Together with the Epistle to the Romans, the Epistle to the Hebrews is
one of the great doctrinal treatises of the Word of God. The first part
speaks of our Lord as being a new and better Deliverer; the second part
as having a new and better Sacrifice; the third part as having a new
and better principle by which we can be saved—that of faith, not works.
Who He Is
The first chapter sets forth our Lord’s absolute and certified Deity.
- He is the “Heir of all things” (1:2). No created being could ever be heir to this vast and illimitable universe.
is the Maker of the worlds (1:2). Worlds here means ages. The Son of
God framed and designed the different dispensations and brought the
whole into existence “by the word of His mouth.”
is the Brightness of the Father’s glory (1:3). He is the outshining of
all that God is. He embodies in Himself every divine attribute and
- He is “the Express Image of
His Person” (1:3). This means that He is the exact impress of all that
God is. As wax returns the exact impress or image of a seal, so does
the Lord Jesus the exact image of all that God is.
upholds all things by the word of His power (1:3). All things move in
their own orbits and are held there and move there to exact moments of
time—all by the power of the eternal Son of God.
Such is the exalted dignity of the Lord Jesus as the eternal Son of
God. This Sonship belongs to essential Deity, not something acquired
when He came to earth. He possesses divine attributes, exercises divine
prerogatives, and is the emanation of all divine excellence and beauty.
Chapter 2 then shows us His true and proper Manhood:
was made “a little lower than the angels” (2:9). This is a quotation
from Psalm 8 in which Messiah’s incarnation is prophesied. He was to
take upon Him the nature of a creature lower than the angels “for the
suffering of death.”
- He was partaker of
our flesh and blood (2:14). All that needed to be done for human
redemption could only be done by our Lord assuming our nature, or else
He could not atone for our sins.
- “He took
on Him the seed of Abraham” (2:16). He must come by way of a particular
segment of the human race. It was most fitting to come through Abraham,
since the nation issuing from him was to be God’s chosen vehicle for
His self-revelation and for the accomplishment of His eternal purposes.
“suffered being tempted” (2:18). He was made open to temptation—to feel
the force of it—the malignant nature of it—the subtilty of it, though
never was He tempted to comply. He could not sin.
What He Did
Himself [He] purged our sins” (1:3). Only because He was the infinite
God could He absorb the infinite punishment of sin. He did this “by
Himself”—no man could lift a hand to help Him do it.
destroyed the devil (2:14). The word “destroy” does not mean to
annihilate but to render powerless—to disarm—to make idle. This Goliath
of hell fell before the strong Son of God and would never again dare
- He delivered His people from
the “fear of death” (2:15). We all fear death. Death is the king of
terrors to sinful men, but when we come to Christ, death even becomes a
doorman to transport us into the presence of His glory.
Where He Is
He “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (1:3). This
signals a completed work. Here is acceptance by the Father. Here is
authority at the Father’s right hand where He sat—the place of highest
power and authority. Let us look well to Him when we come to worship.
Let us see who He is, what He is, and where He is. The Lord Jesus is
God within to cheer us—God above to bless us—God who came into our
humanity to atone for our sins—God who reigns on high as our Mediator,
so that we may present our worship, praise, and adoration to our Father
and with His smile of approval.
To the name of our salvation,
Laud and honor let us pay,
Which for many a generation,
Hid in God’s foreknowledge lay.
But with holy exultation
We may sing aloud today.
Jesus is the name we treasure,
Name beyond what words can tell;
Name of gladness, name of pleasure,
Ear and heart delighting well;
Name of sweetness, passing measure,
Saving us from sin and hell.
Jesus is the name exalted
Over every other name;
In this name where’er assaulted
We can put our foes to shame:
Strength to them who else had halted,
Eyes too blind, and feet too lame.
Therefore we, in love adoring
This most blessed name revere,
Holy Saviour, Thee imploring
So we write it in us here
That, hereafter heavenward soaring,
We may sing with angels there.
—Anonymous (15th Century) Tr. by John Mason Neale
From "Worship & Remembrance" by Daniel Smith
Published by Gospel Folio Press