85 The Supremacy of Christ
As we take a closer look at the book of Hebrews we discover it was written to a group of people who had left the temple worship with its traditions, ceremony and ritual to meet in a house church and follow Jesus. But now they were having second thoughts and are considering returning to the worship at the temple and all they were accustomed to. The book of Hebrews reminds them that Jesus Christ is supreme and greater then all the temple holds important. What ever you can name Jesus is greater: Angels, Moses, the High Priests, Abraham, Sacrifices - Jesus is greater than them all. Come and join us on this journey as we celebrate Jesus.
The Supremacy of Jesus Christ.
The Focus of the Book of Hebrews is to remind those Jewish Christians who were tempted to return to Judaism (Temple Centered Worship) that Jesus is far superior to Angels, Moses, High Priests, Abraham, and all Animal Sacrifices.
Here is the evidence for the above claim.
Hebrews 2:1 NLT So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. Hebrews 3:6, 12 NLT Hebrews 6:18 NLT Hebrews 10:35-39 NLT So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! 36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. 37 “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. 38 And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” 39 But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.
The book of Hebrews is written for those who have received the Holy Spirit and are familiar with Judaism
This temptation to return to Judaism was real because: They were persecuted by the Jews and the Romans (Like Paul was doing. Like Steven’s death. Like what happened in Rome under Nero.) They had no grand temple where they could worship and sacrifice They had no concrete priests and rituals They had lost the fellowship of family and friends Jesus had promised to return. He had ascended 30 years ago and he had not returned.
1. to Angels (1:13-14)
And God never said to any of the angels, (Not even to Gabriel!) But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.
12 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 14. Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.
2. to Moses (3:3-6)
“Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.” (Psalms 110:1)
But Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself.
4 For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God. 5 Moses was certainly faithful in God’s house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later.
6 But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.
Moses brought them out of slavery, led them for 40 years, wrote the Torah and Job. His writings had inspired and guided them for over a thousand years. Jesus superior to Moses?
3. to Aaron and all High Priests (4:14-16),(7:11, 18-20):
So if the priesthood of Levi, on which the law was based, could have achieved the perfection God intended, why did God need to establish a different priesthood, with a priest in the order of Melchizedek instead of the order of Levi and Aaron?
4. to Abraham [7:4-7]
So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings’ we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. 18 Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it was weak and useless. 19 For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope,through which we draw near to God. 20 This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath,Consider then how great this Melchizedek was. Even Abraham, the great patriarch of Israel,recognized this by giving him a tenth of what he had taken in battle.
5 Now the Law of Moses required that the priests, who are descendants of Levi, must collect a tithe from the rest of the people of Israel, who are also descendants of Abraham. 6 But Melchizedek, who was not a descendant of Levi, collected a tenth from Abraham. And Melchizedek placed a blessing upon Abraham, the one who had already received the promises of God. 7 And without question, the person who has the power to give a blessing is greater than the one who is blessed.
And Jesus is of the order of Melchizedek (7:15-17) “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”
5. To all other Sacrifices (9:11-12).
15 This change has been made very clear since a different priest, who is like Melchizedek, hasappeared. 16 Jesus became a priest, not by meeting the physical requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed. 17 And the psalmist pointed this out when he prophesied,11 So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. 12 With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.
We can boldly enter the MHP of heaven (10:19), where God’s presence is. Not only can we enter there but when we get these we discover we are in God’s heart.
The Warning (6:4-6)
There is a serious warning to those who have experienced the Freedom of Christ who want to return to the law and rituals of Moses and human traditions. Those who wanted to give up being Believers to return to Obedience to forms as a way of Salvation This is not about backsliding and then returning to faith. It is deliberate rejection of Jesus as the Saviour.
4 For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come— 6 and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.
Jesus is the supreme prophet, the authentic revelation of God. He is not a partial revelation, meaning that he came to reveal God’s love and not his justice. God’s justice is in redeeming people who never chose to be sinners but found themselves in this chaos caused by rebellion against God by Lucifer and Adam and Eve.
Jesus does not come a second time to punish rebels but to rescue saints from an imploding planet (Hebrews 9:28; Revelation 6:15-17).
He is greater than Noah, Abraham, Moses, every human High Priest, Samuel, Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, John the Baptist, Paul of Damascus, John the Revelator.
No wonder the prophets say he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. No wonder he is the wonder of adoring angels and perceptive humans. So Paul can write this peon of praise for the One he hated before he saw the light on the Damascus Road.
Philippians 2:5-11 NLT
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. (He did not want to suffer and die on a cross rejected of all.) 89 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Faith moves beyond the tangible to the reality Jesus came to reveal. We trust magnetism, gravity, and the forces in the nucleus which are phenomena we cannot see or explain. We accept they are there because of the visible effects they cause.
The reality of Jesus Christ is experienced not proved. Gravity works for everyone on the planet. Some know the laws and theoretical explanations of the cause of gravity but this does not affect how gravity affects them. It is not understanding but experience which convinces one of the reality of gravity and influence of Jesus Christ and the Spirit. The most powerful force in the universe is not the splitting of the atom but experiencing the unconditional love of God for me as demonstrated by the willingness of Jesus to go to the end of pain and rejection because of his affection for me.
Ian Hartley, November 2021.