The supremacy of Christ. Hebrews 1-2
The supremacy of Christ
Scripture reading: Colossians 1:15-20, Philippians 2:1-11
This morning we are going to begin a 3 week study of the Book of Hebrews
-We don't know who wrote the Book of Hebrews. Some say it was Paul; others way Luke,
Barnabas, Silas, etc. Whoever wrote it knew Timothy-- for he is mentioned in chapter 13 in
the context of having recently been released from prison.
-The wording of Hebrews has a strong Jewish theme and so we surmise that the original
recipients were Jewish believers
-As for a date, it seems likely that it was written between 65-69 A.D (For no mention of the
destroyed Temple is given. This happened in A.D 70)
-A few distinct features of Hebrews include: 35 Old Testament quotations plus numerous Old
Testament allusions, a lengthy discussion of the priesthood and Old Testament sacrificial
system (hence reading of Hebrews requires some knowledge of the Old Testament and in
particular the Book of Leviticus)
Today I want to talk to you about the supremacy and superiority of Christ.
Proclaiming the supremacy of Christ is instantly controversial, for the implication is that all
other religions, religious figures, and ways of thought are inferior. This is a correct
conclusion. There is no one like Jesus. There is no one worthy following, but Jesus.
In case you are wondering why I have opted to entitle today's message "The supremacy of
Christ" it's because in Hebrews 1:4 (NIV) we are told that Jesus is superior to the angels.
In the Book of Hebrews, Jesus is more than just superior to the angels.
a. He is also said to be worthy of greater honor than Moses - the giver of the Law. (Hebrews
b. He is declared to be greater than Joshua -- who led the Israelites into the Promised land.
Not only is Jesus greater than Joshua, the Rest he gives is superior in every way to the rest
that Joshua gave (Hebrews 4)
c. He is greater than Aaron and the priestly office that he occupied. Hebrews 4-5
Aaron was chosen by God to act as an intermediary between God and the Israelites--
offering sacrifices on behalf of the people for their sins and in worship. Jesus is the Great
High Priest-- being perfect in himself and offering a once for all sacrifice for the sins of the
world-- that whoever believes in him might have eternal life.
Further: It's not just others in the Bible who said Jesus was great. Jesus claimed to be
-In Matthew 12:6 Jesus claims to be greater than the Temple.
-In Matthew 12:41 Jesus says he is greater than Jonah (renowned for being swallowed by a
great fish and being spit out alive 3 days later).
-In Matthew 12:42 Jesus says that he is greater than Solomon.
READ Hebrews 1-- noting that Hebrews 1-2 form a cohesive unit. Note also that the Old
Testament quotations of 1:5-14 fill out the summary that is given in v.1-4.
In Hebrews 1 we are told some amazing things about Christ
a. He is the eternal Son of God
b. He is God's final word and greatest gift to humanity
c. All things belong to him
d. He made the universe
e. He is eternal
f. He is God (the radiance of God's glory, the exact representation of his being) v.3
g. By his powerful word he sustains all things. (In contrast to our acts of sustaining things:
Jesus is happy to do this. It is not a burden for him. He never tires of it. It is an easy thing
to him) v.3
h. He provided all that is needed for the purification and forgiveness of our sins
i. He is presently sitting at the right hand of the Father
j. He has a kingdom that he reigns over
k. He is superior to the angels v.4
Of all things on this list, Jesus being listed as superior to the angels strikes me as odd
It sounds so obvious. Of course Jesus is superior to the angels. Angels are creatures made
by Christ. Angels are his servants. Angels were made to worship Christ.
THE SUPERIORITY OF CHRIST TO THE ANGELS
Firstly: Some Bible info on angels
-they worship Christ v.6 (at his birth, in Heaven)
-they are created beings. There are different kinds of angels (arch angel, cherubim,
-They were created holy but some rebelled and were cast out of Heaven
-They were NOT made in the image of God
-There is no provision for the salvation of angels
-They are stronger than us
-God sends them at times to help us
-They are spirit beings who can appear as men (i.e to Abraham, Daniel, etc)
-They are in conflict with evil spirits/demons (fallen angels) (See Book of Daniel, Ephesians
-At times God uses them as instruments of His judgment
-During his earthly ministry they at times attended to Christ (after 40 days in wilderness)
How/why some people came to think of Jesus being on par with or below angels
It was the fashion of the day in Judaism to venerate angels
Jewish literature of the period of Christ on earth and just after indicates a growing
fascination with the angels. The theme of angels waging war against the enemies of Israel is
prominent with the apocalyptic literature of the same period of the Book of Hebrews. The
practice of seeking help from the angels is well attested within both Jewish and Christian
literature during the Greco Roman period. Inscriptions on amulets and bracelets confirm the
widespread reliance upon angels for exorcisms, healing, and protection among the Jewish
Faulty logic combined with a misunderstanding of Christ's incarnation
In Hebrews 2:9 it says of Jesus in his incarnation "But we see Jesus, who was made a little
lower than the angels...." and then the rest of Hebrews 2 explains why Jesus lowered himself
and became a man
Here's an example of faulty logic
a. Man is lower than the angels
b. Jesus became a man
Therefore Jesus is lower than the angels
However: The Bible declares that Jesus is both God and man. 1 Person having both a divine
nature and a human nature. Yet, when faulty human logic is at work, facts and complete
ideas are the least of a persons concerns.
THE METHOD OF HEBREWS 1: To prove from the Scriptures that Jesus is superior
to the angels
Long story short. Hebrews 1-2 refute a dangerous practice that was in the culture and
perhaps seeping into the Jewish side of the church-- the veneration/worship of angels. In
Hebrews 1, seven scriptures are used to refute any notion that Jesus was inferior to the
After refuting the veneration of angels, the writer in Hebrews 3:1 lifts up Christ and says:
Look to Jesus for help. Turn your eyes upon Christ.
Hebrews 3:1 says Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your
thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess." Similarly in Hebrews 12:2
we are told to "fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith-- who the joy set
before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and who has sat down at the right hand
of the throne of God."
WHY JESUS JESUS BECAME A MAN AND WAS temporarily MADE A LITTLE LOWER
THE THE ANGELS Hebrews 2:5-18
Read text and ultimately note that he became a man and died on the cross for us
-that we might be brought to glory
-that we might be made holy
-that we might become the children of God
-that he might destroy the devil and free us from the fear of death
Note the necessity of his becoming a man: To be tempted as we were but to overcome. To
identify with us. To provide a once for all sacrifice for our sins.
Note: The mystery of Christ's incarnation is also unpacked in Philippians 2:1-11
The expected response to Jesus and his sacrifice
Read Hebrews 2:1-3 and note that the thrust of Hebrews 3-4 is that today is the day one
should put their faith in Christ as Savior and Lord.
Hebrews 3:15 says "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the
-Turn to Christ for salvation. There is no other Savior.
-Take advantage of Today and repent. Do not persist in your unbelief. Do not carry on in
Jesus is superior in all ways to all other religious figures, all other philosophies and ways,
everyone. There is no one like Jesus. Jesus is better. Jesus is supreme.
Jesus is superior to the angels-- even though he made himself-- for a short while- a little
lower than them.
It's easy to get off track. It easy to come up with strange ideas. We need to guard our minds
and hearts from false teaching and error. We are to watch our lives and our doctrine closely
As the angels in Heaven worship so are to. Jesus alone is worthy of our praise
Closing song: All hail the Lamb