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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brief but big

Climbing up Mount Everest for a fit team can take almost two months from base to summit. Most climbers upon reaching the summit will stay for only 15 minutes before making their way back down. Why such a brief stay on such a big climb? One would say that they had been admiring the beauty of their surroundings during the entire climb from the base to the top. Getting to the top was a great accomplishment, but the climb was greater.

Reading the book of Hebrews could be a lot like climbing Mount Everest. All along the way we behold the beauty of Jesus. With each step we see his greatest. Once at the summit there is not much more to say, but there is a lot to celebrate.

As we reach the end of the climb, the author of the letter of Hebrews wraps up his letter by saying, “I have written to you briefly.” (v.22) Surely he is being sarcastic, right? By today’s standards, if this letter was an email it would take about an hour to read aloud. It’s the kind of email many would skim through or file for another day when there was more time to read it.

Hebrews is a big letter that makes a big difference. It desperately needs to be read and understood by Christians today. It is a letter that teaches and changes lives. So how does the author close such a letter?

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

I appeal to you, brothers, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. You should know that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom I shall see you if he comes soon. Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who come from Italy send you greetings. Grace be with all of you.” – Hebrews 13:20-25

First, he closes with a blessing in Jesus name (vs.20-21). It is a fitting conclusion to the letter in which Jesus was the big idea from beginning to end. There is no greater document in the New Testament that explains the correlation of the Old Testament to the work of Christ, than Hebrews. Even the last few verses are jam-packed with Christology and the practical out-working of that theology. In other words, the out-working of Christ’s work has a continual in-working within Christ’s followers.

Second, he closes with a charge and good wishes (vs.22-25). Ink could not tell all he wanted to say, but it will have to do for now. In the same breath, he wishes to visit his readers soon with Timothy who was just released from prison. This in a roundabout way connects the author to Paul’s ministry, possibly in Italy. We may never know who the author was, but he certainly wrote a stellar thesis on the life and ministry of Jesus.

Hebrews may be a difficult letter to digest in one sitting. It is like a dinner of thirteen courses with each chapter being a meal of its own. Each meal filling and satisfying the soul. Each meal giving us a greater and greater taste for Jesus, the undoubted big idea of Hebrews. The author masterfully shows how there is no equal nor rival. Jesus is above all. He is not only great, he is the greatest of all.

 

Questions for Reflection:

  • What are your overall thoughts, impressions, and takeaways from the letter to the Hebrews?
  • What did you learn about Jesus from this letter? How did you love for Jesus grow? If you were the author of Hebrews what more would you want to say about Jesus?
  • How is Jesus the big idea of the letter? How does the letter show that Jesus is the greatest of all?
  • How does a theology of Jesus impact practice? In other words, how does knowing about Jesus’ life and work affect the way you live?
  • What would you like to go back and discover more about within the letter?
  • Write a short prayer of adoration or appreciation:

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 Gives Greater Salvation

“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” – Hebrews 2:1-4

Have you ever been on a road that had a sign that read, “Warning! Falling Rocks Next 8 Kilometers?” You know that sign is there because at one time someone felt the carnage of a falling rock.

Attention! These verse tell the first of five warnings mentioned in the letter to the Hebrews. This particular warning is for those who intellectually know Jesus saves, but are spiritually uncommitted to him. These people are in grave danger of drifting away from what they know (cf. Mt. 7:21-23). In the end the Rock will fall as be their Judge rather than their Savior (10:26-27).

The cure for spiritual drift is to acknowledge the warning sign and heeds its good news. Step towards Jesus, not away from him. Hear what Jesus has already declared (v.3b), hear what his followers have attested (v.3c), regard the marvelous signs and wonders Jesus has done (v.4a), and witness the work and gifts of the Holy Spirit (v.4b). When you consider each of those categories, how could you drift from what you know or consider any other promise of salvation is so great?

 

Questions for Reflection:

  • What things cause us to meander from what we know will truly save? (Mt. 13:18ff)
  • What does it mean to neglect (vs. reject) such a great salvation? (Mt. 22:5)
  • What are the dangers of neglecting salvation? How is Jesus both Judge and Savior?
  • What makes salvation through Jesus so great?
  • How can you protect yourself from drifting?

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.