Hebrews: Jesus is Greater

Do you realize what you have in Jesus, right now?

One of the greatest truths you’ll receive in your lifetime is this: There’s nothing in your life that’s greater than Jesus. Nothing.

It is possible to grow familiar with who Jesus is and forget what he has done, is doing, and will do. You can grow discouraged and apathetic and distant from Jesus, your first love. You forgot who Jesus is. And something else becomes greater than Jesus.

This is the message of Hebrews. Jesus is greater. He’s greater than your sin. He’s greater than your enemy. He’s greater than your failure. Jesus is greater and there is no other substitute.

Hebrews is not for the shallow of faith. The author will push you into he deep end of the promises and purposes of God. As you swim in the deep waters of this Hebrew you will appreciate more wholly your Rescuer and Redeemer—Jesus the Great.

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12 Reasons Why Jesus is Greater

Here are 12 reasons why Jesus is greater from the book of Hebrews:

1. Jesus is the Greater Messenger than angels (1:2-14)

2. Jesus has the Greater Message than angels (2:1-4)

3. Jesus is Greater Prophet than Moses (3:1-6)

4. Jesus is Greater High Priest than Aaron (4:14-5:5)

5. Jesus is Greater priesthood than Melchizedek (5:6-10)

6. Jesus has the Greater ministry than the Levites (7:9-28)

7. Jesus is the Greater Servant (8:1-6; 9:1-5)

8. Jesus is the Greater Mediator (8:7-13; 9:6-10)

9. Jesus is the Greater Blood Sacrifice (9:11-28)

10. Jesus is the Greater Bodily Sacrifice (10:1-18)

11. Jesus is Greater Example of Faith (11:1-12:3)

12. Jesus has the Greater Origin (12:18-24)

Jesus is the Greater Mediator

When God gives a gift, He gives his best. No one can out do or out give God. He tops the cake. He gives the greatest gift.

What gift could God give that would wow the world? The gift was himself.

The big idea of Hebrews from the beginning until now is that Jesus is the greatest. Above Jesus none is greater! In chapter 8, this idea continues, but focuses moves towards Jesus as the Great High Priest (v.1).

“Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.

Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.

For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said:

“The days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
and I turned away from them,
declares the Lord.

This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more. ”

By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.” – Hebrews 8:1-13, ESV

Think about it, at this very moment, Jesus is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. He is ministering in the true Holy of holies that the earthly tabernacle where priests ministered only represented (vs.2-5). Jesus stepped into the role of High Priest and sacrifice. A role only needed once for all.

Jesus ministers a greater covenant on greater promises (vs.6-7). Not only did Jesus minister the covenant, but he was its author, fulfiller, and mediator. The New Covenant that Jeremiah prophesied about was actualized with Jesus’ life and ministry (vs.8-12, cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34). Jesus makes the first covenant obsolete and the second one complete.

Through Jesus there is no need for another priest or covenant ever (v.13). For millennia God’s people had to access God through a middleman like a patriarch, prophet or priest. Jesus became that middleman and now we have forever access to God. What greater gift could God have given us than this?

 

Questions for Reflection:

  • What are some examples of things you’ve experienced that are “less than the best”?
  • What is a covenant? What covenant have you made? (i.e. family, work, society, etc)
  • What is the Bible’s understanding of a covenant?
  • Why is the first covenant obsolete? What does this mean for Israel?
  • What makes the New Covenant greater?
  • What do you learn about the New Covenant? (vs.8-12) What about the covenant is hard to understand?
  • Where is Jesus now? Why is that so important?
  • What is a mediator? How is Jesus a mediator?
  • Jesus is God’s Great High Priest, but is there anything that can minimize his greatness?
  • What are things you often make greater than Jesus?
  • How is God writing his law on your heart?

Jesus Gives Greater Access to God

I live only a few blocks from the sultan’s palace. The sultan is a king who rules over his tribe. Most days he is sitting in his palace, giving counsel, and ruling over matters concerning his people. When visiting the sultan there is a certain protocol. One cannot burst in and demand what he wants without consequences. In order to gain access to the king you first approach the palace and wait for permission to see him. If permission is granted you remove your shoes and hat and sit at a distance. If you wish to speak you wait until you are invited. The sultan is not always accessible. Some days you have to come back and try again.

When gaining access to the King of kings it is different. While he is holy and to be revered, he invites anyone to approach him anytime. He is never too busy to give ear to what you have to say. Isn’t that is incredible? The King of the universe is always accessible.

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:14-16

How is accessing God possible. First, Jesus makes accessing God possible through his sacrifice (v.14). Without Jesus access to God would be impossible because of sin I am too unholy to be in the presence of the King of kings in the holy of holies. Ironically, the high priest and intercessor for sin also became the sacrifice for sin.

Second, Jesus makes accessing God possible because he is my sympathizer (v.15). Jesus knows what its like to walk in my shoes. He knows the temptations I face, yet he never succumbed to them. Therefore he knows the full weight of temptation because he overcame temptation without sinning. Knowing that God is a sympathetic King means accessing him is a joyful thing not a fearful one.

Finally, Jesus makes it possible to stand before God’s throne with confidence, particularly in my time of need. I may be tempted to think I need a better something, but what I need most is a better Someone. I need Jesus.

One of the greatest stories in the Bible that shows the accessibility of God is in Luke 7:36-50. The main character is a woman who had a sinful reputation. When she learned that Jesus was eating at a Pharisee’s house she confidently enter the room with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind Jesus at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume worthy of a king on them. As the religious leaders balked, the woman bowed knowing who Jesus was. She knew Jesus was her forgiver and sympathizer. She needed Jesus and he was accessible. Through Jesus you too have unlimited access to God anytime, anywhere.

 

Questions for reflection:

  • What does God see as our greatest need if Jesus is given the title great high priest?
  • How is Jesus a greater high priest than the OT priests? How were OT priests inadequate? How does Jesus fulfill what they could not? (Leviticus 16)
  • How can Jesus be sympathetic towards our temptation yet never have succumb to it?
  • Where does the confidence come from to draw near to the throne of God?
  • Read Luke 7:36-50. What does this story teach you about what kind of King Jesus is? How will you approach the him today confidently?

Jesus is the Greatest

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3)

Most letters start with a greeting like “Dear Bob”. Not the letter to the Hebrews. The very first lines of this letter declare the greatness of Jesus Christ being greater than any other person, prophet or spokesman for God.

In this short salutation, the author describes Jesus in all his greatest. He is greatest in at least five categories. First, Jesus is the heir of the universe (vs.1-2a). He owns it all and oversees it all. Second, He is the Creator (vs.2b, 3b). He spoke world into existence and he holds it all together. Third, he is the radiance of God’s glory and shows what God is like (v.3a). Fourth, he is the greater sacrifice (v.3c). Fifth, he is seat at the right hand of God. He is in a position of power and authority (v.3d). He rules and reigns. In all five categories, no one compares or outshines Jesus.

If Jesus is greater than any other thing in the universe, if he created everything and holds it together by the power of his word, if he is the final and once-for-all sacrifice for sin, then he greater than any other thing in this life.   Jesus is the true GOAT; greatest of all time.  He won’t settle to be less than your greatest.

 

Questions for Reflection

What makes something or someone great? How does Jesus blow the roof off greatness?

What about the open verses of Hebrews separate Jesus from every other man who has ever lived? Which of the five categories wows you the most?

How does looking at Jesus as the greatest help cure spiritual apathy and discouragement?

How does God speak to us through Jesus? In what ways does Jesus show you what God is like?

What things do you often make greater than Jesus?

Take these verses and make a prayer to Jesus.