the position of authority that Jesus has. Rather their job is to serve those who will be saved because of the work Jesus did. (13-14)
In short, as glorious as angels are, Jesus is so much more. He is God himself in human flesh. And when he came, he revealed to us who God really is.
Not only that, but through him and him alone we find salvation from our sins and the gift of eternal life.
That’s what Christmas is all about.
More on this tomorrow.