As we noted last week, the letter to the Hebrews is unusual because it reads almost like the transcript of a sermon instead of a letter, and the “title” of the sermon would be something like “Remember Why Christianity is Better Than Judaism.” The very first words set the stage for this comparison by noting that the authority of Jesus’ words supersedes that of the old testament’s prophets. The implied contrast between Jesus and the prophets is based on exactly the same point that He Himself made to the Pharisees in John 8:34-51 (that a “son” outranks a “servant” in the Father’s house). The Hebrews writer will go on to reinforce this point in chapter 3:1-6. In Matthew 17:4, when Peter proposed that he, James, and John should erect three “tabernacles” on the mount of transfiguration in honor of Moses (symbol of the Law), Elijah (symbol of the prophets), and Jesus, his words provoked an immediate response from heaven (vs. 5) – “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”
Two more important points are seen in verses 2-3 of Hebrews 1, that give us perspective the difference between Jesus and the prophets of old: 1) Jesus was the “active agent” in creating the universe (“…he made the worlds;” vs. 2), and 2) that it is Jesus Who keeps the universe and the laws of nature “going” (He “…[upholds] all things by the word of his power,” vs. 3). The statement here that Jesus was actively involved in creation helps us understand the significance of the word “us” in Genesis 1:26, and reinforces the previous point, that Jesus’ word – as God in human form, John 1:14 – takes precedence over that of Moses and the prophets.
Likewise, the description in verse 3, of Jesus as “the express image of his [the Father’s] person” helps us grasp exactly what He meant when He told Philip in John 14:9 that, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’”
One additional fact from Hebrews 1 that should be of interest to every Christian comes from verses 13-14; angels serve God for the benefit of the saved! Every child of God should be humbled to think that the One Who made the universe (vs. 2), Who maintains the universe (vs. 3), and Who is served by angels (vs. 6) is the same One Who has cleansed US from the guilt and stain of our sins (vs. 3) by offering Himself in our place (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 5:7; & 2 Corinthians 5:21). The point here about angels’ service is NOT to give us details about “how” they serve, but to emphasize how highly God values US!